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Harold Bell Clumsily Defends John Thompson Jr. Hit Piece, Incites Radio Argument

UPDATE: The audio of the segment is here.

A couple weeks ago, Harold Bell, a well-known African American community activist in the D.C. area, wrote a hit piece on John Thompson Jr., detailing all the ways he was not a role model and a pioneer for African Americans in basketball. On Friday, Bell went on "The Mike Wise Show" on 106.7 The Fan to defend his drastic accusations. 

How'd he do? Let's just say that Wise's own statement at the end -- "I hope you can back it up a little better than you did today" -- rings pretty true.

The whole thing started when Bell said this, and went downhill from there.

"Harold Bell is a pioneer in sports radio talk shows. What you guys are doing now was unheard of before Inside Sports. People weren't playing message music. They weren't writing commentary. They weren't having media sports roundtables. Athletes weren't involved in the community the way I have them involved now."

Remember that line. It becomes significant.

Wise began by poking a hole in one of Bell's initial accusations: that John Thompson hung a sign in the team's gym referring to himself as a n***** coach. Wise said the banner wasn't hung, but was rather hurled into the gym while Georgetown was playing. Bell claimed Thompson himself told him he hung it, then backtracked and said his advisor told him he hung it, then changed his story again. 

BELL: "His right-hand man, James Wiggins ... told me up front, 'Harold, we put the banner up.' We laughed in the barber chair. Being that I knew James Wiggins, and you don't, I knew it was coming from someone with credibility."

WISE: "I know for a fact that the banner was never hung. That banner was thrown through a window during a game when John Thompson was coaching on the floor. It was handed to him by a gentlemen named Father Glenn, and Father Glenn gave that to John after the game. This is gospel. The banner was never hung."

BELL: "John Thompson said the banner was hung. He was the one who told me on the phone that the banner was hung. I talked directly to Coach Thompson. John Thompson told me it was hung, and Wiggins confirmed."

Bell then went back on that and said only Wiggins told him Thompson confirmed it. Remember that Bell is referring to conversations he had over 35 years ago.

Anyway, the subject then turned to his accusations against David Falk. Bell claimed Falk stole millions of dollars from Adrian Dantley, which perked up Chris Johnson, the other show's host. 

BELL: "David Falk has been in court for stealing millions of dollars from Adrian Dantley. I am the one that uncovered that and called Adrian's mother Virginia and said there were several million dollars missing out of Adrian's account."

CJ: "How did you have access to Adrian Dantley's bank account?"

BELL: "That's alright. That's my business."

CJ: "I'd like to know that story."

BELL: "That's in court! All you got to do is check the record."

WISE: "David Falk is not the only agent to represent himself in court. I know that."

BELL: "This is going on in the whole industry. Agents are stealing from the black athlete."

CJ: "If you don't want to tell me how you had access to Adrian Dantley's bank account, then I could just go on the air and say, 'The reason Harold Bell had access to Adrian Dantley's bank account is because Harold Bell and Adrian Dantley had a romantic relationship together."

BELL: "You can go ahead and say that if you want to say that!"

CJ: "Well, that's why this is dangerous!"

BELL: "The thing that Adrian Dantley ended up in court for was because it was missing dollars."

[the hosts argue]

BELL: "The truth is always dangerous. All you got to do is prove it wrong. Why don't you guys just prove it wrong?"

Which then finally takes us to the climax of this story, when Bell and Johnson went at it after Johnson, who once worked for Thompson, objected to Bell's characterization of Thompson as a person who intimidated everyone around him.

BELL: "He was one of the worst foul-mouthed coaches I've ever heard. I don't want none of my kids working for him."

CJ: (paraphrasing a bit) "He never once made me feel intimidated. He put a white woman on his bench to be the trainer. Did he intimidate her the whole time?"

BELL: "Man, you probably were nothing more than a cheerleader with pom-poms. What did you play? You were probably a cheerleader with pom poms. That's why you were all up under him. You got a dog in the fight."

CJ: "I worked with him for 10 years!"

BELL: "Well, I don't know you."

CJ: "I don't know you! That's the problem. You came in here and told us that you're the reason why we work in sports. I don't even know who you are. I've been in the business for 16 years, and I don't know who you are. Don't come in here and tell me I waive the pom-poms and stuff."

BELL: "You're a zero, man. That's what you are."

Bell closed the hour-long segment by saying that he "thrives on being real." Probably not the best approach to defend your story, dude.