June 27, 2013

Slate: "Racism produced the NBA’s most notorious draft bust"

From Slate:
The Darko Ages
How magical thinking and racism produced the NBA’s most notorious draft bust. 
By Jack Hamilton|Posted Thursday, June 27, 2013, at 8:45 AM

Ten years ago, a young man destined to transform the sport of basketball was drafted into the NBA. He hadn’t played a single minute in college and had appeared on the cover of a national magazine before turning 18. “He’s going to own the game,” one scout declared. 
Darko Milicic did not own the game. A decade after he was chosen with the No. 2 pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, he’s not even playing in the NBA. The only player drafted above him, LeBron James, is celebrating his fourth league MVP and second NBA title; the three taken after him—Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade—are likely bound for the Hall of Fame. ... 
Joe Dumars, white racist
How did so many of the league’s talent evaluators convince themselves of something that now seems so absurd? As Pistons GM Joe Dumars himself admitted last year, the Pistons didn’t know all that much about Milicic when they drafted him. “With Darko, we may have had two sources of information. That was it,” Dumars said. 
Darko was the dubious beneficiary of a hazy mixture of groupthinking and magical thinking, a pre–YouTube moment made of wishful scouting reports from distant lands and flavored by a hint of racism. Milicic was the idealized vision of the Euro prodigy, a fantasy of the young and impossibly skilled white big man that proved so elusive in reality that it was practically cryptozoological. ... And as one unnamed insider told ESPN the Magazine for its cover story on Milicic: “The brothers are gonna respect him.”
Ah yes, “the brothers.” In case the racial overtones of all this weren’t suitably naked, Darko offered a potent Great White Hope-fulness at a time when dominant white American big men had seemingly gone the way of Bill Walton’s right foot. The great imagined fear of the prep-to-pro era was that (black) American teenagers would use their talent to con generous NBA benefactors out of millions, only to turn their attention to dunk contests and rap albums as they destroyed the moral fabric of basketball. (The fact that the NBA finally banned American high schoolers the same year that it implemented its controversial dress code hardly seemed coincidental.)   ...
And Darko didn’t even have a totally terrible pro career—he logged serviceable years in Orlando, Memphis, and Minnesota, and for a long while his name graced one of the finest basketball blogs of all time. He just had a terrible career for a player drafted ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade, and as such is destined to spend eternity as the answer to a boringly easy trivia question.

As jody would say: two words: Hasheem Thabeet. The #2 pick in the 2009 draft, the 7'3" Tanzanian has been an even bigger bust, but is much less ragged upon than Darko. Thabeet signed a $15 million three year contract after his junior year at the U. of Connecticut. He started 13 games as a rookie, but has only started 7 games in the three seasons since. Through the same age, Darko started 185 games.

So, why is Thabeet just boring and forgotten (even though he started 4 games last season at age 25 for Oklahoma City), and Darko "notorious?"

76 comments:

Cail Corishev said...

"The great imagined fear of the prep-to-pro era was that (black) American teenagers would use their talent to con generous NBA benefactors out of millions, only to turn their attention to dunk contests and rap albums as they destroyed the moral fabric of basketball."

Uh, are they saying this didn't happen? I'm confused.

Hunsdon said...

Dude, even Darko's name is racist!

Anonymous said...

NBA Draft Update: It appears as though the 76ers are going to trade away former UCLA Bruin to New Orleans in exchange for a higher draft pick.

Basketball fans out there: Does it make any sense to trade a way a young 20 something who was just signed last yr to a 4 yr contract? Specially since making his first all star game? Wouldn't that be the player you want to hold onto and build the team around if he's worth his salt on the court? Doesn't make sense. And to be traded to New Orleans, one of the leagues' laughingstocks only adds further insult to injury.

Unless this is part of a larger multi team trade deal, it doesnt make any sense.

Average Joe said...

Is Jack Hamilton actually saying that it is racist to believe that a white man could ever play basketball as well as a black one?

O.Y.T. said...

So, is the take away Joe Dumars hates black people? Or that he just hates Anthony, Wade, and Bosch?

RonMexico said...

