June 12, 2011

Where are the white American NBA stars?

With Dirk Nowitzki of Germany winning the NBA Finals MVP award tonight, my new VDARE article asks in timely fashion:
So that raises other questions almost never discussed in public: What happened to the NBA’s white American stars? Why are there so many more foreign white stars? Does this disparate impact amount to evidence of discrimination against whites in American basketball before they can reach the professional level? 
We can quantify the shortfall of white American players relative to white foreigners by looking at the list of the 50 best active players in terms of cumulative career achievement as measured by Win Shares on Basketball-Reference.com. 
There are nine white players out of the top 50, eight of whom grew up abroad: #3 is Nowitzki, #8 Steve Nash, #14 Pau Gasol, #22 Peja Stojakovic, #25 Manu Ginobili, #36 Andrei Kirilenko, #37 Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and #47 Hedo Turkoglu. 
Only one American white is in the top 50:  #28, Brad Miller, a 35-year-old center.  He’s the last white American to play in two NBA All Star games, back in 2003 and 2004. Like Larry Bird, Miller grew up in a small town in Indiana.
Why are there so few white American players? 

Read the whole thing there.

A few comments on the NBA Finals:

With 30 teams in the league, it's hard for any one player to win a championship. The random odds of winning are 1/30th for each year of your career and nobody's career lasts 30 years.

Obviously, a star is supposed to make it a lot likelier for his team to win, but how much likelier? Jason Kidd just won his first title after 17 years as a starter. He's second all time on the assists list behind John Stockton and third all time on the steals list behind Stockton and Michael Jordan. He's really good. Nowitzki just won his first title after 13 years in the league. He's really good, too.

So, the Kidd/Nowitzki average so far in their impressive careers is one title every fifteen years, or that a Hall of Famer will double the odds per year of a team winning the title over an average player.

This is an extremely small sample size, but it sounds kind of right. At hitting a baseball, Babe Ruth was 2.06 times as good as the average player over his entire career, Ted Williams 1.90 times, and Barry Bonds 1.81. In other words, it's really, really hard in baseball to be twice as good as the average player: only Babe Ruth has done it. Does being twice as good equate to twice as likely to win it all? Eh, now that I think about it, probably not. But I don't know whether it's more or less likely. Ruth didn't win a ton of World Series until he got a sidekick named Lou Gehrig, who was the 4th best hitter ever. Williams/Bonds only made it to two WS and didn't win either.

In basketball, I haven't found a statistic that quite matches up to OPS+ in baseball. I suspect it's easier in the NBA to be twice as good as the average as in the MLB, but it's still really hard. Team sizes are smaller in basketball than in baseball: 5 versus 9, and players go head to head sometimes as in Hakeem Olajuwon v. David Robinson and Patrick Ewing in the mid-90s Finals. The dominant player usually winds up the Finals MVP. Michael Jordan, for example, went to six Finals, won six, and won six Finals MVP awards.

So, the Finals MVP award is a big deal. The only guy who ever won it on a losing team was Jerry West of the Lakers in 1969 versus Bill Russell's last Celtics team.

But West's career shows how unusually great MJ was. West went to, I believe, ten Finals, and the Lakers won one (1972). He was 0-7 versus the mighty Boston Celtics and 1-2 v. a wonderfully balanced New York Knicks.

Yet, West was extremely good. He scored huge numbers of points, dished out lots of assists, and stole the ball frequently. He even regularly blocked shots from behind -- a memorable skill because the stripped shooter would continue with his jump shot routine as in a pantomime as a shocked look spread over his face as he realized that West was heading for a layup at the other end. He was smart -- as GM of the Lakers he landed Shaq and a 17-year-old Kobe in the same offseason. And West was intensely competitive,  a ferociously driven bastard, like Jordan. His admirers are happy and a bit surprised that he's lived into his 70s without self-combusting.

Yet, he won a grand title of one championship in 14 years, most of those years with Elgin Baylor on his team, some of those years with Wilt Chamberlain, a few of those years with Elgin and Wilt. Ironically, the year he won, 1972, he was terrible in the Finals. The Lakers were carried by Chamberlain. West was furious at himself.

