Updated: Jun 9, 2004, 6:28 PM

Vote: Are Bird's comments offensive?

The interview airs Thursday on ESPN (7 p.m. ET).
In an ESPN interview airing this week, Larry Bird spoke his mind on race and basketball: "I think it's good for a fan base, because, as we all know, the majority of the fans are white America," Bird said. "And if you just had a couple of white guys in there, you might get them a little excited. But it is a black man's game, and it will be forever. I mean, the greatest athletes in the world are African-American."

Bird added, "The one thing that always bothered me when I played in the NBA was I really got irritated when they put a white guy on me. I still don't understand why."

Bird was sitting down in a "Two on Two" group interview with his pal Magic Johnson and two rookie stars, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. But the feel-good get-together took an unexpected turn, and stirred up a hornet's nest of thoughts and attitudes on race in the NBA.

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