Stephen A Smith would disagree.... The most notorious bust was / is Kwame Brown. Add these guys... Chris Washburn, Sam Bowie, Greg Oden, Benoit Benjamin, Michael Olowakandi. Funny that Darko is probably the only white NBAer to come out of a bigger shithole, shittier circumstances than any American born black player.

TWTS said...

Chris Bosh will only be going to the Hall of fame when LeBron and Wade are being inducted. Carmello has won one stinking playoff series his entire career and that was against a decrepit Celtics team that was on the eve of rebuilding.

Anonymous said...

Because if a white player ascended to the heights of LeBron it would ruin black dominance in what is increasingly the only institution where they are undisputably kings, and that outsiders respect. Hip hop is no longer as popular as it once was, and blacks have largely moved on from boxing. Football is now, as far as stardom goes, dominated by white men like Tom Brady. Jeremy Lin (and to a lesser extent Yao Ming) were tolerable as oddities and because Asians don't make blacks feel as insecure as whites do. If a white man becomes the next Kobe Bryant or LeBron James there will be a whole lot of unforeseen consequences as black men as a group struggle with the ego blow.

Gloria

Orthodox said...

XXX was the idealized vision of the African-American prodigy, a fantasy of the young and impossibly skilled black quarterback that proved so elusive in reality that it was practically cryptozoological

Superman said...

Things I learned from this article:

1. Joe Dumars hates black people.
2. Chris Bosh is a future hall-of-famer.
3. Amar’e Stoudemire is one of the best players of his generation.
4. Tony Parker is white.

Snorlax said...

I think there's a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison here; the author of the Slate piece cites several black players drafted after Milicic who were far better. Do you know of any white players drafted after Thabeet who were likewise far superior?

Granted, draft picks are often busts or surprise stars, but I don't find it inconceivable that a team would take a chance on a white player who might be a star as opposed to a black player who's guaranteed to be a star, simply because they want expand their viewership beyond the black core audience.

Whiskey said...

The NBA IS a thug league. Just as the NFL has become -- two players charged with murder/attempted murder, this week, 27 arrested since the Superbowl.

Thuggishness correlates nicely with athletic ability, that is to say the most athletic in the NBA and NFL are likely to be the biggest thugs, most of the time (I'd say around 75% or so). Ray Lewis is probably representative of athletic ability and thuggery in the NFL is all about.

White guys just are not as good, period, as Black guys at the peak of athletic performance in the NBA and NFL. We've got decades of data that shows this. Yes, Whites dominate the QB position because its not primarily athletic as much as skill-based. But Tom Brady, Peyton and Eli Manning, and Joe Flacco pale (sorry) literally in comparison to Black athletes like Lewis and Ochocinco's athletic ability: strength, explosiveness, speed, and endurance.

The best athletes will always be thugs in those sports.

Hockey, being skill and toughness based (one player was just admitted to the hospital with a punctured lung after the Stanley Cup) -- the Boston Bruin stayed in the game -- is different. So too is motorsports, where thuggishness gets one bounced, and careful risk taking is rewarded, not stupid risk taking (which gets one dead).

Rugby relying on "both ways" players, and no unlimited substitution, has been less Black (and thuggish) and attracts White fans in Europe and Oceana. Direct TV has it on channel 490 out here in the West, from time to time.

My guess is motorsports, hockey, rugby, etc. and other sports that are less thuggish (and Black) will attract more viewers turned off by Thugs-Are-Us.

I've often wondered why victims families don't sue the NFL and teams for depraved indifference, knowing athletes were loaded weapons and doing nothing to stop them. I think Odin Lloyd's family, the guy who Hernandez shot, should sue both the NFL and the Patriots. Make employing a thug a liablity and an option to go before a jury and get big damages awarded against the team and league.

Auntie Analogue said...


So the lyrics of that old hit song by the Go-Gos aren't "We Got Thabeet, We Got Thabeet, We Got Thabeet!"???

And the first one of you Sailermates to parody my comment with "That's Why The Darkos Were Born" is going to hear a tremendous chorus of groans.

peterike said...

Most notorious draft bust? Who was that black dude that got picked ahead of Michael Jordon?