So, I'm not terribly shocked that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh only managed to lose a quite close Finals in their first year together. West, Baylor, and Chamberlain couldn't win in two years together. West finally won when the knee surgery-slowed Baylor retired in the fall of 1971, letting the Lakers turn into a running team.

So, I'm not hugely surprised that in their first year together, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh merely lost a very close Finals, winding up only the 2nd best out of 30 teams.

LeBron has been famous for so long that a lot of people are kind of sick of him by now, but by the standards of NBA stars he seems like an okay guy. These days, everybody loves old dead guys with gaudy statistics but not many rings, like Wilt and Ted Williams. Maybe LeBron doesn't match up to Michael Jordan as a ruthless winner, but he's a lot more of a team player than Wilt or Ted.


Anonymous said...

Low return on investment. Not just in terms of making it to the NBA, but on lower levels of return, like getting into college to simply getting playing time.

Anonymous said...

Blacks mature at a much younger age than whites - probably at least two years younger [so that e.g. a 13 y.o. white boy would have the pubic hair of an 11 y.o black boy].

Because American white boys are expected to play sports against American black boys, and because they are facing at least a two year disadvantage throughout puberty, the white boys quickly become discouraged and call it quits.

On the other hand, European whites [or American whites, from Ozzie -n- Harriet utopias, like Mormon Utah] don't have to face the same discouragement, and so continue playing until their bodies eventually catch up with the bodies of their black competitors [maybe circa white male age 23 -vs- black male age 20, or thereabouts].

Anonymous said...

It’s perhaps worth mentioning that Miller went to high school in nearly all-white Maine.

Bingo: An Ozzie -n- Harriet utopia.

Whiskey said...

Its more than just a maturity thing. The NBA is not about winning, team play, or anything like that. Its about a WWE style, pro-Wrestling performance. Rants, moves, athleticism and above all, dunks. The NBA is all about dunks. Traveling is no longer called, so the best players who move the fastest, the most explosively, and the highest, can dunk the ball definitively on opponents, and humiliate them.

That is why LeBron James, who has won exactly zero titles, is a star. And Dirk Nowizcki who has one, is not.

White guys can't jump. They can't dunk (not the way Black guys can) even if they mature. Jimmer Fredette cannot hang off the basket after a monster dunk like LeBron.

Winning does not matter. Shoe contracts, magazine covers, your own special primetime hour on where you'll play basketball next season, that goes to whoever is the most exciting dunk performer.

By contrast the NFL has about $4 billion per year combined TV revenue, compared to the NBA's $1 billion. The NBA is happy with that. They don't want to grow -- they'd rather be a nearly all Black league with WWE style entertainment.

Whiskey said...

Of course, the coming lockout, desire of clubs to move (Sacramento Kings being the most obvious but not the only one) and the poor nature of lower tier market clubs can bring a big change.

David Stern bet big on China, and all he got was ... pirated NBA stuff which gets the league nothing. Basketball like Football is an American sport that does not travel overseas. Revenue growth can come at the expense of players, up to a point, but the idea of the NBA (Mexicans will love our Black players, at least they're not White) has not panned out so far. Lakers riots when they win championships notwithstanding.

Fred said...


You left out one reason why Dirk has low name recognition -- he doesn't seek out sponsorships.

Steve Sailer said...

Okay, now I've finally looked it up: Brad Miller went to a 94% white high school in Indiana for 3 years, then spent his senior year at a boarding school in Maine that appears to be kind of a front for NBA bound players.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that two of the more prominent American white players in today's NBA -- Miami's Mike Miller and Chicago's Kyle Korver -- are both from my general neck of the woods, South Dakota and Iowa, respectively, where they attended smaller high schools where the competition would have included few if any players on the AAU/NBA track.

