Craig Hodges won two NBA Championships with the Bulls. He led the NBA in three-point shooting three times, but those aren’t his biggest achievements.
He considers that to be his fight against racism and for equality. Hodges spoke to students and staff at Rock Valley College Wednesday afternoon. He has chronicled his stand for justice in his book titled ‘Long Shot: The Triumphs And Struggles Of An NBA Freedom Fighter.’
Hodges believes he was once blackballed by the NBA for taking a stand for equality and pushing the discussion of racism to the forefront.
Despite the recent flareups and unrest in our country Hodges believes progress toward equality has been and is being made.
“Everything is moving in a positive direction quite honestly,” says Hodges. “I think young people, especially on college campuses understand the level of respect that’s necessary for us to go forward in this nation, and I think it’s a matter of people realizing the respect of one another and what cultures bring to this nation that makes us how great we are. Honestly I think right now we’re at that turning point where if the people sit down and actually discuss things in a forthright manner and not be afraid to accept the realities of history and just accept it for what it is and accept people for who they are we can just go forward.”
Hodges empathizes with quarterback Colin Kaepernick who took a stand for what he felt were racial injustices and now he can’t find a job in the NFL.
“I want to make sure I always give a shout out to Colin because he’s a strong individual. He’s taken a stance that’s not so loved in a lot of places but for me I love the brother for what he’s taken, the stance that he’s taken, and the number of people that he’s taken it for. It’s just a continuation of the struggle that goes on. We know we’re a part of it and we’re not shy to or shy away from it but stand forthrightly on the principles of the reality of things and not be afraid to speak about it.”
Hodges does not advocate violence as a way of taking a stand. He supports peaceful solutions.
Hodges is currently the head basketball coach at Rich East High School in Park Forest, Illinois.