Anonymous said...

Not to defend Thabeet -- I agree with the thesis that NBA writers and fans denigrate 'white stiffs' with disproportionate enthusiasm and vitriol -- but it's notable there was a significant qualitative difference between the draft classes Darko and Hasheem came out in.

That Darko draft featured several 'can't miss' stars, so Detroit had to conspicuously snub some big names, e.g. Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane (Dywane? Ydwnae? I forget) Wade. The 2009 draft in which Thabeet was picked was pretty bland by comparison. He was chosen ahead of James Harden and Stephen Curry, who are stars now, but at the time neither of those players had the cache of the 2003 guys.

Anonymous said...

Darko is a bigger bust, thus far, because two future Hall of Fame, franchise players were passed up in order to draft him.

It's too soon to tell how bad of a draft Thabeet will be. From Thabeet's draft class, only one player picked after him, James Harden, picked number three, has been on an All-NBA team and that was All-NBA third team, this year.

Of course Darko isn't the biggest bust, but he is up there.

countenance said...

Chris Bosh is "likely headed to the hall of fame" because he's on the same team as LeBron James. Otherwise, he's fairly useless.

ben tillman said...

Good post.

You're right.

And nobody in the NBA thinks Darko was the "most notorious draft bust".

Anonymous said...

The pick of Darko has become so notorious because he was picked ahead of Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade (even though no one at the time was suggesting that Wade should have been picked ahead of Darko). The best player to be picked after Thabeet was James Harden, who is probably a year or two away from becoming a household name on par with Wade and Carmelo. That being said, it's obviously absurd to suggest that racism had anything to do with it, unless someone thinks that Joe Dumars hates black people.

Anonymous said...

Yao Ming.

Anonymous said...

NBA is still around? I quit caring after Larry Bird retired.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

What this story proves is that race-ism is true. Blacks ARE stronger and faster than whites.

If anything, the drafting of the white player was ant-race-ist because it was premised on the notion that whites can play basketball as well as blacks. In reality, blacks have a racial and biological edge due to evolution that made them faster, more muscular, more explosive, and more fluid in movement and hand-eye coordination.

Race-ism(race + ism = belief in races and racial variations) says there are racial differences, and some races are generally better at certain stuff than other races. Because blacks are stronger, they are better at sports and make the most dangerous criminals as they can beat up other races. Notice that even white liberals, Jews, and homos prefer to live away from black areas. Stop-and-Frisk in liberal blue NY mainly targets black males.

Anti-race-ism says a white guy or Chinese guy or Mexican guy can play ball as well as a black guy. Well, the Great White Hope turned out to be a bust.

Slate is trying to spin the story as 'drafting the white guy was racist'. In fact, it was an attempt at anti-race-ism to disprove the 'racist canard' that racial differences are indeed real and some races have advantages over other races. Well, well, Slate has to admit that blacks do have a racial/biological edge over whites. They are making a race-ist case but spinning it so that they sound anti-race-ist. They aint fooling me..
Silly progressives have been looking for the Great Chinese guy or the Great Mexican guy--or the great white guy--in basketball.

To be sure, one could say the drafting of the white guy in NBA was 'racist' in the sense that many white fans still favor white players. But then, all peoples have such preferences. In the Olympics, Indians cheer for Indians, and Germans cheer for Germans. Blacks care more about golf and tennis since the arrival of Tiger Woods and Williams Sisters. Blacks too have 'racist' preferences.

Speaking of more funny anti-race-ist stuff, notice that many GREAT scientists in movies are black.

Anonymous said...

