Basketball legend Michael Jordan says that he considered himself a racist when he was a teenager and was “against all white people.”
The confession comes from a new book, “Michael Jordan: The Life,” by Ronald Lazenby.
Jordan said the Ku Klux Klan was dominant in North Carolina, where he grew up in the mid-1970s, buying uniforms for sports teams and Bibles for schools.
Jordan took up baseball before basketball and was one of only two black children on the team. He says he was often told he was inferior.
Jordan says it was after watching the miniseries “Roots,” about the suffering of his African-American ancestors, that he began to understand more about race relations.
In 1977, he remembers a girl at school calling him a n—-r.
“So I threw a soda at her,” he says. “I was really rebelling. I considered myself a racist at the time. Basically, I was against all white people.”
He was suspended for the incident. During that time, it was his mother who convinced him that he could not go through life consumed by racial hatred.
Jordan, now 50, owns the Charlotte Bobcats basketball team. Last week he came out against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who has been banned from the NBA over racist comments he made to his girlfriend.
“I look at this from two perspectives — as a current owner and a former player. As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views,” Jordan said of Sterling.
“As a former player, I’m completely outraged. There is no room in the NBA — or anywhere else — for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed.
“I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport. In a league where the majority of players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level,” he said.
Jordan got remarried last year. His second wife, Yvette Prieto, a Cuban-American model, gave birth to identical twin girls in February.