20 November – the Black Consciousness Day - is a historical date in Brazil but also a very important chapter in alvinegro basket history. Outstanding players were part of that history, like Rosa Branca, Adilson, Rocky Smith, Joy and so many others that conquered several titles, like four Campeonatos Brasileiros and two Club Champions Sul-Americanas.
During the 80’s, the magazine "Placar" wrote the story about five black Corinthians’ players – very unusual at that time. Gilson was part of that team who sparkle in this report called Força Negra do Timão. After almost 40 years, the former player shares the feelings of being the cover of that magazine. “The story questioned the systematic situation of having only black minorities as part of the teams. Black players had to be extraordinary to keep playing”.
After some decades and even stating some improvements, the former athlete thinks the country still suffers from racism. “We can see a better situation now, but this national embarrassment is the base of our social-economic imbalances. We have to fight to change the people mentality and it has to start as a State responsibility”.
Corinthians keep their traditions, and in 2018 the club recovered basket, having black players representing the team at the courts and also taking more space at the stands of Ginásio Wlamir Marques.
Humberto, the 24 years Corinthians player tells his story and how he had to face his fears when he was young. “A black person is afraid to expose in social events and that happened with me. I was afraid of going to public spaces, like the shopping mall, because of the prejudice I could face”.
Zoom Fuller is one more player who also faced racism, when playing in the US state Tennessee, where the Ku Klux Klan was founded. Gringo da Favela revealed he was bullied with prejudice from the fans. “I never felt it (racism) in Brazil, but I did it in USA, especially in college. In Tennessee it’s not easy being black and not a player. I used to listen them saying bad things about my colour and talking about those times makes me nervous”.
Image: Beto Miller
Corinthians Football Manager
During an interview, Corinthians’ football manager Dyego Coelho spoke about how hard life is for black managers in Brazil. He’s one of the three black managers in Seria A, with Roger Machado (Bahia) and Marcão (Fluminense), all former football players.
“It was never easy, but we can change the current situation”- the manager said. Dyego, who is starting his career as manager, also spoke about racism. “Racism is inside our society. I’m tired going to restaurants and being watched from head to toes just because I’m black”. “I knew my life as a manager wouldn’t be easy, but my passion for football was very strong and here I am today!”.