"Are NBA Fans Becoming Indifferent to Race? Evidence from the 1990s"

http://www.econstor.eu/dspace/bitstream/10419/31415/1/366362763.pdf

"Previous studies, using data from the 1980s, found that racial composition of NBA teams is positively correlated with racial composition of the metropolitan markets in which the teams are located. Researchers have interpreted this evidence as consistent with a “customer discrimination” hypothesis. We reconsider this hypothesis by examining evidence from the 1990s and generate three principal findings. First, based on player performance statistics, we find no evidence of discrimination at the league level--that is, the best players appear to be playing in the league regardless of race. Second, players, categorized by race, are not randomly distributed across teams. Instead, the relationship between team racial composition and metropolitan area racial composition, while weaker than in the 1980s, persists in the NBA in the 1990s. Hence, teams located in areas with greater concentration of white population may find it revenue enhancing to cater to customer demand for viewing teams that include white players. Our third finding, based on revenue from home game attendance, is that as the number of white players declined significantly over the decade, the revenue product of a white player increased on the margin. This effect appears to be more pronounced for teams located in cities with larger white populations. We also find evidence that, in recent years, the top-performing white players in the NBA tend to locate in cities with larger white populations, suggesting that teams in these cities place a higher marginal value on such players."

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

I find this funny from a Slate writer who prolly believes that Mexican and African immigrants will produce future generations of Nobel Prize winning scientists and doctors.

Steve Sailer said...

Thinking back, part of the story was that Darko is from Serbia, which is the poorest, most beat-up place in Europe (the USAF had dropped bombs on Serbia just a few years before). So, that must make Darko tough, unlike, say, those wimpy Gasol brothers whose mother is a doctor and father a hospital administrator. As we all know, the only reason African-Americans do well in the NBA is because they grow up in slums, and Serbia is one big slum, so, ergo, Darko will be great.

Steve Sailer said...

Is there any evidence that white American fans favor white Europeans? Judging from endorsements, the main examples of white Americans favoring non-American whites might be a moderate bias in favor of English-speaking golfers, such as Greg Norman of Australia or Gary Player of South Africa, and Canadian hockey players (Gretzky). But those are sports with few African-Americans.

In contrast, when Dirk Nowitzki of Germany beat LeBron James in the NBA finals a couple of years ago, it didn't make Dirk popular, it just made LeBron unpopular for awhile.

Anonymous said...

The 2003 NBA draft was the best draft class of the last twenty years. So naturally, Darko stands out as a monumental bust among the myriad stars from that year as Sam Bowie does from the '84 class when he was selected after Olajawon, but before Jordan (yes, THAT Jordan), Barkley, and Stockton. Is Darko v. Thabeet an apples-to-apples comparison? I think not.

Snorlax said...

Steve:

I think there's some anecdotal evidence that white NBA fans prefer white players on some level; the decline in viewership has been concentrated pretty much exclusively among whites. You can also look at things like the racial cleavage of the 80s Celtics fandom/hatedom, or the overhyping of Asian players Yao Ming and Jeremy Lin, which appears to have been a rather white phenomenon. (Lin is starring in Volvo commercials!)

cromer said...

It has always struck me as odd how despised white basketball players are by sportswriters. This also trickles down to the fans.

In high school I was watching a college basketball game with a (white) friend, and he mentioned how much he hates white bball players because they didn't "learn to play on the streets."

Needless to say this nerdy, middle-class white kid had never actually been to "the streets."

Steve Sailer said...

Yeah, the hoo-ha about "learn to play on the streets" is just the usual mythmaking. Basketball is a game dominated by genetic anomalies. All else being equal, it's probably better for your basketball career to come from a middle class household, like Jordan or Duncan.

But even the ghetto kids are treated like stars from the age of 11 or so onward, flying around the country on obscurely financed AAU travel teams, as various surrogate father figures try to butter them up.

Anonymous said...

"Is there any evidence that white American fans favor white Europeans?"

Consciously no. But it's human nature to liking to seeing your own kind. Whites have been conditioned not to root for whiteness but they prolly like to see a few white faces in NBA once in awhile. Also, it looks kinda silly for mostly white crowd to cheer for all black crowd.
It's such a 'racist' stereotype.

Truth said...

You misunderstand the criticism of Darko in it's totality. Darko "the bust" was more apochryphal of the European stiff, than just Darko himself. In the 2003 NBA Draft there were TWELVE white Europeans selected amongst the 58 picked. A little over 20% of the best amateur players in the world:
Darko Miličić, Žarko Čabarkapa, Sasha Pavlović, Zoran Planinić, Maciej Lampe, Szymon Szewczyk, Slavko Vraneš, Zaza Pachulia, Sani Bečirović, Remon van de Hare, Nedžad Sinanović, Andreas Glyniadakis.

