8 Most Unintentionally Racist Moments (Pg. 2)
The Celebrity: Justin Timberlake
The Slipup: As the host of ESPN’s 2008 ESPY Awards, JT made a joke about Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce “shucking and jiving” on the basketball court.
The Reaction: Crickets. ESPN edited the clip from the show after the audience didn’t respond to it during the taping of the show.
The Rating: 1/2 a John Mayer Playboy interview. Since the clip never aired and someone probably wrote the joke for Justin anyway, we’ll file this one under “No Harm, No Foul.”
The Celebrity: Larry Bird
The Slipup: During a 2004 interview for an ESPN special, Bird quipped, “When I played, you had me and Kevin [McHale] and some others throughout the league. I think it’s good for a fan base because, as we all know, the majority of fans are white America. And if you just had a couple of white guys in there, you might get them excited.”
The Reaction: Sportswriters debated whether or not Bird’s statements were racist. But the rest of America was too busy talking about LeBron James’ first season to even notice.
The Rating: 3/4 a John Mayer Playboy interview. Provided, of course, he has absolutely nothing to do with the Whites-Only Basketball League, Bird is still Larry Legend to us.