Saturday, February 19, 2011

Black Thanksgiving is upon Us: NBA All-Star Weekend

The NBA needs great white hopes, but that means Black players must pass them the ball
Editors Note: I am Number Four was exactly like we said it would be two weeks ago. An all-white cast in which white people are the heroes, American flags in virtually every scene, and not one non-white had a speaking part.American flags in virtually every scene and not one non-white had a speaking part. It was an homage to Pre-Obama America. Somebody get Michael Bay a script of Camp of the Saints.

NBA All-Star Weekend is upon us again (and one does hope it won't be a repeat of the 2007 All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas) and, finally, it has earned a worthy name - The Black Thanksgiving - that accurately nails the vibe surrounding the event:

So, you want to know about Black Thanksgiving?
That's what sports writer Mike Wilbon calls NBA All-Star Weekend.


First of all, what you need to know about Wilbon, whom I love, is that he has been known to exaggerate just a touch on occasion. But on this one, he's on point.


For those of us who cover the NBA for a living, like me and Wilbon -- now an ESPN yakker and writer, formerly a Washington Post yakker and writer, and my friend --All-Star Weekend is a long four days of work.


But for most of the people who descend into town -- this year it's Los Angeles, with its still sparkling Staples Center and the surrounding "L.A. Live" area -- it's an opportunity to go wild (sometimes a little too wild, as happened in Las Vegas a few years ago) and get together.


Other folks have Tweetups. Black people have All-Star Weekend, or ASW. It's a national holiday, sort of.


ASW is the only time of the year that people call me. I don't say that to be maudlin, 'cause most of the time, I don't want people to call me. (Dirty little secret: I don't really like talking on the phone.) But they come out of the woodwork this time of year, because NBA players are royalty in Black America, and everyone wants to be near them. The old saying is that ballers want to be rappers, and rappers want to be ballers. That's really, really true.


Basketball is a culture. It isn't for everyone, though the game is loved by people of all colors. There is a rhythm to it, just as if McCoy Tyner was dribbling a ball instead of playing piano.


"Considering that the culture of basketball in a predominantly black league like the NBA is so strongly connected to African American culture, the NBA All-Star weekend has turned into a celebration of African American culture by extension," says Todd Boyd, professor of critical studies at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.
Bill Simmons in his Big Book of Basketball called the sport a "Black game" and wrote fawningly over the athletes who have played in a sport just a hair's breadth of legitimacy above professional wrestling. The NBA has become a "Black game" with the people charged with making the rules of the game deciding to favor an individual aspect over any team aspect of the sport (The same, by the way, in the NFL, with rule changes favoring speedier receivers and tiny corners).

Our friend Richard Lapchick - who always criticizes sports for a lack of the right kind (that's the Black kind) of diversity - loves the NBA and gives it an "A" rating for diversity, though the league is 80 percent Black. He does attack, however, NCAA basketball for having Black players that earn such anemic grades compared to the white players who earn their grades and degrees.

Since the majority of NBA players lack the intelligence to last more than, at most, two semesters of college, the moniker "Black Thanksgiving" makes perfect sense. It makes perfect sense because of the utter thugnicity surrounding the NBA has reached levels that only World Star Hip-Hop can rival (the same could be said for football).

College Basketball thrives while the NBA withers because "the great white hope" has an academic advantage over Black athletes as well as rule book that dictates a more defensive game. The NBA thought that offense and slam dunks would bring viewers, though that hasn't been the case. To understand why college basketball thrives, one would be wise to consult this fantastic data that shows the political inclinations of sports fans. Conservative, right-leaning people watch college basketball, while the NBA has incredibly left-leaning fans.

Look at Duke Basketball, Jimmer Fredette, the 2010 NCAA Tournament. All the evidence you need to understand that college basketball primarily utilizes the "white game" blueprint while the NBA has decided the "thugnicity" is the way to economic success and a wonderful way to celebrate a Black Thanksgiving. The problem is, however-- at least for the NBA -- is that white fans are heading for exists and leaving in droves:

No one wants to acknowledge why the NBA is losing popularity. Buzz Bissinger on why white fans have trouble getting excited about African-American athletes.


My editor thinks I should write something about professional basketball. The timing is certainly right—the National Basketball Association’s All-Star extravaganza starts today in Los Angeles, culminating in the All-Star game on Sunday night.


The problem is, I don’t really know what to say about the NBA other than I almost never watch it anymore.


I am not a basketball junkie and I have no desire to be one. There are maybe three players I would pay to watch. The first is LeBron James of the Miami Heat, because whatever you think, and I think a lot less after his free-agency melodrama despite writing a book with him, he is the best athlete in the world today. The second is Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, and the third is Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder.


