The Minnesota Timberwolves go into the season with only five black players on their 15-man roster, and some people are calling it a conspiracy.
From Jerry Zgoda and Dennis Brackin of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
"How did we get a roster that resembles the 1955 Lakers?" asked Tyrone Terrell, chairman of St. Paul's African American leadership council. "I think everything is a strategy. Nothing happens by happenstance."
That strategy, Terrell and others in the black community believe, is to sell tickets to the Wolves' fan base, which is overwhelmingly white.
Lou Amundson, JJ Barea, Chase Budinger, Andrei Kirilenko, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, Luke Ridnour, Ricky Rubio, Alexey Shved, and Greg Stiemsma make up 2/3 of the T-Wolves roster, and they are all white.
Minnesota civil rights activist Ron Edwards thinks something is up too, and he told the paper, "It raises some real questions to me about what's really intended. I think, personally, that it was calculated. Is this an attempt to get fans back in the stands? Minnesota, after all, is a pretty white state.''
Now, this analysis couldn't distinguish between the differential effects of injuries on speed and the differential effects of aging on speed, but it's still about the best starting point I've heard of.
As he got older, Reggie developed the top-heavy look of a serious lifter that became common in 1990s baseball. California muscle building culture was way ahead of the rest of the country in technical sophistication in the 1960s and 1970s.
(Lopes' development, now that I think about it, had something to do with moving the outfield fences in at Dodger Stadium. In Sandy Koufax's 1960s, centerfield was 410 feet, then they brought it in to 400. The Dodgers had a lot of players who could hit minimal homers just over the outfielder's glove -- Ron Cey drove my Dodger-hating roommate crazy with a lot of cheap home runs that barely made it over the fence.) So, management then made the centerfield fence only 395'. Then MLB set a minimum of 400 in center, so they had to move it out again, but I don't remember the exact years.)
I'm just tossing some evidence out there, mind you, not drawing conclusions.