Of that whole group you get ONE decent backup (Pachulia, still active) and a shooting guard (Pavlovic) who averaged 5 points a game over a long career playing next to LeBron James.

Anonymous said...

In the 2003 NBA Draft there were TWELVE white Europeans selected amongst the 58 picked. A little over 20% of the best amateur players in the world:
Darko Miličić, Žarko Čabarkapa, Sasha Pavlović, Zoran Planinić, Maciej Lampe, Szymon Szewczyk, Slavko Vraneš, Zaza Pachulia, Sani Bečirović, Remon van de Hare, Nedžad Sinanović, Andreas Glyniadakis.

Of that whole group you get ONE decent backup (Pachulia, still active) and a shooting guard (Pavlovic) who averaged 5 points a game over a long career playing next to LeBron James.


Yeah, but where did they go in the draft? Most were late in the 1st round or in the 2nd round, right? It's common for players that go late 1st and 2nd round in the draft to not amount to much.

bulbasaur said...

When a diversity hire doesn't excel, is the hire denounced as an "idealized vision of a noble savage, but practically cryptozoological"?

Dave Pinsen said...

"Hockey, being skill and toughness based (one player was just admitted to the hospital with a punctured lung after the Stanley Cup) -- the Boston Bruin stayed in the game -- is different"

Oh? Emmit Smith played half of an NFL game with a dislocated shoulder. Great football players play hurt all the time, though Emmit Smith is one of the most extraordinary examples that comes to mind.

RonMexico said...

As a former Pistons fan, I can say Dumars picking Darko was a luxury at the time. That was a very successful team that didn't need a pt guard, stng grd, or either fwd position, so drafting a center (Ben Wallace at 6'9 was their regular center) made sense. DWade and Melo didn't make sense at the time. The vets liked Darko, but Larry Brown screwed up his development and f'ed him up mentally. Maybe if someone else were the coach, Darko would have gotten a better shake.

DYork said...

Is there any evidence that white American fans favor white Europeans?

The Klitschko brothers have dominated the Heavyweight championship for a while now.

They are essentially ignored by Americans.

Except Hayden Panettiere.

Anonymous said...

http://www.amren.com/news/2013/06/caught-on-camera-police-say-teen-beaten-for-shoes-and-web-notoriety/


The race-ist truth. Tougher black whups white boy.


Better race-ist than deracinist or de-racist.

Anonymous said...

How magical thinking and racism produced the NBA’s most notorious draft bust.

Yeah, I was just thinking that little guy with the glasses isnt really cut out for a role in any NBA team, guess that AA for you.

Anonymous said...

"endurance" - Which is why unlimited substitutions and timeouts are there, because they have such high endurance.

Anonymous said...

I always thought Donnie Darko was oveerrated.

Son of Brock Landers said...

It is ridiculous to blame it on racism. The infamy is more from carmelo and wade being picked right after darko when the pistons couldve used a young scoring talent.

Dumars missed, but people forget that Darko at 17 looked great. He was quick for a 7 footer and had range. Darko's busting was a reason for the nba raising the minimum age for foreign players as well as americans.

Jokah Macpherson said...

It's not like there weren't signs Thabeet would be a bust. He basically gave up in the Regional Semifinal game against much shorter George Mason, effectively ending the monopoly the power conferences had held over the Final Four.

Anonymous said...

The Klitschko brothers have dominated the Heavyweight championship for a while now.

They are essentially ignored by Americans.

Except Hayden Panettiere.

Quality over quantity.

Anonymous said...

Dave Pinsen, the full extent of Patrice Bergeron's injuries: broken rib, torn rib cartilage (which hurts like Hell; I know), a separated shoulder and a punctured lung.

We've all read about hockey and football players getting hurt and finishing the game, especially offensive linemen, the most physically-abused guys in sports. You don't see many with the type of injuries that Bergeron had suiting up for the next game.

