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But Hodges believes the outpouring of support for Kaepernick, especially on social media, “has to be heartening for him. He must know that, ‘Hey man, I’m doing the right thing.’” Hodges, in contrast, received no support. “None at all. Today, on social media, people can vibe with you even if they can’t do anything about your opportunity to play. Authentic Sonny Jurgensen Youth Jersey So I feel good he knows people support him. Now, if the NFL doesn’t stump up and he doesn’t get an opportunity, fans who are supportive of Colin should show their displeasure and stage a boycott. Don’t buy jerseys or don’t go to the game to show appreciation for his stance.” The way in which social media has publicised campaigns such as Black Lives Matter has meant sportsmen can no longer plead ignorance as Jordan and Scottie Pippen once did. When Hodges tried to get his team-mates to read more about black history, Pippen supposedly said: “What do I need education for? I make six figures.” Hodges harbors no animosity towards Pippen or even Jordan. “Michael didn’t speak out largely because he didn’t know what to say – not because he was a bad person.” It should also be pointed out that Jordan chose to snub President Bush’s invitation when the Bulls visited him in 1991. “I’m not going to the White House,” Hodges remembers Jordan saying. “Fuck Bush. I didn’t vote for him.” How does he regard Jordan, 25 years on? “He’s a savvy businessman. I applaud him for that, I don’t hate on that. But he’s gained knowledge through life experience and he has been getting into decent projects. I’m sure he is more conscious now.” Phil Jackson was the only man in the Chicago locker room to share Hodges’ unhappiness at America’s bombing of Iraq in 1991. “We get stuck in one idea of patriotism,” Hodges says, “and if I don’t march to the beat of that soundbite I’m unpatriotic. Me and Phil were different. When the Gulf war broke out in 1991, on Dr King Day, actually, everybody said: ‘We need to bomb the shit out of them.’ Phil let them finish and he said: ‘If we do that, then remember that’s going to leave an orphan who will feel the pain as he grows up with the idea of revenge. Don’t be too quick to cheer – because retaliation is in his hands now.” Jackson ended Hodges’ 13-year isolation from the NBA when he offered him a coaching role at the LA Lakers. Authentic Adam Lind Youth Jersey Hodges won two more championships with Jackson and the Lakers. The old wounds have healed but surely he despairs when, apart from the continuing loss of young black lives, Trump is in the White House? “You would love to think we’ve come a long way, and that’s saddening to me at times. The imagery portrays that black people have come a long way. We had a black president so we now can’t talk about race any more? But we’re still the least represented people in this nation.” Hodges dismisses Barack Obama’s presidency. “He did some good things, I’m sure,” Hodges snorts, “but I don’t know what they are. Maybe he tried to get healthcare for everybody, but they’re still running it the way they want.” Yet replacing Obama with Trump must dishearten Hodges? “No. It’s not disheartening because there are natural cycles of life. We have been so mis-educated we don’t understand there is a supreme answer. You know that old song – Age of Aquarius? It’s about the dawning of a new age. It’s coming, even if Trump says we’re going to make America great again. For me, as a black man, when was America great? What’s so great about the founding fathers, the civil war, the killing of Martin Luther King, the killing of Malcolm X? The blackballing of athletes during that period? What period are you talking about when America was great?’

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