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The feeling of a Sunday sermon covered the house of Martin Luther King Jr. as Spike Lee, Michael Wilbon, Marion Jones, Jalen Rose, John Calipari and Randy Shannon preached about the progress of race relations in sports at the Content of Character Town Hall in Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Friday night.
The always outspoken Lee sermonized phrases like, "The NCAA, they're biggest pimps around," as amens rang throughout the sanctuary.
There's an old Christian saying, "When two or more are gathered in my name, I will be there." King's spirit had to be present as hundreds gathered in his honor to embrace his message of equality.
After the event, I spoke with the panel to discover the answer to the question I posed in my last piece. When will we reach the mountaintop?
"The great thing about the mountaintop statement is technically you never get there," Rose said. "We're still working; we're still climbing. We still have to catch up in other sports like baseball, tennis and NASCAR where we're irrelevant not only as players but in positions of leadership."
Robin Roberts, "Good Morning America" anchor, was more optimistic in believing we will reach the zenith of equality in sports. "You have to believe that," she said. "You just have to. We will be 'there' when it's not a topic of discussion."
Six-time WNBA All-Star Chamique Holdsclaw attended the event and said progress is a thing only the athlete can control. "It's an inner thing; we have power," she said. "Once we start holding ourselves in higher esteem, the sky is the limit. We have to say, 'I don't care about cars and stuff; I want ownership.' We need more Magic Johnsons and Michael Jordans."
Like their varied paths to fame, the opinions from the panel about when we will gain true racial equality in sports ran the gamut.
Roberts told an endearing story of speaking in a classroom and being introduced multiple times as a black woman in sports media. After her introduction, a young white boy raised his hand and said:
"Well, I don't get it. I see you on TV and you're good but why does the teacher have to keep mentioning you're black? I just don't get it."
Roberts said that child represents King's mountaintop and the answer to my question. When we can see life through the eyes of that small boy, we will have reached the mountaintop, she said
What are your thoughts on the mountaintop? When will we reach it? Can we ever?