The same goes for Nick Collison of the OKC Thunder, BTW.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and of course Kirk Hinrich, who used to start for the Bulls but is now a journeyman with the Hawks, is another Iowa boy, although he did attend one of the state's larger high schools.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. For what it's worth I think the biggest bitching is Steve Nash's back to back MVPs. That is probably the single biggest gripe people have about the overpromotion of white guys. But then again some black players, especially ones who played with Nash, say he was more than deserving and should have gotten a 3rd MVP.

There are some good young white players coming up now, but no clear superstars. Jimmer could be that but he is too slow and short. Gordon Hayward is on the Jazz now (was at Butler last year) and look pretty good as a rookie. Byron Mullens from OKC is super young but in a few years who knows, he might develop into a big star. Tyler Hansbrough at Indiana is another. The one overhyped guy that really, really flopped recently is Adam Morrison who came out of Gonzaga supposedly as the next great white NBA player, was drafted 3rd, and totally completely stunk.

Anonymous said...


The Taj Mahal School.


Yan Shen said...

Well since Steve notes that basketball seems to be more popular in Southern Europe and Eastern Europe as opposed to Northern Europe, perhaps he should contemplate an HBD angle to his own question. Most Americans are of Northern European descent.

Now given the fact that Southern and Eastern European basketball teams vastly excel relative to Northern European ones, I wouldn't be surprised if there were subtle differences in ability amongst the three groups. I also find it interesting that countries in South America like Argentina field fairly competitive teams. The whites from Argentina of course would be of Southern European extraction.

In fact Nowitzki is an exception. Most of the foreign white all stars of late have primarily been Eastern and Southern Europeans.

Anonymous said...

Interesting column Steve but completely wrong. 25 years ago 80 percent of the best NBA players were black, today 80 percent of the best are still black. All that's changed are where the whites were born.

Most of the best white players of the last 30 years have 2 characteristics (1) they can shoot the lights out and (2) they can keep up with their black opponents either by being just as fast or by being a couple inches taller than that position.

You have white "genetic freaks" from all the world competing for the 20% white slots. Another factor is that normal size HS white guards 6' to 6' 4" know their chances getting into the NBA are about zero, so they don't even try anymore. Its not discrimination, its reality.

At the same time, there are now plenty of "Scrappy" black guards and Black forwards/guards who can shoot the 3-Pointer, pass and run an offense. The days of the John Paxson and Danny Ainge are long gone.

agnostic said...

We should also look at what sets apart the foreigners who make it vs. those who don't.

The first thing that pops out is that they are generally from hilly and mountainous parts of Europe, or their ancestors are from there (like Steve Nash's Welsh mother).

Those tend to be areas where pastoralists got pushed into once farmers took over (not worth turning a mountain into farmland, but you can herd livestock up there).

I don't know enough foreign black NBA players to say whether this holds in Africa as well. Olajuwon and Mtumbo are from horticulturalist groups, but Manute Bol was an East African highlands pastoralist -- literally.

So perhaps American whites are becoming less like hill/mountain-dwelling people? Maybe it's population density, elevation, characters selected for in pastoralism, or who knows what else. More young Americans grow up in lower-elevation and urbanized areas.

(I know that black Americans come from low-elevation cities, but that's because that's where all of them live.)

Anonymous said...

Dirk could be one of those Justin Timberlake/Jon B white guys. He has dated black women and currently has a black fiancee. So I am not sure about Dirk.

Stuff Black People Don't Like said...

Because playing AAU basketball and getting noticed by big name head coaches is not something many white players want to do.

The best white athletes play baseball, because their parents have to pay for expensive traveling teams.

It's just a bunch of white people ( I played both travel baseball and AAU basketball) in baseball, because Black players can't pay for it.

Conversely, Nike, Addidas and other big-time corporations sponsor AAU teams and events where Black players get a chance to show their skills for free.

White guys don't like being around a bunch of inner-city kids.

That's why Steve.

The best white athletes play baseball, which their parents pay for.

The best Black athletes play basketball, which Nike, Addidas, Under Armor and other companies pay for.

Fenris said...

I think to start with african americans have an inherent advantage in running and jumping relative to whites asians or hispanics.

