Monday, July 13, 2009

White In The NBA

Back in the day - Michael Jordan had a shoe design that the commissioner of the NBA wanted to ban because they didn't contain enough white.
But today... the same could be said of the NBA as a whole.
DPizz points out that American audiences might be alienated by the Korean dominance in the LPGA because of cultural, language and racial differences.

So when the first white dude taken in the NBA draft is from Spain,

And even an Israeli is taken ahead of many American born whites - Is the NBA again concerned with there being enough white in the game?
Sixteen of the top one hundred players picked in this year's draft happen to be white but from a foreign country. Is the NBA trying to keep it's season ticket holders and it's marketing partners happy? Or are they just searching the world for the best players?
Really... who are the best white players in the NBA?
How many of those are from America?
Can Tyler Hansbrough hold it down on his own?


brohammas said...

I am amazed at how many people, white people, tell me they will no longer watch the NBA. When i ask why they always say some version of the it's to "thuggish" these days. They don't like all the tats, the cornrows, and the jumping into the crowd to thump ignorant fans.
They look at me crazy when I follow up by asking "so you like basketball but won't watch because of how the players look?"

Why do I ask such silly questions.

FreeMan said...

The last great white player was Larry Bird and ish if you ask him he'll even tell you the same thing. Right now the NBA is trying to say if the whites abandon the game we'll go worldwide on them and take our brand to less racist places like China where they love the NBA despite the color.

The NBA is leading the way in what the world response is to BS racism and that is leave the bigots be and move on. Most of the foreign white players are good but I bet they are doing this to get a foothold in Turkey, Spain, and Israel. Basketball is a great sport for all athletic levels. The bigoted days aka the good ole days as some may mention is when the world was restricted from really determining who was the best!

DPizz said...

Unless I missed something, the NBA is among the top 3 most successful sports organizations in the world and second only to the NFL in the US. They certainly could not achieve that level of success in the US without White folks. I've heard about the decline of Whites in the NBA fan base talked about anecdotally from time to time but never have seen anything factual and never heard anybody that would have any real knowledge about the issue ever suggest that this is the case. If anyone has any data, please point me in the right direction. I'd love to know about it.

I find the notion that Whites are abandoning the NBA curious, because, with the exception of a handful of notable White players, the NBA has been dominated by Black players for at least 15-20 years or more now. What changed recently? I'm not sure about other cities, but at Staples, celebs and White folks (and a few Arab, Middle Eastern, Persian types) have most of the good seats. But I really don't know anything factual about this issue and find Brohammas' comment about is White friends extremely interesting.

I don't think the NBA's drafting of foreign players has anything to do with attempts to appeal to its US White audience. I think it's about getting the best available talent (as you mention) and a very concerted effort to expand the business internationally.

The best non-Black players in the NBA are mostly not Americans, but again, there has been a dearth of White players for years, while the NBA has continued to reach new levels of success. Tyler Hansbrough will be solid player for several years in the league. He's on the current Whitest team in the NBA - Indiana.

To recap what I was saying on your previous LPGA Korean post, essentially, I think US sports success is as dependent on personalities and ability to relate to US audiences as it is on talent and skill of its players. To the extent that some of the Korean players, which dominate the LPGA, could not relate to, or share their personality with US audiences (due to the inability of some to speak English), the LPGA runs the risk of alienating its core audience. I really was not using the race argument although clearly that is a powerful argument that can be made, as US golf has demonstrated its attitude toward race on many occasions. Having said that, I'm not sure this holds true outside of the US. The NBA seems to be hugely popular Internationally with only a handful of notable foreign players. My assertion that the ability to relate to, communicate with the audience and develop a personality with the audience does not necessarily seem to hold up if you look at the international appeal of the NBA.

I think the NBA runs a similar risk of alienating its core US audience if they were to flood the league with foreign players that couldn't do interviews and seemed insular - though basketball is a much more expressive game then golf, and this expressiveness may suffice for relating to the audience in a non-verbal manner.