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OTL: White Americans in the NBA

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by bigpern23, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    I'm watching Outside the Lines and they're discussing the lack of white Americans who start in the NBA and why there's only about 10 percent of the NBA who make up that designation.

    Here's an out-of-nowhere-but-possibly-plausible theory, though: Europeans and poor Americans (I won't limit that to poor blacks) have more incentive than many middle-class or upper-class white Americans. I do believe that, for all the progress we've made in this country, white Americans largely grow up in better financial situations than many black Americans. That translates into more of a focus on education rather than looking to the playground as a way to hit it rich.

    I think many white Americans are brought up believing that a college education is the key to success, whereas many black Americans are brought up to see that the best way out of a poor situation is through entertainment - music, acting or sports. I don't think many white Americans are brought up believing they can succeed as an NBA player or a cornerback in the NFL. \

    I think black Americans (or, more specifically, black American who live in the inner city) are more often sold the bill of goods that if they perform on the field on or in the studios they can raise themselves (and their friends and family) out of the ghetto. I don't think they are often discouraged from this line of thinking by how astronomical the odds are against them, and I think several of my high school friends are perfect examples of kids who were mislead by college coaches who were looking for a talent that would fit their program and would say anything to get them there. The big problem there was that, those particular kids - unaware of their physical limitations - never took the chance to get a free education seriously.

    Rather than focusing on how many white Americans are playing in the NBA, I'd rather see a report on how many people are playing in the NBA from families who make, say, more than $100,000 a year. I'd be willing to bet that the ratio of players coming from poor families to upper class families is greater than the ratio of players coming black families to white families.

    There are a ton of other social factors that go into how blacks and whites view athleticism vs. scholastics. They all play into the racial makeup of th NBA.
  2. Sneed

    Sneed Guest

    Pretty much the gist of my current book project's premise. Kid's parents flat-out tell him, when he's six years old, they won't be able to afford his college education, but as athletic genes run thick through their family, with hard work, he could earn a scholarship in the sport he likes most. He likes basketball.

    Kid busts tail, wins championships, gets DI scholarship.

    Then he fails off his Division I team, comes home to play at the local Division II school, wins a national championship there in unbelievable fashion.

    Today he's one of the Harlem Globetrotters' rising young stars, one of their highest-paid performers.

    Sorry for the shameless plug. I really didn't mean for that....I just started thinking then typing and well there's the result. You know how it goes with stories you like. Gotta tell them to everyone.

  3. mb

    mb Active Member

    Hasn't Bobby Hurley's old man been making that argument for years? That basketball is not a black man's game, but a poor man's game.
  4. Pancamo

    Pancamo Active Member

    So a poor kid who works 24/7 will make it over the rich kid who works 24/7 because of the economic status?
  5. mb

    mb Active Member

    I don't remember the whole argument, but I think it centers around the idea that the poor kid is more willing to work 24/7. Because he's got no fallback option.
  6. Bodie_Broadus

    Bodie_Broadus Active Member


    Because the rich kid can afford the personal trainer, the nutritionist, the one-on-one instruction with a hot shot coach, the club teams, the camps.
  7. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    I think there may be a sort of double-bell curve effect in play: while there has always been a high number of players from poor backgrounds in professional sports (basketball in particular) I think in the last 20 years or so you've seen an uptick in players from relatively-rich backgrounds, because of the personal trainer, personal coaching, etc etc.

    What may be going away are the players from the "middle class" backgrounds. They have some more options than the really poor kids, but they don't have access to the Taj Mahal training regimens of the silver-spooners.

    It's been known for a long long time that on a cost-benefit basis, spending tens of thousands of bucks on training, travel teams, transferring to private schools, holding the kid back in class for a couple years to get older, etc etc., in order to get the kid an athletic scholarship is usually a waste -- parents would usually be better off just saving the money and putting it in a college fund.
  8. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    I realize it's a great risk to make such a blanket statement, but anyone who thinks there is not a physiological element at play here is kidding themselves.
  9. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    Whatever the reason, I'm glad they finally did this one. I've been calling for it ever since the fourth or fifth version of "not enough black guys in baseball" story.

    Being as white as they come and having never been to an inner city playground, I do believe the socio-economic angle is spot on. As long as one kid has a ball, 15-20 can play all day, and you can practice with a group or by yourself. Baseball and football require expensive equipment and a minimum of two to really do anything.

    That's why the Brazilians are the kings of soccer. The poor kids many times don't even have a ball. They make one out of whatever they can find and play in the street with makeshift goals from dawn til dusk because they don't have anything else to do. Again, even by yourself, you can practice and get better.
  10. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    There's another issue, and I notice it in suburbia where I work.

    Basketball is seen as two "low-class" for suburban upper-middle-class kids. Baseball, soccer -- sports with a significant travel component where dads can pay thousands of dollars a year to get their kids on "elite" travel teams, who then demand year-round specialization, tends to be where white upper-middle-class kids go.

    In metro Indianapolis, a lot of the Indianapolis township schools -- which have comprised some of the nation's best high school teams -- are 40-50% minority, but the basketball teams are 90-100% African-American, while the soccer & baseball teams have very few nonwhite players. The upper-class suburban schools in the next ring of suburbs -- which are usually 90+% white -- are up-and-down in hoops, but tend to have the state's best baseball and soccer teams.
  11. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Brazil is not the only poor country in the world...

    The comment that made me think the most is that the NBA has moved from a league of fundamentals to a league of athleticism.

    That would explain why Brandon Jennings sat on a bench in Italy and possibly why our teams struggle in international play. I know the last Olympic Games we did great in hoops, but my Tebow was that team loaded. Even John Thompson could have coached them to a Gold.
  12. dreunc1542

    dreunc1542 Active Member

    So you're saying the US shouldn't use their best players?
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