The game is in trouble and I don’t think there is much dispute about that. Attendance was down last year and is slightly down so far this season. Although basketball is supposed to be a team game, it has become more one-on-one in the NBA than a boxing match. The style has changed and it is a definite turnoff.


But a major problem with the NBA, one that is virtually never spoken about honestly, is the issue of race. I have no hard-core evidence. But based on my past experience in writing about sports, I know that whites ascribe very different characteristics to black athletes than they do white ones. I also make a habit of asking every white sports fan I know whether they watch the NBA. In virtually every instance, they say they once watched the game but no longer do. When I ask them if it has anything to do with the racial composition, they do their best to look indignant. But my guess is they felt very differently about the game when Larry Bird and John Stockton were playing.


Based on various statistics, the percentage of African-American players in the NBA has remained relatively constant over the past decade, fluctuating between 72 and 75 percent. The number of foreign-born players has increased exponentially to about 18 percent. The number of white American players, meanwhile, has decreased from 24.3 percent in the 1980-81 season to roughly 10 percent now.


The one white American player today who comes the closest to being a star is Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He is averaging 21 points a game and 15 rebounds. He is on the West roster in the All-Star Game. Do you know anyone who would pay to see Love play?


It boils down to this: Are whites losing interest in a game in which the number of white American players not only continues to dwindle, but no longer features a superstar?


Yes.


My good friend and colleague Stephen Fried, who has had season tickets to the Philadelphia 76ers for a decade and has written about the NBA, says he thinks my argument is more than simply terrible. “While racism is a part of America and American sports and always will be, I really don't think the main problem with the NBA is racial, and I think it's kind of racist and certainly reductionist to say it is,” Stephen told me.


In a piece for Parade magazine last year, he wrote that the NBA game needed to be significantly modified to regain its former popularity. In talking with NBA watchers, he came up with six solutions to improve play, including shortening the 24-second clock, increasing the number of fouls for a player before fouling out, and shortening the season.


They are good ideas. But I still believe race is a key deterrent in getting more whites reengaged and increasing interest. It has to do with racial stereotyping. Those stereotypes are wrong. They are malicious. But to act is if they do not exist is disingenuous. When I wrote the book Friday Night Lights about high-school football in Texas, I saw the racial stereotypes of some whites up close—their firm belief that white athletes admirably succeeded because of hustle and hard work and brains, and black athletes succeeded solely on the basis of pure athletic skill. In other words, white athletes virtuously worked their tails off whereas black athletes simply coasted because they can.
White racism is always the evil problem behind any problem in America, even the lack of ratings for NBA games. Larry Bird tried to make the game whiter in Indianapolis but was attacked for being, well, a racist.

There is no shelter from the accusation of white racism, though the future of America continues to look more and more like the sad ending of the film Mars Attacks where a mariachi band plays the Star Spangled Banner. When whites are the minority, white racism will still be the trusty whipping boy for all of America's problems.

If Black people can complain about the lack of Black people in baseball, is it not reasonable that white people will boycott the paucity of white basketball players by sitting on their wallets and changing the channel when ESPN highlights a league that represents a Black Thanksgiving every day?

The NBA will continue to lose popularity. It is solvent now because ESPN had decided to keep it on life support by broadcasting games and acting like people still care about a sport that lacks a great white hope.

Another theory as to why great white hopes are few and far between is courtesy of Pistol Pete Maravich. When he was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks, people thought he would revolutionize the game but his predominately Black team wouldn't pass him the ball, deciding to practice reverse racism instead. He finally snapped, saying, "I hate you. I hate all of you niggers."

Just like Peyton Hillis in the NFL, the Black players in the NBA don't want to see a white guy succeed on their turf. If you have played any level of sports against Black players (high school, college or professional) you know this to be true.

Black Run America (BRA) stigmatizes white athletes; those that excel are still just pretty good... for a white guy.

Let the NBA have their Black Thanksgiving. The NCAA Tournament is a white man's  feast, where white players who have no shot in NBA captivate the nation.

Without ESPN, the NBA would be in serious jeopardy of having to fold many franchises that aren't producing financially. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, Black people.

At Stuff Black People Don't Like, we'll just remember that one Thanksgiving where Black people decided Las Vegas was just another major metropolitan city.

That white shadow that stalks the NBA will remain forever haunting a league that slides into financial ruin thanks to a bunch of overpaid thugs. All the while, Richard Lapchick will be courtside applauding a league the diversity of which he fanatically gives his seal of approval.






