The traditional dynamic of black-Jewish relations in sports and entertainment is pretty straight-forward: African Americans make the product, Jews sell it. You don’t even need to going digging around in the history bin for relevant examples: Lyor Cohen and Rick Rubin ran the show at Def Jam, the hip-hop label juggernaut, until only recent. And David Stern still happily resides over the NBA.
But how about African Americans running Jewish shows? That’s takes a little more work–and yet there’s news it’s happening. The David Posnack Jewish Day School in Florida announced this week that Kenny Anderson, a former black star in the NBA, will be the boy’s basketball team’s new coach. With a record of 10-11 last season, he’ll have his work cut out for him.
I should point out that I’ve got a conflict of interest reporting this story: I almost went to Posnack, my parents tell me, but they made the decision to send me to a non-denominational prep school in South Florida instead. I love my alma mater–Pine Crest, bless it’s deep green soul–and it has a basketball team now that, I hate to say, would wipe the floor with Posnack, even in the Kenny Anderson era.
Pine Crest won states back-to-back, in 2008 and 2009, and their star that year Brandon Knight was the 8th draft pick in the NBA this year. I was also on the team, a captain no less, a decade ago, and while I wouldn’t even be able to make water-boy if I the team was as good then as it is now, it still makes me damn proud.
So, Kenny, Jewish boys at Posnack, while I’m happy for you guys, I really am, I can’t say I’m rooting for you. I think it says wonderful things about black-Jewish relations, and hope it sends a powerful example–that African Americans can and should have as many leadership roles in predominantly white institutions as possible. But I hope you don’t play Pine Crest, ever; I think they’ll kick your ass.