This advantage is not sufficient to explain the discrepancy from my view and I think the more integrated NFL, NBA, and Track and field of the 70's and 80's backs up the idea that there are more fast athletic whites out there then currently represented.

I think three things explain this.

1. Early maturation rate, creating selection biases as explained by Steve.
2. Racism whites in this country are taught not to be racist this paradigm is far less enforced in the black community sports are seen as a possesion held by the black community and the white kid who wants to break in will to deal with allot of bullying and prejudice. As former B-ball player I experienced this first hand.
3. The explosion of alternative sports. In the past an athletic kid who wanted to pursue sports had a fairly limited selection. Now there are opportunities in snow boarding, surfing, mt. biking, motor cross, BMX, in-line, skateboarding, MMA etc. Most of these sports involve more intial investment in equipment or insturction then traditional team sports and so provide an easy means for white kids to avoid less wealthy NAMs.
4. The media celebration of black athletes. Our multicultural diversity enamored society is desperate for positive Black role models, sports provides this, seeing the constant promotion of black athletes in traditional sports white kids choose sports were the stars look more like them.

Thursday said...

But the Dutch, like most Northern Europeans other than Lithuanians, aren’t that interested in basketball.

They prefer volleyball and actually have professional volleyball leagues.

Anonymous said...

I go with occam's razor. NBA is black dominated cuz blacks are simply better at sports: faster, stronger, and slickity-slackier. And football would be equally black-dominated if not for the quarterback position, kicker position, and offensive line where big strong white guys don't have to be particularly athletically giftedon. But notice the domination of blacks in positions requiring extreme athletic ability: running back, receivers, defensive linemen who need something more than size and strength: explosive power and the ability to hustle. In some ways, black domination of those positions is even more total than in basketball.

If there were positions in basketball akin to the quarterback or kicker position in football, there would be more whites in the game. But in fact, every position in basketball pretty much requires the same set of skills. Okay,the tall guy is more for rebound while the smaller guy is more about speed and passing, but there is less of a differential among basketball players than between a defensive lineman and a kicker in football. Basketball is a less specialized sport where very player has to be fast, very good with coordination, and able to jump. Blacks have those qualities in greater abundance than whites. And even though Dirk the white guy lead Mavericks to victory, I'm guessing most of his teammates are black. We say 'he led the team', but maybe it's more accurate to say he was protected and supported by the team, which was mostly black. Mavericks might have won withour Dirk but a very good black guy, but Dirk could not have won if his teammates were all white.

There may be some bullying of whites in basketball, but I don't think that's the main reason for lack of white American success in the sport. After all, there was far more bullying, hostility, and nastiiness toward black players in all sports--by teammates and fans alike--in the past, yet, blacks just got more and more dominant. And which athlete was more jeered and insulted than Jack Johnson and called all kinds of names? Yet he beat everyone and then some.

Despite the hostilitis and challenges, black athletes in the past knew they had talent and even superior skills than whites, and so they pursued their dreams to the end. Same with black musicans. Ray Charles and other black musicians weren't allowed to enter through the front door in some of the places they played, but they still played loud and hard.
And Jews were bullied, discriminated against, and harassed in high schools and colleges in the past, but they moved up ranks of academia just the same. Real quality, even in a system of semi-freedom, has a way of moving to the top.

White kids may develop more slowly than blacks, but I don't see this as a main factor either. After all, Asians develop faster than whites too, but whites outperform Asians in sports. The real issue is that even a fully developed white athlete is generally slower, weaker, and less coordinated than a black athlete. And I would wager that blacks would dominate NBA and NFL even if whites biologically developed a little faster than blacks. After all, in many cases, even less developed black guys are often more athletic than a fully developed white guys. A lot of black guys considerably shorter than whites can jump higher and dunk the ball. Larry Bird was a tallish guy, but he couldn't dunk the ball. And lots of smaller black boxers defeated bigger white guys. Sugar Ray Leonard against Donnie Lalonde, Roy Jones against John Ruiz.

Anonymous said...