In a previous playoff game, the Bruins' Gregory Campbell blocked a shot that fractured his leg, but as they were a man down when it happened, he stayed out and finished his shift until the next whistle.

ben tillman said...

Do you know of any white players drafted after Thabeet who were likewise far superior?


Ricky Rubio, Chase Budinger, Tyler Hansbrough.

Even Jonas Jerebko and Victor Claver have far outperformed Thabeet.

Peter the Shark said...

Most white Americans actually do identify with black Americans more than they do with non-British Europeans. Certainly there is a steady current of anti-continental European sentiment in the media - in general Americans see Europeans as effeminate, oily or pretentious - but most white Americans living in Europe probably come to recognize that they share a vast array of cultural touchstones with black Americans that they don't share with Europeans. And we've probably all heard stories of black Americans who go to Africa only to find they feel no sense of belonging. On the one hand there is certainly a real gap between white and black Americans, but on the other hand we've been living together for 300 years now. That counts for something.

Here's One said...

Many here would not like to hear this, but the reason Darko is considered a bigger "bust" is because of the extreme overhype surrounding him before he was drafted. People were saying that he was going to completely change the game. No ONE said that about Thabeet!

However, that narrative will not get through to people who are determined to see themselves as victims

Black Sea said...

I don't follow the NBA, but in the NFL you could construct a roughly parallel narrative about the drafting of Michal Vick by the Atlanta Falcons.

Based on what was expected of him, and the hype surrounding him, Vick was a disappointment (bust would probably be too strong a word) even prior to the dog fighting mess and the subsequent imprisonment. The Falcons ultimately traded away their very good backup quarteback, Matt Schaub, because people were noticing that he might actually be better at the position, and management feared a QB controversy.

Vick was an outstanding athlete, but a mediocre and erratic quarterback. Still, he was disproportonately popular in city with a large black middle class who could afford season tickets and loved the fact that the team's QB was black.

Most of us want to identify with accomplished people who seem to resemble us, or with whom we can associate ourselves. Jews with moderate IQs take pride in the achievements of Jewish scientists and intellectuals, even though they could never begin to duplicate such accomplishments. Asian Americans loved Michael Chang, the tennis player. I'm sure Steve Young had a strong fan base among Mormons.

Human nature, baby.

Anonymous said...

"The Klitschko brothers have dominated the Heavyweight championship for a while now."

Boxing is dead. Competition is second rate.

C. Van Carter said...

The NBA should pay reparations to all the negro players Darko was drafted higher than.

C. Van Carter said...

"Jack Hamilton has written for TheAtlantic.com, NPR, Transition, and other publications. This fall he will be a postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratory for Race and Popular Culture at the University of Colorado, Boulder."

Anonymous said...

Is there any evidence that white American fans favor white Europeans?


I'd say if anything the opposite is true - white American fans think that all true athletes are black. They've been Whiskeyfied!

Anonymous said...

http://www.amren.com/news/2013/06/caught-on-camera-police-say-teen-beaten-for-shoes-and-web-notoriety/


The race-ist truth. Tougher black whups white boy.



Right. Because nothing says "blacks are tougher" like when a whole gang of them attacks some lone individual.




gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

"Right. Because nothing says "blacks are tougher" like when a whole gang of them attacks some lone individual."

While it's true that gangs of blacks have attacked whites(and other blacks), most one-on-one 'fights' I've seen in the city were overwhelmingly won by blacks. I put 'fights' in quotes cuz it was usually black guy hitting with white guy cowering.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

"Is there any evidence that white American fans favor white Europeans?"

I think the appeal of baseball is that it still has lots of whites.
And hockey is big among whites cuz all the players are white.

Anonymous said...

If basketball recruited from minor leagues, like it should, instead of colleges, where the "scholar-athletes" are bestowed their reverence, the sport would be about as popular as shooting dice, and white people's participation rate would be about the same.

In the bat of an eye, I lost all interest in organized sports. I can't explain it. I was quite a fan and I have a modest baseball memorabilia collection, which I have to say, evokes no emotion anymore. I can't tell the spouse, she bought me most of the expensive clutter. I have friends who have confided the same loss of enthusiasm, their wives buy good seats to big games as gifts, they don't want to break their little hearts by admitting they really don't want to waste a couple of hundred bucks to fidget in a seat for a few hours watching an event that no longer stirs them.