25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I Am Number Four sucked. DO NOT GO SEE IT.

Anonymous said...

"I Am Number Four sucked. DO NOT GO SEE IT."

I thought if it was all white that would mean it would be a good movie.

Oh well, thank God for torrents.

-Mr X

OneSTDV said...

I talked about the All-Star events (most notably Slam Dunk contest) tonight with a friend - the only one I have who openly agrees with my racial views. Though he's not really a conservative or explicitly race-conscious.

Anyway, he discusses the dunks and players for a few minutes. Then he says:

"Man, the NBA is really black. Everything is just so black. The music, the style, the entire atmosphere is really black."

I hadn't even read this SBPDL article yet, but I basically just told him everything in it. Great minds huh...

Hirsch said...

@ SBPDL

I'm a little confused as to the context of the phrase "great white hope." I always thought it was to be used sardonically. It came into existence I think when Jack Johnson was the first black heavyweight champ of the world and they were scrambling to find a white man to reclaim the title. They sent in Jim Jeffries "The Great White Hope" and Johnson sunk his teeth into his skull. Thus, it was my understanding that a great white hope was someone in whom whites placed their faith, only to find the same betrayed. Therefore, someone like Nowitzski (sic?) or Nash can't be called hopes, because they've made good on their potential. I could be wrong, though.

I cover boxing for an online publication and I have to say there is more than a little hypocrisy to this Lapchick character. I can remember in the eighties (and even early nineties) there was a much larger contingent of blacks who were interested in boxing. Leonard and Hagler were peaking, Tyson was decimating fools with his Gene Tunney like devastation of all comers, both black and white, and Don King was not considered to be parasite nonpareil (that slot was reserved for Bob Arum). But now, with the Iron Curtain dismantled, white boys own the heavier divisions and it seems that all the spots once reserved for black sharpshooters are occupied by Filipinos and Central Americans. And black interest subsequently declined.

So what the hell is with this thought policeman pumping out this tripe?

Desiree said...

Thus, it was my understanding that a great white hope was someone in whom whites placed their faith, only to find the same betrayed. Therefore, someone like Nowitzski (sic?) or Nash can't be called hopes, because they've made good on their potential. I could be wrong, though.

Hirsch, Steve Nash cannot be called a great white hope because he is not the better than most blacks in the game. And people like to root for people who are going to consistently deliver.

He can align his body and slip in between some players to make beautiful 3- and 2-pointers but defensively he is no good. Let a Shaquille O'Neal, or someone like him, guard him and he'd be useless.

There'd really no point in him ever, ever becoming a great white hope--unless we go by your criteria--because he's just a shooter.



SBPDL, just a cursory glance at any NBA basketball game will tell you 'why' no one passes the ball to white players. I am not saying a white player can never be any good. But I am saying that they seem to be easily intimidated.

No one will want to pass the ball to them. Kobe Bryant (as I am a Lakers fan like everyone in Vegas) will pass the ball--always--to these white players and, as a fan, it puts you on pins-and-needles because you wonder if the white guy will deliver. (The Lakers is getting increasingly lighter and I am worried, to be honest.)

It isn't racial, per se, but you wonder when the confidence will sink in so their game will be good.

I get whites want to see their own on the court or on the field when it comes to football, but I think it is time to let it go.

Have your NCAA.

I remember when I was at my first university, Univ. of Nevada, Reno (a white hick town school), and it was pretty well known that the UNR basketball team was worse than the UNLV basketball team, which had more blacks.

It makes you wonder: if more black males made it into college, would your NCAA outlet be destroyed, too? I bet so.

Anonymous said...

"I am not saying a white player can never be any good. But I am saying that they seem to be easily intimidated."

You know Desiree, it's funny because whenever blacks fail to perform in white dominated situations the reason cited is always racism. The "white privilege" folks tell me that blacks, compared to whites, do shitty in school, make their own neighborhoods cesspools of drugs, violence, and general decay, can't manage to contribute anything of real use to society, etc... because white people are racists who force them into this behavior by intimidation.

But I guess when whites fail to perform (and I don't know if whites are really failing to perform in the NBA. I haven't watched it in close to 12 years) it is plain because they suck. Thank you, Desiree, for proving yourself to be a hypocrite over and over and over again.

Hirsch said...

Desiree,

I know you know how to read, but you should try some reading comprehension, as well.

"Hirsch, Steve Nash cannot be called a great white hope because he is not the better than most blacks in the game. And people like to root for people who are going to consistently deliver."