Also, even though many blacks think of basketball as their sport, team psychology works differently. When there's a white guy on their team, there's often great team loyalty and bonding. When Bill Laimbeer got into a fight with a black guy of another team, the Piston guys, though all black, sided with Laimbeer. Even white fans who don't like blacks will cheer for the black guy on their team to beat the other team. I'm no fan of blacks, but I used to watch some baseball long ago, and I was hoping for the black guy on my hometeam to knock it out of the ballpark.
Teams play to win, and if a white guy is really good, blacks are not gonna sabotage his playing just to 'get the whitey'. They're gonna bond with him to whup the ass of the other team, even if it's all black. (In fact, there's often little love lost among various black teams.) Same thing in war. There were lots of racial tensions in the Vietnam War, but during firefights against Charlie, there was no white or black. When bullets flew, they knew they had to be there for one another. A tribal psychology clicks into place in team psychology.

Also, there are tons of star white basketball players in suburban schools all across America. But moving up to the next level--college--it becomes clear that the cream of the crop tends to be black. Even so, there are lots of white players on the college level, indeed even on teams whose starters are mostly black. But white guys tend to be benchwarmers. Coaches go with the best, and they prefer black speed and strength over white slowness. So, a lot of white college players are essentially kept around for practice sessions.

Now, as to why most of the top white players in the NBA are foreign-white, it could be due to the fact that there aren't a lot of high-paying sports positions in nations outside the US. Soccer is big in Europe but what else? Maybe rugby in a few nations. So, there could be more excess white athletic talent with nothing to do.

US, on the other hand, has a much bigger sports culture. If you're a white guy who feels discouraged about basketball, you can go into football, baseball, minor league baseball, pro wrestling, small league football or whatever it's called, etc. So, excess white athletic talent is absorbed into a whole bunch of other lucrative sports. But since soccer is the only truly BIG thing in Europe, it means there's more white athletic talent with nothing to do.

Now, why would they be more interested in basketball than baseball or football? Basketball is just more international. It is an Olympic sport and more accessible. Baseball and football are more American, with their intricate rules and cultural tradition.

Let's! said...

The "bullying" theory is very persuasive - the same thing has happened in pop music. Be Black or Slink Away.

When the rock era gave way to the hip-hop era in 1991, the playing field tilted for good.

The top five Billboard Hot 100 acts of the 1990s that comprised white males were Michael Bolton, Elton John, Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Aerosmith - all 70s or 80s retreads.

Now, unless you have a Justin Timberlake / Enema Man ghetto pass, white males can forget about having anything beyond a fluke hit or two in the U.S.

In Europe, on the other hand, you can add some blue-eyed tunefulness and class to R&B without anyone accusing you of being Pat Boone.

Anonymous said...

Hedo Turkoglu is not white.

bjdubdds said...

Does any white NBA player have a more improbable upbringing than Steve Kerr? His father was an academic Arabist, and Steve spent most of his youth in Beirut, Paris, and Cairo, with five years in California (according to a bio of his father, who was shot in Beirut when SK was playing at Arizona). I went to the same school as SK in Cairo and I don't remember there even being a basketball gym on the school campus.

Steve Sailer said...

I was at UCLA when Kerr's father Malcolm resigned as UCLA Vice-Chancellor (a quite nice job) to head the American University of Beirut during the civil war. His family of New England Arabists had been associated with AUB for generations.

He was assassinated while his son was playing college basketball.

Steve Sailer said...

Kerr is the all time most accurate 3-point shooter in the NBA, so I bet, growing up, he had a 10 foot basket and nobody to play against.

Barack Mugabe said...

a 13 y.o. white boy would have the pubic hair of an 11 y.o black boy

WTF? This is the funniest comment I've read here yet - the mental image you inadvertently conjured up is beyond bizarre.

When I stop laughing, I think I'm going to be sick.

flavia said...

My thinking is also along the lines of many commenters.

1) Basketball is seen as a black dominated sport in America
2) Whites do not have a chance to hone their skills in school, as blacks with better natural ability, as chosen for the team
3) Stigma that "whites are bad at basketball"
4) Public courts hogged by blacks

The reality is that Europe has less blacks so they have no choice to but train whites, which leads to a few European superstars.

