Death of the 'White' American Basketball Player

Discussion in 'NBA' started by Babe_Ruth, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. Babe_Ruth

    Babe_Ruth Sultan of Swat Staff Member V.I.P.

    I got this from another message board, I found it really interesting, was wondering what you guys thought?

    The makeup of the NBA is predominately black for a number of reasons. Socioeconomic factors play a role as a majority of black NBA players come from lower income areas and basketball is part of their culture and everyday life. Playing professionally and making millions is seen as a dream and a way out of the ghetto, so to speak. This in contrast to most white suburban kids who grow up in nice homes and rarely have any economic reason to devote their life to basketball. This is not to say that socioeconomics is the ONLY reason why the majority of the NBA is non-white, but it definitely is a strong factor. The other major aspect is genetics; African Americans have a higher percentage of fast twitch muscle than their white counterparts, which is a major factor in quickness/jumping ability. As we all know, the NBA is a fast pace game with vertical ability being an important factor so it's obvious that an overall athletic genetic advantage towards a certain sport can definitely sway the odds.

    In spite of these factors, there have been many successful white NBA players in the past. Larry Bird, Pete Marvavich, Jerry West, John Stockton, and many others which were before my time. These players I've listed were superstar type players...there are countless other all-star quality Caucasian NBA players born in the US. Given the fact that the US is currently 70% white (and even a higher percentage of Caucasian's years ago) it's not unreasonable to assume that there will be successful players from that ethnicity, despite any genetic disadvantage.

    But in recent times there have been very few all-stars, or even quality NBA players, born in the US of Caucasian descent in the league. The answer can't be to simply blame genetics because there have been many non-black athletes from other countries who have had great success in the league. In no particular order: Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Yao Ming, Steve Nash have all been stars or superstars at some point in the past 5 years. How many stars can you name that were born in the US? Kirk Hinrich...uh, Brad Miller or Wally Szczerbiak for a season or two? Neither of those guys were anything close to superstars, perhaps a fringe all-star invite for a season but mainly just an above average starter. That compared to the listed non-black international counterparts who have claimed the last 3 league MVP's or are one of the top 2 guys on their teams.

    Granted, the population of Europe, Asia, South America combined is much greater than the US. But with a majority of these countries focusing on other sports (namely soccer) or not even putting in close to the resources towards sports that America does, it's hard to believe that all of the non-black success in the NBA have been outside of the US. When guys like David Lee are being heralded as perhaps the best white american born player, you can't help but scratch your head. David Lee is a great guy and a surprise success in the league, but when someone averaging 11/11 a game is the best white American prospect you have to wonder what's going on. When's the last time a white American SG or SF was regarded as a top pick/quality prospect? Mike Dunleavy? Wally Szczerbiak? Mike Miller? All of those guys were drafted years ago, and while Wally and Miller have had some success in the league...they haven't necessarily blossomed into some have hoped. Adam Morrison was terrible his rookie season, and with the signings of Wallace and Richardson it seems like Charlotte has demoted him to 7th/8th man instead of being the main scoring option that his #3 selection would suggest.

    Almost of the G/F prospects are international, as this years draft saw guys like Yi Jianlian, Marco Bellineli, and Rudy Fernandez being regarded as potential players selected in the first round. How many white American non-centers were selected in the 1st round? Only one, Jason Smith...who is arguably a center playing PF due to his lack of strength.

    Why the recent lack of success for Caucasian basketball players born in America? A 6'3'' white guy born just north of the border is a two-time MVP, a German PF is the reigning MVP, a 7'6'' center out of China is regarded by most as the best center in the league. I won't even mention guys like Ginobili, Pau Gasol, Andris Biedrins, Andres Nocioni, Andrei Kirilenko who have all had great success in the league. Will this lack of white American NBA success's continue or will new stars reminiscent of players like Stockton and Bird finally make a surge into the league?

  2. zunami

    zunami Registered Member

    I think the socioeconomic factor is way overrated because if you know you have a chance to be an all-star one day, you're gonna play basketball no matter how wealthy your parents are or how educated you are.
    I blame the obsession for being flashy as the biggest factor. White players are basically trying to play the same flashy, athletic style as blacks because it looks fun and exciting. There isn't this type of problem in Europe as much because players learn everything from coaches not from TV. There's not enough advertising of playing smart and techincal Steve Nash basketball instead of Hot Sauce, Allen Iverson ball. Bottom line is that they're just not as athletic most of the time as blacks because their fast twitch muscles aren't as good.
  3. StroShow

    StroShow The return shall be legenday! V.I.P. Lifetime

    This is a well written topic. Back in the day Basketball was a blue collar's type of game. That's why players like Larry Bird, Pete Marivich, Bob Cousy, Jerry West, Bob Petit and Chris Mullen to name a few players excelled so much. They could all shoot the lights out, and play good defence. When players like Julius Erving, Connie Hawkins, David Thompson, and Michael Jordan entered the league the game changed. There wasn't anymore lay ups. Instead players stuffed the ball into the basket. And that's the type of game we still play today. Which makes it harder for caucasions because they don't have the ability's as african americans do.
  4. zunami

    zunami Registered Member

    You have to call Jason Kidd white though, don't you? I don't know if his mom or dad is black but he's white to me. He's a great example of a blue collar guy like CB said. Always hustling for every rebound even though he doesn't have to because of his superstar status.
  5. Duke1985

    Duke1985 EatsApplePieShitsFreedom

    You know, when I saw the thread title, I though Larry Bird had died or something.

    I got nothing really, I only watch basketball at the bar.
  6. TDG1987

    TDG1987 Registered Member

    One rule of life...if you're mixed, you're black (Kidd's father is black).

    Talking about the white American player, who was the last of that group that you would call a superstar? Bird? The only person I can think of after him is Dan Majerle Based on the current rosters, these are the top white American players (in no particular order)

    Chris Kaman
    Luke Walton
    Brad Miller
    Kirk Hinrich
    Troy Murphy
    Matt Carroll
    Jason Williams
    Steve Blake
    Nick Collison
    Luke Ridnour
    Matt Harpring
    Wally Szczerbiak (born in Spain but is American)

    Some of these names are in here pretty much by default but that's what I came up with. Not the most compelling list, to say the least. Eventually the next great white American superstar will come along. We just don't know when.
  7. Rapier

    Rapier Registered Member V.I.P. Lifetime

    I am of the opinion that racial undertones are the reason white American players have virtually disappeared from the NBA. The most obvious proof is the super star status of John Stockton to the ripe old age of 40 or 41. Simply stated Stockton was Karl Malone's friend. Mess with John you find yourself messing with Karl.

    A little less obvious is the success of foreign born white NBA players. Again simply stated, they are not intimidated by American Blacks. Racial confrontation is not part of their social upbringing. A glare brings a shrug, a hard foul gets a hard foul back, black posturing is ignored because it probably seems extremely childlike and loses much of its impact if there is a language barrier.

    Thirdly, I think splinters of American college benches have obscured white American players from the NBA draft. College coaches have become mesmerized with vertical leap and speed and quickness stats as the only springboard to the starting line-up. Every other aspect of the game has become persona non grata.

    Ironically, the coaches seem, at least to me, to begin to teach and impart, to the players who are now the future of their program, basketball skills and nuances long mastered by the white kids and slower black kids tethered to the bench.

    Next time you watch an ACC game look closely at either bench and you'll see that slow poke Larry flanked by Robert and Kevin.

    The meaning of life
    Is in a child's face
    It is with us
    To keep a smile in that place.

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