Loyalty x Labor x Black Men

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Harrison Barnes is a millionaire. He is scheduled to make above $20 million this NBA season and is one of the top 3 players for the Dallas Mavericks. The picture featured in this post depicts a 26 year old athlete in the middle of an actual game finding out that he has been traded to another team.

As a 26 year old athlete, you are far from the precipice of your career. Harrison is actually recently married and may be enjoying the stability of living in Dallas. I do not know Harrison personally, but I have seen his demeanor on and off the court and do not sense he is a hard person to get along with. At 26, you really are still coming into your own as a man and it is normal to show some emotion in the face of bad news. Harrison Barnes is not the average 26 year old, hence his response below.

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Isaiah 43:19 reads – “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert”

The trade took place during the 2nd half of Harrison’s game. In the 3rd quarter as he checked out, he was informed of the trade and continued to cheer his ex-teammates to victory. After the news broke, his head coach had the following to say about him.

“He is a special guy,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “He is about all of the right things, on the basketball court and in the community. He is an example for what you want your kids to be.

“He will do great in his next destination and I am proud of all of the growth he experienced here.”

If Harrison was such a great guy and a role model for the community, why did the Mavericks organization not have decency to trade him after his game? This has become an alarming, but consistent trend in employment: Black men are expected to be extremely loyal while employers come and go as they please. If this were the other way around, we would get chastised!

Don’t believe me? Look at how the media portrays black athletes/entertainers that are high earners when they stick up for themselves by requesting a change (Le’veon Bell, LeBron James, Dave Chappelle, Anthony Davis, Colin Kaepernick, etc.)

Look at Vontae Davis who retired mid-game in football. His own teammates ousted him and the media followed up by attacking his personality. I am not arguing that Vontae was correct here, but where is the rage when it is the other way around?

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My fellow kings – Let’s all realize that loyalty is a two way street. If money is the only thing that keeps an organization/person loyal to you; that bond is thin. As black men, we have to constantly evaluate our worth to an employer and be prepared to walk if our worth is not respected. GET YOUR COINS KING. As Childish Gambino quoted in “Monster” by 21 savage:

If they paid you to do it, you don’t gotta ask what you worth

In this post, I have been talking strictly about athletes and celebrities, but every black man that works for a corporation can relate. Some readers may think that this topic is minutiae because Harrison makes a ton of money. We rise and fall as one; if an organization can do this to a millionaire, what do you think they will do to a black man of lesser net worth?

This Black History Month/Year, lets remember our worth and be confident in our plans. Find that secondary source of income, demand that raise, float your resume around, leave the job; do not center your entire life around an organization that sees you as a pawn.

Much love to Harrison Barnes. I am a lifetime fan as you showed the world what it means to walk in Christ. Even in the face of adversity, you understood that God is in control. I stand with you and look forward to watching you help the Sacramento Kings get a playoff spot!


Light nigga, dark nigga, faux nigga, real nigga
Rich nigga, poor nigga, house nigga, field nigga
Still nigga, still nigga – Jay Z

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