Stephen A. Smith Questions If NBA Needs Rooney Rule After Kings Hire Luke Walton

Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton gestures during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Trail Blazers won 104-101. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith called for an NBA version of the Rooney Rule after the Sacramento Kings hired Luke Walton as their coach without conducting any other interviews. 

“I’m definitely happy for Luke Walton. I think he deserves to be a head coach in this league and deserves to be given a good opportunity, which did not happen in LA as far as I’m concerned. But damn, he had the job before he left the Lakers’ facility,” Smith said on Monday’s First Take

“I mean, do I need to start calling for a ‘Rooney Rule’ in basketball? I mean, see, this is stuff like this that really gets on my nerves because I’m gonna say it again: This don’t happen for black men. This don’t happen for minorities, this kind of stuff. Somebody needs to say it, so damn it, I’m gonna say it. The reality of the situation is that Luke Walton has won 40 percent of his games. Did he get screwed over in LA? Without question. I don’t like what happened to him this year and I’m happy he got the job, but you don’t even leave the facility before you are in negotiations.”

The Lakers and Walton agreed to part ways after three seasons on April 12. The Kings, who had fired Dave Joerger a day earlier, hired Walton over the weekend and announced the move Monday.

“I have known Luke for many years and I am so excited to welcome him and his family to the Sacramento Kings,” Kings general manager Vlade Divac said in a statement. “I look forward to his leadership on the court as we work to build a winning culture for many years to come.”

The NFL’s Rooney Rule requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching and high front-office positions before making a hire. The rule has had some success, though there are currently only four minority head coaches.

The NBA currently has seven minority head coaches.

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

NBA News

via Bleacher Report – NBA

April 15, 2019 at 09:24AM


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