Book quotes Jordan being 'against whites' as a youth; author explains

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Michael Jordan once held bitter feelings on the subject of race. (USATSI)
Michael Jordan once held bitter feelings on the subject of race. (USATSI)

In a new book by Roland Lazenby on Michael Jordan, The Life, Michael Jordan is quoted about his feelings when he was younger regarding white people and race relations. Lazenby confirmed Wednesday morning that the comments are from an older interview, and only speaking about his youth, but they're still going to draw attention over the next 24 hours in posts like this one.

Here's the quote, from The Life:

"Later that year, a girl at school called Michael a "(n-word)."

"I threw a soda at her," he recalled. "It was a very tough year. I was really rebelling. I considered myself a racist at that time. Basically I was against all white people."

Lazenby notes the source of the quote:

And here's the full context of the discussion.

The quote comes after Lazenby describes the effect that Jordan's great-grandfather, Dawson Jordan, had on Jordan, after a lifetime of racial discrimination Dawson Jordan faced in the south.

"He didn't know every detail of his grandfather's [sic] life," Lazenby writes, "but he had only to look at the pain deep in the old man's face to get an idea of how troubled his restless journey had been and of the many senseless barriers he had been forced to endure."

On the same page as the original quote, Lazenby notes the change in Jordan's attitude that his mother, Deloris Jordan influenced through discussion of the issues. Again, from Lazenby:

"It would take more than a year for the message to sink in and the feelings to subside. "The education came from my parents," Jordan recalled. "You have to be able to say OK, that happened back then. Now let's take it from here and see what happens. It would be very easy to hate people for the rest of your life, and some people have done that. You've got to deal with what's happening now and try to make things better."

Over the years, Jordan has been noted for not taking stands on social issues, including the famous quote, "Republicans buy shoes, too" when asked about his decision not to support Democratic minority candidate Harvey Gantt. However, Jordan did speak out on the subject of Donald Sterling when that controversy came to light two weeks ago.

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