Anonymous said...

There are no Americans (white or black) in tennis top 10 any longer either. Americans used to dominate. Either American kids are forsaking athletics and/or the rest of the world has caught up.

Anonymous said...

"There are some good young white players coming up now, but no clear superstars. Jimmer could be that but he is too slow and short."

Jimmer doesn't have the greatest hops in the world, but at the pre draft combine, he had a better 3/4 court sprint and lane agility times than Deron Williams and Chris Paul. Speed isn't an issue with him.

Gabe Ruth said...

I think your characterization of the NYT article was a little disingenuous. The line you quoted was ridiculous, but not representative. I thought the money quote was from Nellie: "He said he would pick Sarunas Marciulionis, the retired Lithuanian guard, 'in a fight against anyone in the history of the league.'” Two things about last night's game that jumped out at me: Dirk heading straight to the locker room instead of hugging, crying , chest thumping. Loved it. What a mensch. A part of me thought it looked a little aloof, but he seems like a very good team mate in general and I have nothing but love for guys averse to public displays of emotion.
The other thing was the "We have always been at war with Oceana" quality of the broadcasters' remarks regarding Dirk and the Mav's as the Heat melted down in the closing minutes. Then Mark Jackson (I think) said something about Dirk being in the top 20 of all time... wow. This over-hyping of white players could become a real threat.

With regards to white NBAers, I think it's much easier to find a extremely athletic black players to neutralize skill advantages of less athletic white players and improve the skills of the athletes than vice versa. I am allergic to white nationalist talk in general, but this BS about discrimination against white players is laughable. Also, I've played pick up in a lot of places, and if you can't hack it, being the wrong color might make it a little tougher, but that's life. It would pass for "discrimination" if the rolls were reversed, but I see no good reason to adopt the other sides pathologies. Suck it up.

Anonymous said...

"But since soccer is the only truly BIG thing in Europe, it means there's more white athletic talent with nothing to do."

This is a typically ignorant American comment; as an American I hear this comment all the time and it irritates me. The European sports scene is not a mono-culture as you like to think; yes soccer football is the big sport in Europe but there is, in fact, much more variety and diversity of sports in Europe than there is in the USA, because the population of Europe is more varied and has a much more complex historical development in sports than the USA has. The fact that this is invisible to you, thanks to US sports media, is irrelevant.

There's professional hockey ("field" hockey) in the Netherlands, for crying out loud. Most Americans don't know that field hockey is a men's sport, historically (it was introduced as a women's game in the USA, just as in reverse, lacrosse was introduced into Europe as a women's game). Field hockey is hugely popular in Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, and just about everywhere. Sure, it doesn't make the big bucks in most countries, but people play it and watch it and it isn't some obscure sport that nobody knows anything about like it is in the USA.

Bandy (field hockey on ice - bandy is ice hockey's older brother) is big in Scandinavia and Russia. Ice hockey of course is popular and easily rivals soccer in Scandinavia and Russia. Northern Europe also boasts native sports like handball ("team" handball) and floorball (innebandy) that are extremely popular in some countries, as well as netball and korfball.

One of the reasons why basketball hasn't made much progress in Northern European countries like Germany, France, the Scandinavian countries, etc. is because handball was invented locally and spreading its popularity in Northern Europe long before basketball had a chance to spread. Basketball is probably more popular in Southern Europe because that region was slower to develop its sporting culture, and didn't invent its own sports, and so basketball didn't suffer from a late start there like it did in Northern Europe.

Besides the natively-invented sports of Northern Europe such as handball and floorball, the English invented sports like cricket, association "soccer" football, and both union and league codes of rugby, and "field" hockey all have pockets of popularity all over Europe. Rugby, not soccer, is the more popular sport in Wales and in parts of England and Scotland and Ireland and France and, yes, even in some parts of Italy. Whereas in football, the USA is a monoculture, in Europe (and also Australia) multiple football codes co-exist; yes soccer dominates Europe but it is still possible to go into towns and cities all over Western Europe where rugby is more popular than soccer.