If Nash is not as good as this other players, then this is EXACTLY what would make him a hope. Think before you rush headlong into these things, just once. I know you say you come here just to spar but people usually don't get concussed and knocked out in sparring sessions (repeatedly) especially when they're wearing headgear.

Desiree, you are to this blog what a foul odor is to the sexual act. You might not stop the show, but you certainly do give the other party pause.

Desiree said...

@ Hirsch:

I know what you meant as a 'great white hope' but I thought the 'great white hope' was someone (or something) expected to achieve great success in a given field. I didn't think it was a joke term. So that is why I disagreed with you because you believe it to be used 'sarcastically' but only because most personified 'great white hopes' fail every time.

So, I guess it could make sense when you, Hirsch, are simply looking at the historical record of white failure in sports also played by blacks.

Hey, I won't pass them the ball!

But, ultimately, that doesn't change the real meaning of the word. Obviously SBPDL used it the way I am using it, smart ass, and he's the bestest, most smartest, most talented white guy in the whole world!

Hmpf!

Desiree, you are to this blog what a foul odor is to the sexual act. You might not stop the show, but you certainly do give the other party pause.

Why do you have to be mean, Hirschie? I was just correcting your usage error...

:-(

Anonymous said...

Ha-ha, Desiree's stinky! Sidenote: all this "sports" business has been way too elevated in regard to importance and in this light they are merely a huge misplacement of focus by the masses. The "colors" of it's adherents merely a distraction.

White Guy said...

"Desiree, you are to this blog what a foul odor is to the sexual act. You might not stop the show, but you certainly do give the other party pause."

Genius. Well said, sir. I am a fan of all your posts.

SBPDL, A post on Klitschko is SBPDL - if you already have one, can you please provide the link?

I love watching Klitschko pulverize blacks.

Anonymous said...

Desiree said

"Hirsch, Steve Nash cannot be called a great white hope because he is not the better than most blacks in the game. And people like to root for people who are going to consistently deliver.

He can align his body and slip in between some players to make beautiful 3- and 2-pointers but defensively he is no good. Let a Shaquille O'Neal, or someone like him, guard him and he'd be useless.

There'd really no point in him ever, ever becoming a great white hope--unless we go by your criteria--because he's just a shooter."

ROTFLMAO! Shaq on Nash? HaHa! That elephant couldn't stay in front of a snail. Just a shooter? Well, I guess, if also being second in assists means you're just a shooter than yeah it's true. Yeah his defense sucks, so does Lebron's.

Anonymous said...

"Hirsch, Steve Nash cannot be called a great white hope because he is not the better than most blacks in the game"

This is an opinion, you dumb fucking whore.

Here's a fact. He makes the All-Star team every year, whereas 95% of the players in the league do NOT make the All-Star team.

Do the math.

Then STFU.

Anonymous said...

"I'm a little confused as to the context of the phrase "great white hope.""

My understanding is the term is based solely on the "investment" of white hope, irrespective of the outcome.

Riley said...

Hirsch
Cubans were also under the iron curtain. So how come they still produced great boxers and olympians in boxing?
Most cuban boxers if not all of them were black.
American blacks dont care about boxing. Many blacks world wide are pursing other sports such as futbol.

Desiree said...

@ White Guy:

Genius. Well said, sir. I am a fan of all your posts.

Yes, Hirschie was 'clever', and he's probably patting himself on the back for it, not to mention grinning from ear-to-ear that you all liked it, too. But he likes stinky things so I wouldn't congratulate him so quickly.

I love watching Klitschko pulverize blacks.

I don't know anything about boxing, White Guy, but if you had a time machine and a few extra hours on the weekend, by that statement, I wouldn't be surprised to see you assisting Dr. Mengele at Auschwitz.

'Pulverize'? Ooh wee, this guy is far-gone! Boxing is just a game, not an allegory for a black-vs.-white cosmic battle. If you see it like that, White Guy, you really need to get out of your bunker and take in some fresh air. No more 'March of the Titans' for you. Really. I'm serious. That is no more an accurate history of the so-called white race than Harry Potter is an accurate depiction of the British school system.



ROTFLMAO! Shaq on Nash? HaHa! That elephant couldn't stay in front of a snail. Just a shooter? Well, I guess, if also being second in assists means you're just a shooter than yeah it's true.

Yeah, baby, it's true; he's just a shooter. The point of putting a Shaq on Steve Nash would be to illustrate the typical problem most people with eyes and a working brain can understand: white players are easily intimidated.

