Wisconsin Badgers superstar forward Nigel Hayes is one of the best returning college basketball players in America.
Following one trip to the Final Four and another to the National Championship game, Hayes is garnering more attention than ever before. And the star, who is black, is using this fame as a platform to spread his message about not using the N-word anymore.
During an interview with Sports Illustrated, Hayes said the following:
“Why would you call another person, especially a family member or friend, something derogatory like that? A Jewish person doesn’t call another person a derogatory Jewish word. You don’t see a white person call [a white person] a derogatory word. But black people do that. So I try my best not to do that … Literally, they say it just means ‘friend,’ ‘homie,’ but it really doesn’t mean that. No matter how much you want it to mean that, it doesn’t mean that.”
The motivation for Hayes’s views on the N-word stem from a book he read called Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority. The book dared Hayes to question his previous views on the derogatory term, which led him to no longer use the word, according to Sports Illustrated.
Hayes, who also doesn’t smoke weed or drink, says he could go out and party and chase women, but is instead focused on getting better as a basketball player and spending time with his family.
The junior forward and top NBA prospect will lead the 17th ranked Badgers as they begin their season against Western Illinois on November 13.