Former NBAer Hodges tried to get Jordan, Magic to boycott Finals game

Ray Amati / National Basketball Association / Getty

Craig Hodges was one of the NBA's elite sharpshooters in his day; he led the league twice in beyond-the-arc percentage and won three straight All-Star 3-point shootouts from 1990-92.

Always an outspoken advocate for social justice issues, he's still shooting from the lip. In his new book, "Long Shot: The Triumphs and Struggles of an NBA Freedom Fighter," Hodges said he attempted to get Chicago Bulls teammate Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers to boycott Game 1 of the 1991 NBA Finals.

Hodges came up with the idea in response to the infamous video that surfaced two months earlier of four Los Angeles Police Department officers beating black motorist Rodney King.

"We would stand in solidarity with the black community while calling out racism and economic inequality in the NBA, where there were no black owners and almost no black coaches despite the fact that 75 percent of the players in the league were African American," Hodges said, according to The Guardian's Donald McRae.

Hodges' suggestion didn't fly, however, as Jordan told him he was "crazy" while Johnson said, "That's too extreme, man."

"What's happening to our people in this country is extreme" was Hodges' reply.

Less than a year later, a suburban Los Angeles jury acquitted the four police officers, sparking some of the worst rioting in American history. Then, during the 1992 NBA Finals, Hodges openly criticized Jordan's silence on the issue.

That series marked Hodges' last games in the NBA - he believes his political outspokenness got him blacklisted from the league.

"No one would return my calls," he said.

A quarter-century later, Hodges said he harbors no ill will toward Jordan.

"Michael didn't speak out largely because he didn’t know what to say," he said. "Not because he was a bad person."