The National Museum of African American History and Culture in collaboration with ESPN’s The Undefeated held a panel Thursday evening covering hoops, activism, and all subjects in between. The intimate conversation featured NBA legend and Hall-of- Famer Oscar Robertson and Howard University’s point guard, James “J-Byrd” Daniel, the leading scorer in college basketball last season.
The event was held in the museum’s Oprah Winfrey Theater and was moderated by J.A. Adande of The Undefeated. Throughout the discussion, the two panelists, Robertson and Byrd, were asked questions regarding many of the issues that African American athletes face and the different ways that they deal with them. The night was centered around the theme “The Legend and the Prospect.”
The audience of about 200 watched with veneration as they heard the different perspectives of the two. Robertson’s perspective included the life lessons that basketball taught him as well as the intense details of the racism he dealt with throughout his dynamic NBA career that inspired him to become an activist. Byrd’s perspective included the importance of social media when it comes to social change as a young person. He also discussed the individuals in his life and in the NBA that inspire him to pursue greatness everyday as a young player.
“You have more power to make change than you think you do. They need you,” Robertson expressed while looking at both Daniel and the Howard Men’s Basketball Team.
Before the discussion ended, the audience was given the opportunity to ask questions regarding the topics discussed as well as pay their respects.
“It was truly a privilege to be in the presence of greatness. I think it was wonderful to see one of the best players that ever played in the NBA and a young man with the hopes to follow in his footsteps tacking those issues together,” said Terry Jenkins, a graduate student at Howard.