Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King defended Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry in a statement to Zach Lowe of ESPN’s Grantland, following a report and a leaked audio tape of Ferry using racially charged language to describe Sudanese-born NBA player Luol Deng:
King on Ferry: “I have known him since we were 15 years old. He is like a brother to me and he is the furthest thing from a racist.”
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) September 12, 2014
On the tape, Ferry can be heard describing Deng as “having a little African in him… He has a store front out front that’s beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you. And when I say that, I mean for example he can come out and be an unnamed source for a story, and two days later come out and say that was absolutely not me, I can’t believe someone said that.”
Ferry and King are longtime friends: the two attended and played basketball together at Duke University in the mid-to-late 1980s, and both vied for the open Nets general manager position when Rod Thorn left the Nets in 2010. While King got the job with the Nets, Ferry went on to run the Hawks, and the two orchestrated a trade that sent Joe Johnson to the Nets in the summer of 2012 for Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson, Jordan Williams, Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, and draft picks.