Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind

Shock Horror: A racist in the NBA


Steven Adams is a Kiwi playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s come under some criticism for using the term “quick little monkeys” to describe Golden State guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Apparently this has raised the ire of some sports fans and commentators, accusing Steven of racism. In some quarters his apology is not accepted, or seen as not genuine.

I must admit that I had to do some Googling to understand why the term is considered a racist remark in America. Here “little monkeys” has absolutely no racial overtone. It’s usually used either as an endearment for a group of active children, or in frustration when unable to keep them under control. A child escaping the clutches of a parent is likely to be called a “quick little monkey”.

The term is less often used when referring to adults, but to a Kiwi, describing opponents who you can’t pin down or control as quick little monkeys would come naturally. I suspect He was going to say they were “quick little buggers” (perfectly okay in NZ) or perhaps “quick little f**kers” (not suitable for early evening TV), and thought better of it in case they weren’t acceptable in the US.

The whole thing is a storm in a teacup. The issue should died down as soon as Steven gave his apology and explanation. But apparently not…

The Nightly Show

Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and discovered I am autistic at the age of sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

6 thoughts on “Shock Horror: A racist in the NBA

  1. That’s what is called a clash of cultures. Something so commonplace in one has a different meaning elsewhere and by the time truth starts to wear pants, the damage is all but done

  2. It certainly seems this player meant no harm; that much seems clear from the original quote. And in point of fact, I know lots of parents in this country (the US) who call their mischievous little ones “monkeys.” Unfortunately, within our cultural context, not only has “monkey” / “ape” / etc been used in a derogatory way for persons of African ancestry, but there’s also a history of microaggressions against minority cultures (and women!), which are typically justified as “perfectly innocent.” I can see how it would be difficult for someone – especially someone not raised to have an international perspective to begin with, which you might cite here as a larger problem underlying the situation – to accept “little monkeys” as an innocent comment, when so many comments are anything but. It would seem the culture clash is simple on your side, and much less so on ours – again, unfortunately.

  3. Sounds like an honest mistake, apologies given and not going to happen again. This stuff happens.

  4. Even here in Norway we say little monkeys to mischievous children. Actually, we say “små apekatter”, but that is because we speak Norwegian. (just in case you didn’t get that right away)

  5. Hey Barry! As an aside I have two guests posts currently published:


    If you have the time to drop by to read one or the other,I would be greatly honored.Thank You.

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