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|Said Chapman To Page 2|
Rex Chapman talked to ESPN.com Page 2 writer Jason Whitlock last week and discussed race and his time at Kentucky and in the NBA:
Chapman was particularly bothered by his belief that sports writers in Kentucky didn't hype high school stars such as Derek Anderson and Allan Houston the way he was hyped as a prep. Chapman was known as the greatest high school player the state of Kentucky ever produced.
"I ended up going to [the University of] Kentucky, and on the one hand, I was the Great White Hope and had 24,000 people cheering for me every day and every night," Chapman said. "Off the court, then I'd hear the whispers that I was a n----- lover. It was just asinine and ugly. That was part of the reason I left school early."
Chapman dated a wide variety of women while he was at Kentucky, including black women. He said his color-blind dating habits were frowned upon by Charlotte Hornets owner George Shinn, who selected Chapman with the eighth pick of the 1988 draft. Chapman said the first time he met Shinn, the owner had just one question and it had nothing to do with the purpose of the meeting, which was to end Chapman's weeklong rookie holdout for $25,000.
"He asked me if I ever dated black girls," Chapman said. "I told him that I wasn't right now, but that I probably would. My contract was done 20 minutes later. To this day, I believe he thought I might go to the press. [Shinn] started, 'Well, I guess, what I'm saying, you know we live down here in the Bible Belt. I'm just saying be careful.' "