Race And Class In Basketball
TA – Heidi Hong
AMST 101, Section: [Friday, 9:00 AM]
Throughout this process I have learned a lot about high school basketball and how it relates to race and class in Los Angeles. I set out to research the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball scene in Los Angeles and identify issues of race and class within it. As a team manager for the USC basketball team, I have great interest in basketball and wanted to learn more about the sport I love and how it relates to this class.
I knew that many high school basketball players play on AAU teams in addition to their high school team in order to sharpen their skill set and compete against other top talent. However, in order to learn more about the relationship between race and class …show more content…
While Dupont is not in Los Angeles, he was able to give me some general background information on AAU basketball. Dupont saw a lot of funny business occurring in AAU basketball. He stated, “My AAU team was okay and didn 't have very many kids who were big time recruits. Because of this we were not sponsored and had to pay for our shoes, uniforms and travel expenses. Many other AAU programs are sponsored by apparel companies like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour and don’t have to pay for anything. It 's a little ridiculous because a lot of kids on my AAU team struggled to come up with the money to pay for everything.” I then asked Dupont about race and class in particular and how it relates to the funding of AAU programs. He responded, “Many predominantly black inner-city Denver AAU programs that I played against and come from what I consider to be tough neighborhoods are the sponsored programs and have the nicest gear. And I think the funding goes beyond providing the players …show more content…
I learned that many of these parents struggle to make ends meet as the median rent in Los Angeles is particularly high and many blacks don’t have the money to fund their lifestyles as shown in the following graphic.
I found two concrete examples relating AAU basketball to race and class in Los Angeles. First, AAU basketball is predominately black and many white kids are required to sponsor black kids in order to get onto the best AAU teams. Second, apparel companies fund AAU programs in order to “buy future influence.” Both are examples of the class division between whites and blacks in Los Angeles.
Researching this topic changed my view on collegiate athletics. I learned that both the NCAA and colleges with athletic programs make hundreds of millions of dollars from student athletes without paying them. Consequently, I now believe that college athletes should be considered employees and protected under labor laws. I also changed my view on race and class in Los Angeles as I learned about the race and class divisions between whites and blacks in high school AAU basketball and the hardships that many blacks go through to fund their basketball