Commentary: Conquering NBA fans' hearts, Tacko Fall shows how sports bring us together
Sltrib.com - Thu 11 Jul 07:53 GMT

Every year, a few players — unexpected gems — emerge at the NBA Summer League, staking a claim to the highly coveted career in professional basketball. This year, perhaps the brightest star is Tacko Fall, a Senegalese Muslim who, even in a world of giants, to…

  This year, perhaps the brightest star is Tacko Fall, a Senegalese Muslim who, even in a world of giants, towers over the competition.

  In less than two weeks, Fall went from an undrafted rookie hoping to make a splash to the most beloved man in America’s second most popular sport.

  Understanding the prevalence of anti-Muslim bigotry helps us appreciate even more how remarkable it is to see people across the country embrace Fall.

  My three brothers and I grew up in South Texas, and we spent more time playing sports than anything else: soccer, basketball, football, baseball, etc.

  And if we weren’t playing sports, we were watching them on TV, talking about them or looking through our basketball cards.

  Similarly, the love shown to Fall — in a political moment of immense anti-immigrant, anti-black and anti-Muslim bigotry — shows us what a politically useful function sports can serve.

  Rather, Islam and the West can be in harmony with each other — and there’s no more effective avenue of showing this reality than through sport.