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The Power of Basketball in Atlanta

Bruce Levenson, Michael Gearon Jr. and Danny Ferry are all the worst. I don't think there is reason to debate what shade of extremist they are. But I am not innocent here either.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

(Editor's Note: We encourage our writers to speak on their experiences if they felt led to. We didn't want to edit them, for better or worse.)
The words of this article are solely a reflection of its author and not necessarily the views of my teammates on Peachtree Hoops or SBNation.

Bruce Levenson, Michael Gearon Jr. and Danny Ferry are all the worst. I don't thing there is reason to debate what shade of extrament they are.

But I am not innocent here either. I have moments of bigotry far more often than I care to admit. My moral outrage has been thrown across twitter for the past two days along with everyone else, but I am guessing you will not find clean hands on many of us.

I cannot deny locking doors based on the look of a man walking towards my car. I don't seem to care that southwest Atlanta is like a different city compared to the one I live in.

I am the last thing from post racial. Race is the first thing I see. The thoughts in my mind are never pure. My motives are always suspect because my motives are always centered on what is best for me.

Am I a racist? I sure hope not. Like Danny Ferry, I have a few people to vouch for me on that front, but of course, their voices matter little compared to how I act, and often, I am not the person I wish I was.

Thankfully, my bigotry is not based in ideology but selfishness, which makes it rare but unfortunately not rare enough. I see and think about the things Bruce Levenson mentioned. I am lazy with stereotypes in my thoughts if not my words. These facts are not good, and I am not proud of them.

Yet despite all of this, I am Hawks fan and Atlantan.

And one of the wonderful things about actually engaging those two identities is that it has given me a safe space to confront issues that most of us have, uncomfortableness with race and class, things that most us cast off as "the way things are" and actually see it can be different. Bruce Levenson got one thing right, a Hawks game makes you confront race if you are white. And yes, it is momentary and yes it is sports, and often that interaction just lead us to be self aware enough to look righteous on twitter and no where else, but it does move the needle.

The difference between our owners and me is I realize a Hawks game can actually help me step into the person I should be.

It is certainly true professional sports have basically become sausage making industries with their inner workings on full display, but I don't mind. My life makes sausage too. It is ugly. What I find beautiful, where I find hope, is that side by side instead of face to face is where I learn to love every man.

And sports, if even just for a two hour break, turn my concern from myself to something bigger than me, something others care about too, and unlike so many other places that could claim the same thing, at a Hawks game, when my focus finally leaves the court and I look around, the people don't look like me. They are different colors and economic classes, yet through the power of fandom, they have become my people, they are my comrades, they are my city.

Am I transformed? No. Do I still find myself looking back at actions in shame? I do. Have I learned a little better how to love people? Yes.

As we have seen this week, clouded by money, ignorance, and an insulated culture, our management acted like me at my worst, but it still makes me mad because they didn't realize what they had. It didn't have to be this way. It could have been about things that connect people. It could have been about opportunity. It could have been about basketball, but thanks to their terribleness, we are going to have to work to make the Hawks about basketball again any time soon.

But what's being a Hawks fan if not work?

So owners and GM be damned, if you will have me, I look forward to doing work with you next season. Because I believe in the power of basketball, I believe in Atlanta, and I love this team. Go Hawks!