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Today African American athletes dominate almost all professional team sports In basketball some of the record holders were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Wilt Chamberlain Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan In football Walter Payton Jim Brown Jerry Rice Erik Dickerson and Jim Marshall set records Baseballs Ricky Henderson held the stolen-base record at 939 in 1991 From Joe Louis in the 1930s until Evander Holyfield in the 1990s black Americans have almost monopolized heavyweight boxing Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson were at the top of the game of tennis Since Jesse Owens won four Olympic gold medals in 1936 African Americans have excelled in track and field sports Florence Griffith Joyner and Jackie Joyner-Kersee won medals at the 1988 Olympics Carl Lewis Butch Reynolds Roger Kingdom Edwin Moses Bob Beamon and Willie Banks also set track records How is it possible that a particular race can be so accepted in the arena of popular entertainment and sports yet the American populous still does not have a homogeneous attitude toward the black athletes that make professional sports in America so popular Beyond the audience that directly watches professional sports the rest of America is still influenced by athletes who pose as role models and cultural icons in America The negative aspect of black culture in the eyes of the public or blackness is regarded as a threat to the integrity of the professional sports leagues and to America as a whole Blackness as defined by popular culture is an African Americans attitude such that he or she is extremely overt in the eyes of the public by emphasizing his or her race as opposed to skill By wearing corn-rows or an afro haircut or preaching against white society a black athlete can come to be seen in a negative light by the public which in general has its children propped in front of a television watching black super-athletes dunk the ball and walk off the court to
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