Young, Black, Rich, and Famous: The Rise of the NBA, the Hip Hop Invasion, and the Transformation of American Culture

By Todd Boyd | Go to book overview

2
Don't Get High on
Your Own Supply
The NBA's Image problem
Bach in one Day

Flying high in the friendly sky /
Without ever leaving the ground.

— MARVIN GAYE
“Flying High in the Friendly Sky”


Am I Black Enough For You?

In order to understand the significance of basketball as the vehicle for the expression of larger urban issues, especially its connection to hip hop culture in the present, we must first go back to a time before these connections were clear and place the sport itself in its proper 1970s context. There is no question now that the '70s served as the watershed point for the mainstream emergence of Black popular culture. As a direct result of both the civil rights and the Black Power movements' impact on the American imagination, Black popular culture began to be visible, if not cutting edge, across a broad spectrum that included film, television, music, and sports, and in this regard basketball would become a central component in helping to define the changing definition of Black America.

The Blaxploitation era in Hollywood, which produced films like Shaft, Superfly, and The Mack, highlighted the essence of supercool. This

-19-

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