You can go into any region in Europe and find that the sporting landscape changes in its variety which is simply inconceivable in the USA: some regions are hugely into water polo, for instance. You'll get TV ratings in the millions in Germany for important water polo championships - and it's not, as far as I know, a professional sport. They play cricket in places you would never imagine, and baseball too, all over Europe. There's a huge variety of sports played, and watched, in Europe, and just because it isn't on American TV and the players don't make huge salaries, does not mean it isn't culturally important. Europeans don't have our bogus system of pseudo-amateur college sports; but they do take actual amateur sports far more seriously than we do.

Take any country in Europe - and, once you go beyond the shallow surface of what you think you know about its sports culture - ie, soccer BIG everything else minor - you'll find that there's a huge variety of sport taken vary seriously there, most of which you have never heard of and know nothing about.

SF said...


29.9% of mens' NCAA basketball players are white. The best do get a chance to showcase their talent.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like racism to me. At least that's what blacks say in reverse in any field they are unrepresented.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Nowitzki not being more famous, at least part of that seems to be by his own choice.

USA Today and several other papers have a story today that says he has not agent. He negotiates his own contracts and does not seem particularly interested in endorsement deals beyond his deal with Nike.

i am the walrus said...

I thought you might appreciate this article.

"It’s a victory for the data-driven approach that Dallas' coaching staff has taken, starting with Carlisle -- unquestionably the most cerebral and stat-friendly of the league’s 30 head coaches -- and down to director of basketball analytics Roland Beech, the 82games.com founder who joined the Mavs on the bench last season and earned the unofficial title of “first stat geek with a championship ring” with such access to the coaching staff."

Anonymous said...

"US, on the other hand, has a much bigger sports culture."

This is simply wrong.

As pointed out in my previous post, there's a huge variety of sports in Europe, greater than that found in the USA, IMO. The USA is a monoculture in comparison; minor sports really are supported in Europe in ways unimaginable in the USA, and you can travel from one town to the next in Europe and find a completely different sports scene, which is not the case in the USA. The USA is the same damned sports scene no matter where you go; just like you see the same franchise chain fast food restaurants everywhere, you see the same "choice" in sports everywhere, with only very minor variations in emphasis.

If a white guy in Europe doesn't want to play soccer, he has a huge number of other choices. That's true whether he wants to just play for fun, or make money. Professional sports he can play in Europe include (but are not limited to): soccer, rugby union, rugby league, cricket, team handball, floorball, basketball, volleyball, field hockey, ice hockey, water polo (I checked; yes there is professional water polo), squash, tennis, badminton, cycling, boxing, and all of the modern "extreme" sports or X games, plus darts, snooker, motor sports, and so on. I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting a few.

The USA only has a "bigger" sports culture in the sense of "bigger hype", ie, "bigger" because of the dominance of American media. Our sports scene looks bigger, because we are looking at it through the lens of the American media. And because, our big four sports leagues are cartels, forcing fans to support a very limited number of teams (ie about 30-32 per league currently) whereas in soccer and most other European sports there are hundreds, if not thousands, of teams involved in a pyramid of promotion/relegation, so you don't get the cartel effect where one team has an entire city or region to itself. As a result, loyalties are more intensely local. This makes the American sports scene look "bigger" but that is an entirely superficial observation.

Anonymous said...

When the rules for both college bb (the time clock--recall UCLA's 4-corners stall) and for the pros (the rules clearly favor the guy with the ball, not the guy defending him) were changed, it benefitted the black player, who is faster and can jump higher.

Anonymous said...

Wow--I just read that Dirk N has no agent, that he negotiates his own contracts with a bit of help from someone back home in Germany, that he doesn't seek endorsements.

Anonymous said...

1. Lacrosse

My statistically not significant survey in Silicon Valley suggests that many traditional sports are seeing a drop in participation due to the popularity of lacrosse.

