The guard has helped his team to the best record in the NBA. He talks to Donald McRae about race, Giannis Antetokounmpo and his drive to fight poverty
Its still winter in America, with downtown Milwaukee lined by banks of dirty snow, but there is sunshine in this room. Donald Trump remains in office, as anger and disillusion festers, but Malcolm Brogdon defies these downbeat days. Fiery eloquence and hope pour out of the NBAs 2017 Rookie of the Year who plays for the most exciting basketball team in America. The Milwaukee Bucks lead the Eastern Conference and have the best record in the league.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, a 6ft 11in Greek immigrant of Nigerian descent, is the Bucks exhilarating star who now bears comparison with LeBron James and Steph Curry. But Brogdon is the steady heart of this young team. Antetokounmpo is called the Greek Freak while Brogdons stately nickname is The President. Having come late to the pro ranks after completing his post-graduate degree, the 26-year-old talks with the resolve of a man destined for more important matters than his current drive to help the Bucks become NBA champions for only the second time in their five-decade history and the first since a young Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was in their fold.
It speaks to America as a whole, Brogdon says as he considers the perennial question of race in a country where Trump sits in the White House. Weve elected someone who allows hatred and racism to continue and, in some way, supports it. It was shocking when we put him in office but having him there has allowed everyone to see what people in the country really feel. Now we can rebuild the country properly. Its about electing someone that unites people and supports progressive ideas. We no longer need a president who tries to destroy people.
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Brogdon, a quietly impassioned orator, pauses. Its ironic because, while Trump tries to break people down and tear them apart, hes brought so many of us together. This is especially true for the black community. One of our main problems is that, after the Civil Rights movement, black people did not look after each other. But having Trump in office has brought us together.