Utah Jazz player Kyle Korver penned a powerful essay demanding white people understand their role in the systematic oppression of Black and brown people.  

The veteran NBA player said he struggled to write about white privilege for some time. In the recently published essay entitled "Privileged," the 38-year-old recounted two incidents involving two high-profile NBA stars in The Players' Tribune.

The first regarded friend and teammate Thabo Sefolosha. In 2015, the then-Atlanta Hawks player was arrested after leaving a night club in New York. While in police custody, Sefolosha suffered a fractured fibula and damaged ligament, forcing him to prematurely end his season. 

"My first thought was: What was Thabo doing out at a club on a back-to-back??" Korver wrote, referring to games on consecutive days. "Before I knew the full story, and before I'd even had the chance to talk to Thabo….. I sort of blamed Thabo."

Looking back, Korver realized he blamed his friend for enjoying a night out instead of questioning authorities. 

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"The police wouldn't have arrested me. Not unless I was doing something wrong," he wrote in the piece. 

Sefolosha was found not guilty by a jury. "He settled with the city over the NYPD’s use of force against him. And then the story just sort of…disappeared, " Korver recalled. 

Last month, Korver saw how privilege and racism intersected firsthand. Oklahoma City Thunder player Russell Westbrook was confronted with heckling fans who made disparaging and seemingly racist statements toward him. The white Utah Jazz fan — and confirmed Trump supporter — was barred from the arena due to harassment.  

"This wasn’t only about Russ and some heckler," Korver wrote. "It was about more than that. It was about what it means just to exist right now — as a person of color in a mostly white space."

At this point, the NBA vet understood that the world looked at and treated Black people differently because of their skin. White people benefited from a system built to elevate them and oppress others.

"I have to listen," he wrote. "I have to support leaders who see racial justice as fundamental — as something that’s at the heart of nearly every major issue in our country today. And I have to support policies that do the same. I have to do my best to recognize when to get out of the way — in order to amplify the voices of marginalized groups that so often get lost."

The Jazz player received a lot of support for his bold stance against racism, but among the supportive tweets were critics who could care less.  

“I have to continue to educate myself on the history of racism in America….I have to listen…as a white man, I have to hold my fellow white men accountable. We all have to hold each other accountable.”

Powerful, courageous, needed truth, @kylekorver.https://t.co/UfsxrEHJqJ

Throughout Korver's career, he played on various teams including the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James. The longtime player has used his platform to bring awareness to several issues such as global slavery. He shows no sign of stopping. 

"I know that, as a white man, I have to hold my fellow white men accountable," Korver wrote. 

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