Brad Sellers has a different perspective than most when it comes to the world. He is a former NBA first round pick to the Chicago Bulls.
Sellers threw the inbounds pass to Michael Jordan which led to The Shot, the moniker for last second elbow jump shot Jordan hit to eliminate the Cleveland Cavaliers from the playoffs in 1989. He played on four different NBA teams and played for another eight years in Europe. After he retired he was elected mayor of his hometown of Warrensville Heights, OH, a role Sellers has had since 2011.
Sellers joined Baskin and Phelps, the midday show on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, on August 27, 2020 and gives his thoughts on the NBA players not playing playoff games the night before due to the incident between Kenosha, Wisconsin police and Jacob Floyd and what happens in the future with not only the NBA, but with society moving forward.
Sellers believes the NBA players were able to put together a unified message due to having all the players live together in Orlando, FL. instead of spread out across the country.
“When they created the bubble, what they created was opportunity,” Sellers says. “It’s difficult when everyone is spread across the country to organize. Now they’re here in the same place! It’s easy to talk to someone here face to face. They understand the power of the moment, and they understand the responsibility that comes with the positions that they hold. And whether you agree or disagree with them, it’s the American way.”
Sellers, a father of four, know if someone is going to make a statement, there better be well thought out reason behind it
“What I take issue with is: I raised my children to weigh in when it’s appropriate,” he says. “ If you elect a way in and you have good rationale with what you feel that needs to be explained, then come on in. But understand the water is warm when you come in. Things don’t happen out here; they don’t happen in this country…if people or somebody isn’t driving it. We have a problem out here, and it’s not new.”
He continues to talk about situation the players are attempting to address when the games were postponed on Wednesday night.
“There is a moment of reckoning here, and they want it addressed,” Sellers says. It’s not being addressed. If people think this is going away, it’s not going away. Somebody has to keep pushing the issue until we come to a resolution that’s acceptable by the majority. You look across this bandwidth of people who have joined into this moment…and people try to frame it in the looting and robberies and you get that, it’s a percentage of the action.
It’s a percentage of the action of any movement out here, it doesn’t have to be civil rights. In here there are people who are protesting an issue. They always talk about the end result and the riot and the looting. Let’s talk about what caused the problem. You never hear anyone talk about what caused the problem! It wasn’t the shooting in Wisconsin that caused the problem. It was a series of activities that caused the problem and it’s not just this year.”
He was asked if he believed it was possible to play and fight for social justice at the same time.
“I think people are intelligent enough and multi-functional enough to be able to do a couple of things at one time”, says Sellers. “The forum that they have now is because the COVID-19 situation and leveraged them to all be in a place at one time.”
He was asked about the comments made by Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers head coach, on Tuesday night and the comments on Chris Webber, former player and current analyst for TNT, made Wednesday night.
“I saw Doc Rivers’ explanation and I thought it was spot-on,” Sellers says. “I saw Chris Webber and he was spot-on. There are a number of people out here who are spot on and they’re not all African-American. There is a number of people who this is disturbing and what they’re looking for is some leadership from someone. See, we sit out here and hold these positions all day but there is some leadership required here. You can’t always hide behind the curtain. You have to come out front.”
Midway through the interview, ESPN broke the news of the NBA players making the decision to continue the playoffs and Sellers reacted to the news on the spot of why it made sense for the players to continue playing basketball
“You have the forum and you keep it in front of people,” Sellers says. “And what you’re keeping in front of people is the issue. Get back to the cause! That’s what you’re keeping in front of people. What is the cause of this issue? And put that on the floor. I watch a number of news channels because I want to read a different number of periodicals so I can get a perspective from everyone. I don’t want to be just one-sided.
“The one thing I wish just one time is just lay the real cards on the table. I think there are a number of people who love this country, and I’m not going to have it co-opted by anybody. Your idea is no better than their idea and the beauty of this country is that we have the chance to debate it and find a solution. But in order to find a solution we have to lay the real problem on the table and say ‘this is the problem,’ not the manufactured made-up problem. You have real families who are hurting out here and you have real people in harm’s way. And this didn’t start in 2020.”
Listen to the full interview here