Lacrosse is a great hybrid for suburban kids from parents with higher class aspirations (Ivy League sport; contact, but few helmet-to-helmet collisions; size is not as significant an issue in overall success).

Additionally, growth in college sports programs mean more admissions slots for recruited athletes. Wealthy parents aren't looking for scholarships, but they are looking for a non-academic "hook" that gets their kid admitted to college.

Ultimately, lacrosse is an outgrowth, I believe, of the fact that wealthier (i.e., white) parents assume their kid can't compete with black athletes for basketball and football scholarships (admittedly anecdotal info, but from a demographic with stratospheric numbers). Parental self-selection of the kid's athletic future happens earlier and earlier these days.

Side note: add water polo to the mix, too.

Anonymous said...

Hedo Turkoglu is White.

Geoff said...

grand total, not title.

Truth said...

" And Dirk Nowizcki who has one, is not."

And "Nowizki" has had a title for how many hours now?

josh said...

Re Steve Sailer: "Steve Kerr...all time 3 point shooter/grew up with a ten ft basket and no one to play against..." Hmmm...could a similar childhood of loneliness perhaps explain Anthony Weiner?

bjdubds said...

"There are no Americans (white or black) in tennis top 10 any longer either. Americans used to dominate. Either American kids are forsaking athletics and/or the rest of the world has caught up."

As of this morning, there are two Americans in the ATP top 10, Mardy Fish (9) and Andy Roddick (10), both white.


Anonymous said...

I don't have the actual stats to back this up, but it does seem like white Americans are being replaced in the NBA by white Europeans while black Americans in MLB are being replaced by black Latins.

Jack said...

The growth of lacrosse will be a factor more going forward. Lacrosse is pretty much completely populated by upper class preppy whites in the Northeast though this is changing rapidly. Not sure how things will change in the future but it's a sport that requires some expensive equipment and will probably continue to be most popular in suburbs.

White preppies will probably do what they can to keep blacks out of lacrosse. But if lacrosse ever gets to Indiana, white bball may say goodbye.

James Kabala said...

I suspect LeBron James will win a title eventually. At the very least, it's certainly too soon to write off his chances. I'm just barely old enough to remember when Michael Jordan himself was the flashy superstar who had yet to win the title - when he finally did win he was almost two years older than James is today.

James's lack of a college career makes him seem older than he actually is - he has played four (or at least three) more seasons than an NBA player of his age would have had under his belt twenty years ago.

James Kabala said...

P.S. The role of European players in basketball is similar to that of Latins (mostly black except for a few Venezuelans) in baseball. The percentage of the majority race for each sport stayed about the same; the foreigners pushed out the native-born Americans of their own race.

James Kabala said...

Anonymous, you beat me.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, you beat me."

This is like saying at a Dead concert, 'hey, you in the tie-die'.

James Kabala said...

I thought it was clear I was referring to the anonymous a few spots ahead of me (and not visible when I wrote my comment) who said the same thing (comparing Latins in baseball and Europeans in basketball) that I did. Sorry.

Red Fox said...

"The growth of lacrosse will be a factor more going forward. Lacrosse is pretty much completely populated by upper class preppy whites in the Northeast though this is changing rapidly. Not sure how things will change in the future but it's a sport that requires some expensive equipment and will probably continue to be most popular in suburbs.

White preppies will probably do what they can to keep blacks out of lacrosse. But if lacrosse ever gets to Indiana, white bball may say goodbye."

I was one of those suburban prep school white kids who pioneered lacrosse here in Ohio back in the mid to late 1990s. While not yet a major sport, it amazes me how many kids are playing lacrosse these days. The sport is no longer fringe. Yet it is not just lacrosse that is more popular, soccer continues to grow and now there are numerous high schools with boys volleyball. My alma mater now offers rugby and ice hockey as well. There are just more offerings out there giving each person a chance to find their own sport.

I bicycle around Columbus frequently and am amazed at all the rusted out driveway hoops, the relics of the Jordan era when every kid wanted their own basket. I still see plenty of black kids playing b-ball, but the only whites I typically see are my age, 28, or older.