Elon Musk, Muggsy Bogues, NBA team up for new innovative equity solutions for height inequities in America.
Marc Morial, CEO of the National Urban League, spoke with U.S. News and World Report (August 21, 2020) about the challenges facing Black Americans today. Morial says, “Black Americans are like the caboose on the train,” Morial said. “If the train goes faster, you’re going to go faster, but you’re going to still be the caboose.”
For understanding equity, a helpful graphic is shown below, illustrated by the Interaction Institute for Social Change.
(Popular illustration above shows how, with appropriate height equity, all participants can cheer over the fence without having to buy tickets.)
The idea is that when someone is shorter, they need to have more boxes to stand on to achieve true equity.
In a recent interview, we asked Tyrone Curtis “Muggsy” Bogues to share his thoughts about height equity. Muggsy played with multiple teams in the league from 1987-2001. “With true equity, I would’ve had a better record than Michael Jordan,” said the 5’3” retired NBA star. “Height privilege among all the other players really does bring you down sometimes. Had I simply been able to match the height of my teammates, I could have been far more successful.”
An NBA regulation basketball hoop is 10 feet off the floor. A player of Muggsy’s height needs to be able to reach or jump a full 4’9” above his head to make a basket whereas a player like Michael Jordan, at 6’5”, only has to reach an additional 3’7”. Muggsy’s net worth is estimated to be $18-million compared to Michael Jordan’s estimated net worth over $1-billion. Muggsy advocates for closing that inequity, and eliminating height privilege in the NBA.
Elon Musk recently announced a brain chip that would potentially make it so that a paralyzed person could operate various technologies like smart phones and robotic limbs by using their brain waves. Musk said, “the future is going to be weird.”
This new technology didn’t go unnoticed by the NBA and they reached out to Musk about height privilege. Musk agreed to enter into discussions on how to bring the equity needed to abolish height privilege in professional basketball. The NBA has agreed to provide some funding but anticipates that Musk, with his personal net worth of more than $100-billion, will be able to support the majority of the cost.
Muggsy has been asked to be a part of the project team, which is currently exploring several designs including robotic player leg and arm extensions, an electronic backboard that automatically senses the height of the player and adjusts up or down accordingly, and wing implants.
At a recent press briefing, Musk and Muggsy talked about the importance of the project. “I’m thrilled to be involved,” said Muggsy, “this is going to make a rockin’ difference for all those young kids out there, playing basketball at the park, who struggle every day with being altitudinally-challenged”. Musk, 6’1”, when asked about Muggsy’s participation remarked, “Muggsy who?”