Watch: NBA Head Coach Leaves Race-Baiting Reporter Speechless After Dropping 10-Word Bomb


There wasn’t much drama in Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals, as the Boston Celtics drubbed the Dallas Mavericks 107-89 on Thursday.

(Somehow that lopsided score belies just how dominant the Celtics were.)

But that didn’t stop one reporter from trying to stir up some drama on Saturday, during an off-day media scrum with second-year Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla.

While speaking to reporters about a number of topics, including the Celtics being three wins away from NBA championship banner No. 18, one intrepid journalist decided to try and make the NBA Finals about race.

Mazzulla wasn’t having it.

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Toronto-based basketball pundit Oren Weisfield captured the interaction, which you can watch below:

“For the first time since 1975, this is the NBA Finals where you have two black head coaches,” Yahoo Sports reporter Vincent Goodwill posited to Mazzulla. “Given the plight, sometimes, of black head coaches in the NBA, do you think this is a significant moment? Do you take pride in this? How do you view this, or do you not see it at all?”

Are you watching the NBA Finals?

(Mazzulla and Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd are both mixed-race black men.)

Had Mazzulla had more leftist tendencies, he may have given Goodwill the exact soundbite he was looking for.

Instead, Mazzulla gave a soundbite alright, but they involved 10 words that Goodwill definitely didn’t appreciate (more on this shortly).

“I wonder how many of those have been Christian coaches?” Mazzulla responded, without skipping a beat.

Cue about 10 seconds worth of absolute (and absolutely awkward) silence.

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Mazzulla is no stranger to giving off-kilter responses to reporters fishing for drama.

Before the NBA Finals began, one reporter tried to prod Mazzulla about the return of former Celtic Kyrie Irving — now a Maverick — back to the city he had such an acrimonious divorce with.


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Mazzulla’s response?

“We’re all villains in someone’s eyes.”

And that remark may have been more accurate than even Mazzulla could’ve anticipated, because the aforementioned Goodwill did not take kindly to having his racially charged question dismantled with a faith-based response.

Goodwill penned a piece for Yahoo entitled “2024 NBA Finals: Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla’s unwillingness to discuss race a complicated issue” following that interaction with Mazzulla, and the piece was about what you’d expect from a reporter fishing for racially charged answers.

Here’s Goodwill’s slanted and snarky assessment of the immediate aftermath of Mazzulla’s comments: “There was stunned silence in the room because it felt like an awkward answer, at the very least. Shockingly, and this may come as a surprise to the Celtics coach, it is possible to be both Black and Christian.”

It’s unclear if Goodwill realizes it’s also possible to be black and not make every waking facet of your personality about said black-ness. For the record, Goodwill is black, judging by his Yahoo bio pic, so the thought has probably occurred to him at some point, but I digress.

It’s also worth pointing out that Goodwill noted that “there wasn’t a follow-up question, just the awkward silence” — without mentioning that he himself could have asked a follow-up question if he’d chosen to. But his column clearly wasn’t about making Mazzulla’s actions understandable.

It didn’t take long for Goodwill to get to his effective point (emphasis added):

“Mazzulla doesn’t mind jostling with the media, at times coming across very thin-skinned when being challenged. He doesn’t seem pressed by the awkward silence, and perhaps he likes embracing the weird in everything that comes with this professional sports ecosystem.

“And he has referenced his faith when asked about things like the royal family coming to a Celtics game, so, at least publicly, he puts it out front and wears it proudly, for whatever it’s worth.

“His relationship with his own racial identity is personal, but his answer certainly opens the door for more questions.

Especially because it’s Boston and the NBA’s labor force is overwhelmingly Black.

Ah, there it is. The age old trope that Boston is a “racist” city was right at the tip of the tongue of Goodwill. The Yahoo reporter even offered examples of said racism that he would probably have liked to discuss with Mazzulla, had his question not completely repulsed the Celtics coach.

“Boston’s relationship with Black athletes has been checkered, dating back to its treatment of Bill Russell,” Goodwill wrote for Yahoo. “Once, vandals broke into his home, and Russell found feces on his walls and bed.

“In the early ’90s, Celtics guard Dee Brown was pulled over in nearby Wellesley, with his fiancée in the passenger seat — under the guise of the police looking for a bank robber, they claimed. And guns were drawn on Brown.”

Those are all lamentable incidents, to be sure, but it is hardly enough reason to make everything related to Boston sports about race. Last checked, the city embraced Russell, Brown, and other decorated black athletes in the city’s sports history (Athletes like Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz, ex-New England Patriot and BLM fan Randy Moss and retired former Celtic Paul Pierce, for example).

Full disclosure: This writer is a die hard Mavericks fan and even I can’t help but appreciate Mazzulla’s utter indifference to leftist talking points.

Game 2 of the NBA Finals tips off Sunday night in Boston, as the Celtics look to take a strong 2-0 series lead.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
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Topics of Expertise
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