I love the Lakers but I worry that the de-black-ing of the team is going to be its downfall, unless these white players can grab their nuts, get some swag, and grow a spine. Kobe cannot hold the team up forever. Oh, he was so pissed last year!

I cannot change the line up on the Lakers, so I only want the best for these white guys. If they suck, I will not be able to enjoy the playoffs.

But, just like a little old white lady gotta hold her purse when a black man joins her in the elevator, I get scared when someone passes the ball to whitey.

I cain't help it; whitey tend to suck at B-ball!

Stereotypes are a bitch, huh?



This is an opinion, you dumb fucking whore.

Here's a fact. He makes the All-Star team every year, whereas 95% of the players in the league do NOT make the All-Star team.


Here's the thing: white people love basketball; they love all sports. The other truism is that most white players in the NBA are not that good. There will always be a black player better than the best white one (ie. Lebron, Kobe).

Steve Nash is put on because he's one of the better ones and white people enjoy--as White Guy colorfully and grotesquely illustrated--watching their own.

He is not special, but he is in terms of the white players. It's like grading on a curve. I mean, is it saying much when you are the 'smartest' kid on the short yellow bus? Not really.

Riley said...

To White Guy ;

Didn't an old, overweight and out of shape lennox lewis destroy vitali Klditschko's face despite the fact that vitali was younger and more prepared? Vitali is often considered the better brother.

Hirsch said...

@ Riley

What you know about boxing could be written on the back of an eight ounce glove.

@ White Guy:

Enjoy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vdd5yWLYL1U

It starts getting good a couple of minutes into the video.

Hirsch said...

"Boxing is just a game, not an allegory for a black-vs.-white cosmic battle."

You might want to read up on Schmeling vs Louis, and then re-read your comment. Then, in the inimitable words of R. Lee Ermy, "Choke yourself."

How they managed to fit such a small brain into such a big head is best left pondered by fans of The Modern Prometheus.

~AV~ said...

Praise the Lord...for Nascar and Ice hockey!!! LMAO

Anonymous said...

"Here's the thing: white people love basketball"

Here's the thing. I'm white and I hate basketball, you dumb fucking whore.

"The other truism is that most white players in the NBA are not that good."

This is an opinion with no factual basis, you dumb fucking whore.

"Steve Nash is put on because he's one of the better white ones"

This is an opinion with no factual basis, you dumb fucking whore.

Here are facts, which you could have looked up yourself, if you weren't such a lazy, racist piece of shit.

http://www.nba.com/allstar2010/players/steve_nash.html

You're like a fucking broken record.

Blame-whitey-blame-whitey-blame-whitey...same old tiresome negro song and dance.

Anonymous said...

"Cubans were also under the iron curtain. So how come they still produced great boxers and olympians in boxing?"

You missed his point.

Russian boxers who once were limited to amateur competition are now fighting professionally, and are largely successful.

Anonymous said...

NBA is a joke... These guys get schooled when they send their "best" to the world championships, because the world plays team basketball, the NBA plays showtime jungle-ball.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, baby, it's true; he's just a shooter. The point of putting a Shaq on Steve Nash would be to illustrate the typical problem most people with eyes and a working brain can understand: white players are easily intimidated.

I love the Lakers but I worry that the de-black-ing of the team is going to be its downfall, unless these white players can grab their nuts, get some swag, and grow a spine. Kobe cannot hold the team up forever. Oh, he was so pissed last year!

I cannot change the line up on the Lakers, so I only want the best for these white guys. If they suck, I will not be able to enjoy the playoffs.

But, just like a little old white lady gotta hold her purse when a black man joins her in the elevator, I get scared when someone passes the ball to whitey.

I cain't help it; whitey tend to suck at B-ball!

Stereotypes are a bitch, huh?"

White players may be easily intimidated, but your point was that Shaq or another large black man would shut down Nash, not that whites are easily intimidated. It's really not that hard to be logically consistent. You should try it. Don't know if you noticed, but almost all NBA players are black, and bigger than Nash. But, the old man is still putting up top notch numbers in scoring, shooting and assists. The reasonable conclusion is that a)they're all pussies or b)they're all stupid. You know, since it's so easy to scare and stop him. According to you. The one who thinks Nash would wet himself playing against larger black men, the exact group of people he has been playing against for the last twenty or so years.

Marc B said...

The NBA All-Star game buzz was particularly nauseating this year. The promos and sportscasters acted as if they could over-hype it into relevance. ESPN jock-sniffers are a particularly pathetic bunch, spending most of their airtime glorifying black athletes, which only emphasizes their dorkiness.

Anonymous said...

i don't watch basket ball too many niggers.