Anonymous said...

Or Greg Oden

Cail Corishev said...

In the bat of an eye, I lost all interest in organized sports. I can't explain it.

Same here. A decade ago, I had a favorite team in each of MLB, NFL, and NHL, and still had some nostalgia for the NBA leftover from the 80s. I wasn't a fanatic, but I'd catch what games I could, and I spent a fair bit of time online discussing my teams and the other topics that are always swirling around sports.

At some point I just stopped caring. I'm still interested in the social aspects of sports of the sort that Steve brings up, but I very rarely watch a game. I don't even know who played in the last World Series or Super Bowl. It just suddenly became completely unimportant to me, and I'm really not sure why. Maybe I just grew up a little.

Cail Corishev said...

I'd forgotten all about Greg Oden. Perusing his Wikipedia page makes me wonder if I could track down my posts during the 2007 draft where I said Portland was insane to take the injury-prone Oden over Durant. Sure called that one.

Dave Pinsen said...

"The Klitschko brothers have dominated the Heavyweight championship for a while now.

They are essentially ignored by Americans."


"Ignored" overstates the case, but there are several reasons why they don't get much attention these days:

1) They fight maybe once a year (true of a lot of champion boxers, and a real problem with the sport. Champions should have to defend their titles 2 or 3x per year).

2) They are victims of their own success: they've already beaten the promising contenders so there aren't many compelling fights for them.

3) They fight conservatively and aren't known for exciting 1st round knockouts like Tyson or Tua were.

4) They don't really have an ethnic lobby in the US. As Ukrainians trained by a black trainer they don't have the sort of natural American fan base that an Irish or Italian American heavyweight would have (liked that Italian guy in Buffalo who packed hockey arenas in the last decade).

5) MMA has stolen some of boxing's fan base.

6) There is better competition in lighter weight classes, including the pound-for-pound best athlete in the sport.

Dave Pinsen said...

"I don't follow the NBA, but in the NFL you could construct a roughly parallel narrative about the drafting of Michal Vick by the Atlanta Falcons."

I still remember this silly essay comparing Peyton Manning invidiously to Michael Vick:

"there is a split second of hesitation, as Vick computes pursuit angles, then whoooossshhhhh, and defenders are pawing helplessly at his jet wash."

Dave Pinsen said...

Anonymous,

I'm not questioning Bergeron's toughness, just pointing out that that sort of toughness is common in football too. And yes, I'm familiar with how painful costal cartilage injuries are as I have had them.

Svigor said...

But Tom Brady, Peyton and Eli Manning, and Joe Flacco pale (sorry) literally in comparison to Black athletes like Lewis and Ochocinco's athletic ability: strength, explosiveness, speed, and endurance.

Explosiveness and speed, yes. Strength and endurance, no. Comparing between positions is kinda silly. Endurance isn't really a factor anywhere in the NFL. QB and Receiver aren't strength positions. Et cetera.

Svigor said...

Rugby relying on "both ways" players, and no unlimited substitution, has been less Black (and thuggish) and attracts White fans in Europe and Oceana.

Lemme guess: "both ways" players and no unlimited substitution favors low endurance, and thus non-blacks?

Anonymous said...

There are 2 reasons Darko is notorious, at least in the Detroit area: First, he was picked ahead of Anthony and Wade; Second, due to his recent success at recognizing undervalued players, nobody thought the great Joe Dumars was capable of misjudging potential talent that badly. With regard to thuggish basketball players, few played meaner or tougher than Detroit's former starting center Bill Laimbeer.


Svigor said...

Boxing is dead. Competition is second rate.

Obviously, since blacks are no longer dominating heavyweight boxing. But wait, doesn't that mean that it should be 2nd rate blacks beating up on 2nd rate whites? I get so confused sometimes...

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

"Obviously, since blacks are no longer dominating heavyweight boxing. But wait, doesn't that mean that it should be 2nd rate blacks beating up on 2nd rate whites? I get so confused sometimes..."

