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Mini Rhetorical Analysis Final Draft

Vedaant Vyas
Writing 120
Professor Lovas
12 October 2020
Vyas 1
Thoughts On An “Owners Mentality” In The NBA
The Undefeated, a website that discusses sports and culture, wrote an article about the
term “owners” in the NBA, and the negative connotations associated with the term. This article
was written in light of recent events involving NBA owners.
The author of this article, Martenzie Johnson, argues that the term “owner” in the NBA
causes the league executives to have the mentality that they feel like they are free to do whatever
they want, and whenever they want, just because they are called “owners”. Johnson uses rhetoric
very effectively to argue his point, and he does this by describing and analyzing events that
support his claim, as well as aligning with Lloyd F. Bitzer’s views on rhetoric.
Using the findings of Bitzer regarding rhetoric, we can see why Johnson’s article is
indeed effective in strengthening his central argument, which is that NBA owners have the
mentality that they can do whatever they want towards their predominantly African-American
players, due to them holding the title of “owner”. Bitzer makes it clear that he believes specific
situations create rhetoric discourse, and in Johnson’s article, this is the case. The term “owner”
has been used ever since the NBA’s inception in 1947. However, it is recent events that have
happened that caused this article to be written, which proves Bitzer’s point, that rhetorical
discourse comes from situations. Johnson first describes an incident in 2005, in which Los
Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling would bring women into the locker room after games to
show to the team’s players, who were predominantly African American. Sterling would often
mention to the women, “Look at those beautiful black bodies.”(Johnson). In this case, the
situation was Sterling’s locker room antics, and the discourse is what Johnson proclaims to his
audience, who in this case are the owners of the NBA, as well as the other readers of his article.
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Not only does this support Bitzer’s claims, but it supports Johnson’s claim that owners think that
they are free to do what they want because of their title.
The primary reason that this article was written however, was for an incident in 2019
involving Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, who is African-American, and the Golden State
Warriors minority owner, Mark Stevens. Stevens shoved Lowry as he was chasing a loose ball
headed towards the stands. To further support Johnson’s argument, it is worth noting that there
were many fans that came into contact with Lowry when he was going after the ball, and Stevens
was not one of those fans who were in close proximity to Lowry. However, with him holding the
title of “owner”, he felt that it was okay to shove Lowry, despite the fact that he was not even on
the team that Stevens partially owned. The reason that this strengthens Johnson’s argument is
that it proves that NBA owners have a different mentality, hence the fact that Stevens was the
one out of all the fans that shoved Lowry. Bitzer explains that it is really the details of the
situation that creates rhetoric, and in this case, small details like this are important.
Johnson’s article is also very effective due to the fact that throughout his article, he is
very clear and concise in what he is describing. He describes events exactly as they happened,
and he is not afraid to mince words, even though they may catch people off-guard. The main
strength of Johnson’s article is that his examples completely support his argument. Going back to
Bitzer’s views, we can safely conclude that if these situations had not happened, Johnson’s
argument would have been very ineffective, since his audience would not see why the term
“owner” would be negative.
In conclusion, Martenzie Johnson uses rhetoric very effectively while demonstrating to
his audience why the term “owner” provides the wrong mentality for NBA owners, especially
when it comes to how they treat African-American men.
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Works Cited
Bitzer, Lloyd F. The Rhetorical Situation. 1st ed., vol. 1, Penn State University Press, 1968.
Johnson, Martenzie. “The NBA Has an 'Owner Mentality' Problem.” The Undefeated, ESPN, 8
June 2019, theundefeated.com/features/the-nba-has-an-owner-mentality-problem/.