11-time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson was on HuffPost Live today talking basketball. His answer to a question about the NBA's inclusiveness toward gay athletes was pretty strange.
The question, from Huffington Post editor Alana Horowitz: "I'm wondering if you think that organizations and players and athletes need to be more inclusive of gay athletes and more welcoming toward the gay community in general."
Jackson's response: "That's a ridiculous question. None of us have probably ever seen it in all our careers. There's no inclusiveness to be had. I've never run into it in all my career."
It's unclear if he finds the question ridiculous because he thinks that the NBA is already plenty inclusive, or that the NBA doesn't need to be more inclusive, or that the question is irrelevant because there's never been a gay player, but either way, his response is weirdly hostile and prickly for such a straightforward question. Fellow retired coach Kurt Rambis gave a much more party-line answer, pointing out that there's never been an openly gay player and then mentioning John Amaechi, the first NBA player to come out after his retirement. While Jackson may have been tripping over his words, he seems to be saying that there are no gay players in the NBA.
To the credit of host Marc Lamont Hill, he later observed that to imagine there had never been closeted NBA players was ridiculous, which seems about right.