As boxing is no longer a prestige sport, best American blacks(and best American whites) don't go into it.

There is an unspoken bias against Russians as trashy or lesser whites. Thus, boxing is now seen as sports for second rate trash athletes from Eastern Europe. Not a fair assessment, but such biases do exist.

Blacks prefer prestige sports. In football, there are almost no black kickers. Why not? Whites are naturally better kickers? No, it's because blacks prefer prestige positions in football. They see kicker position as wussy stuff.

Most blacks now see boxing as trash sport. Why get punched in the face so much and make so little money(except for few at the top)? Much better to try out for basketball or football. Or even MMA.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

"Obviously, since blacks are no longer dominating heavyweight boxing. But wait, doesn't that mean that it should be 2nd rate blacks beating up on 2nd rate whites? I get so confused sometimes..."

As boxing is no longer a prestige sport, best American blacks(and best American whites) don't go into it.

There is an unspoken bias against Russians as trashy or lesser whites. Thus, boxing is now seen as sports for second rate trash athletes from Eastern Europe. Not a fair assessment, but such biases do exist.

Blacks prefer prestige sports. In football, there are almost no black kickers. Why not? Whites are naturally better kickers? No, it's because blacks prefer prestige positions in football. They see kicker position as wussy stuff.

Most blacks now see boxing as trash sport. Why get punched in the face so much and make so little money(except for few at the top)? Much better to try out for basketball or football. Or even MMA.

Anonymous said...

Love the basketball analysis, but isn't Steve's point that a mainstream publication can take a position against a white player that it could never against a black player? Isn't that the point???

The reason white people are losing is because they cannot even grasp what is against them.

Substitute black for white and white for black in this article and this article cannot be written. That is the point.

Cail Corishev said...

As boxing is no longer a prestige sport, best American blacks(and best American whites) don't go into it.

So if blacks dominate a sport, it's because they're naturally better athletes. But if whites dominate a sport, it's because blacks aren't interested in it.

Yeah, that logic is unassailable.

Anonymous said...

@gubbler: "While it's true that gangs of blacks have attacked whites(and other blacks), most one-on-one 'fights' I've seen in the city were overwhelmingly won by blacks."

And how many black on White fights have you seen? I suspect none, other than those on WSH and Youtube.

Many of these video fights appear to be one-on-one, but there are five other black guys standing around egging their buddy on and filming the beat down. The White guy is by himself and knows if he fights back, then it's an immediate 6-on-1 and he's probably dead. Better run or at least cover up, protect the head, and hope it's over quickly.

E. Rekshun said...

@Anon, Cail: "In the bat of an eye, I lost all interest in organized sports. I can't explain it."

Like all the kids in my neighborhood, I was a huge baseball fan; collecting & trading cards, playing little league, and dreaming of the major leagues.

I stopped following baseball after high school until about age 40, then got re-interested as the Red Sox finally achieved World Series success in '04 and again in '07. But I'm losing interest again. A damn baseball game just moves too slow and takes too long. I think baseball should be 7 innings, and five fouls and you're out.

E. Rekshun said...

@Dave Pinsen: "...they don't have the sort of natural American fan base that an Irish or Italian American heavyweight would have (liked that Italian guy in Buffalo who packed hockey arenas in the last decade).

I think you're thinking of Joe Mesi. He was hyped to be the next White Hope, but suffered a brain bleed in an '04 win over Vassily Jirov. He only had a few fights after that. In '08 he unsuccessfully ran as democrat for NY State Senate.

Tommy Morrison was another Great White Hope that didn't pan out.

Anonymous said...

"Magical thinking" is new SWPL journo cant applied to anyone right or wrong who fails to think fashionably.

ben tillman said...

Blacks prefer prestige sports. In football, there are almost no black kickers. Why not? Whites are naturally better kickers? No, it's because blacks prefer prestige positions in football. They see kicker position as wussy stuff.


It's more like comparative advantage, and I say this as someone who knew and played soccer with the NFL's best-ever Black placekicker. Sure, he was from Nigeria, but I also remember Deacon Jones kicking a PAT in a blowout win over the Bears circa 1974.