Outisde the Line: White American Players in the NBA


#1

I saw a great piece on ESPN’s Outside the Lines. It’s something that’s been discussed here, and I thought the guys who made the video did a great job.

It has to do with the dwindling number of White American Players in the NBA. It talks a lot about the stereotypes involved and obsticles in their way.

Amazingly, it was VERY DIFFICULT to find on the web. For some reason, ESPN.com no longer displays it, and most of the links I checked have the “video no longer available” moniker on it.

I was able to find it, however … I think it was a great job (until Jalen Rose and Brent Barry speak ::slight_smile: )

This topic is the white elephant in the room (or the pink one, as Brent would say), and this was a good attempt at putting words to what everyone is already thinking.

Where has all the white NBA players gone


#2

It is interesting. International players definitely have an advantage with Basketball “high schools” but think its a matter the white kids are just not playing basketball as much as they used to. I do wonder of the percentage of Black are actually “mixed raced” players. The last years number one pick falls into that new group and will see more of them in the future.


#3

Very good video. I think all people interviewed made very good points.
P.S. I always liked Wayne Embry as a player. Big (about 6-9) “barrel of muscles” type.


#4

I would argue that among African-American youth, Baseball’s loss has been basketball’s gain. The number of Blacks playing baseball has been on the decline now for about 20 years, and I would venture to guess that a lot of those kids play more basketball now.


#5

I think you’re right. Jimmy Rollins has been part of an effort on behalf of MLB to get city kids interested in baseball again.


#6
[quote="MarkH, post:4, topic:493"]I would argue that among African-American youth, Baseball's loss has been basketball's gain. The number of Blacks playing baseball has been on the decline now for about 20 years, and I would venture to guess that a lot of those kids play more basketball now.[/quote]

I think you’re right. Jimmy Rollins has been part of an effort on behalf of MLB to get city kids interested in baseball again.

Ah, the old RBI program (Revitalizing Baseball in Innercities). I’m going to start my own program, the Suburban Hoops Initiative Treatment.


#7
[quote="PSUdraw, post:2, topic:493"]It is interesting. International players definitely have an advantage with Basketball "high schools" but think its a matter the white kids are just not playing basketball as much as they used to. I do wonder of the percentage of Black are actually "mixed raced" players. The last years number one pick falls into that new group and will see more of them in the future.[/quote]

I would argue that among African-American youth, Baseball’s loss has been basketball’s gain. The number of Blacks playing baseball has been on the decline now for about 20 years, and I would venture to guess that a lot of those kids play more basketball now.

I think the problem with baseball is that it’s too organized, and kind of expensive. I coached Little League, and was President of Babe Ruth in my area. In LL, the tryouts, picking teams, coaches, scheduling fields, practices, etc., it’s a bit much for some families, esp when they have several kids. I’ve seen difficulties with one parent families. If a mom with 3 kids, one playing baseball, has that kid have 2 games and 1 practice per week, how does the kid get there? What does the mom do with the other kids? It’s too much. Going to the playground and playing hoops 1v1, 2v2, etc., much, much easier for the kid and the family. Kids’ sports have become too organized and parent run. Kids playing with kids, no parents involved, esp before the kids reach HS, much better, IMO. LL is too early and too much for many families. If no dad is around, it’s not going to happen in most cases.


#8

Kid, I agree with you 100% We used to play baseball games in our backyards. I dont’ see kids doing that at all anymore.

Also, in terms of the ages, LL/t-ball is much too young to play baseball… Kid’s don’t have the attention span at that age, but all the organized sports are getting younger and younger to get their “hooks” into the kids. Of couse, my own twisted view of this blames the soccer programs that start as early as 4 yrs old… Even Cub scouts used to start in 2nd grade, and now have “tiger cubs” because if you wait as long as 2nd grade, the other activites have their hooks into the kids and there’s no time left on their schedules to add more activities. Forget the fact that 1st grade boys just aren’t ready for something as structured as cub scouts.


#9
[quote="kidcoyote, post:7, topic:493"]I think the problem with baseball is that it's too organized, and kind of expensive. I coached Little League, and was President of Babe Ruth in my area. In LL, the tryouts, picking teams, coaches, scheduling fields, practices, etc., it's a bit much for some families, esp when they have several kids. I've seen difficulties with one parent families. If a mom with 3 kids, one playing baseball, has that kid have 2 games and 1 practice per week, how does the kid get there? What does the mom do with the other kids? It's too much. Going to the playground and playing hoops 1v1, 2v2, etc., much, much easier for the kid and the family. Kids' sports have become too organized and parent run. Kids playing with kids, no parents involved, esp before the kids reach HS, much better, IMO. LL is too early and too much for many families. If no dad is around, it's not going to happen in most cases.[/quote]

Kid, I agree with you 100% We used to play baseball games in our backyards. I dont’ see kids doing that at all anymore.

Also, in terms of the ages, LL/t-ball is much too young to play baseball… Kid’s don’t have the attention span at that age, but all the organized sports are getting younger and younger to get their “hooks” into the kids. Of couse, my own twisted view of this blames the soccer programs that start as early as 4 yrs old… Even Cub scouts used to start in 2nd grade, and now have “tiger cubs” because if you wait as long as 2nd grade, the other activites have their hooks into the kids and there’s no time left on their schedules to add more activities. Forget the fact that 1st grade boys just aren’t ready for something as structured as cub scouts.

The problem with baseball is that it’s no fun to play unless you have a bunch of guys. You can play 1 on 1 basketball, or 21, or a number of other “games” with as few as two players. Also, you can practice shooting on your own. Even football can be played with 3 guys (1 on 1 with and alltime QB). Baseball sucks unless you have a minimum of maybe 5 per side – and even then you need to “narrow” the diamond some (make the bases resemble a diamond instead of a square) so you can play with two infielders and two outfielders. It’s also hard to practice baseball alone.


#10
[quote="PSUdraw, post:2, topic:493"]It is interesting. International players definitely have an advantage with Basketball "high schools" but think its a matter the white kids are just not playing basketball as much as they used to. I do wonder of the percentage of Black are actually "mixed raced" players. The last years number one pick falls into that new group and will see more of them in the future.[/quote]

I would argue that among African-American youth, Baseball’s loss has been basketball’s gain. The number of Blacks playing baseball has been on the decline now for about 20 years, and I would venture to guess that a lot of those kids play more basketball now.

I think the problem with baseball is that it’s too organized, and kind of expensive. I coached Little League, and was President of Babe Ruth in my area. In LL, the tryouts, picking teams, coaches, scheduling fields, practices, etc., it’s a bit much for some families, esp when they have several kids. I’ve seen difficulties with one parent families. If a mom with 3 kids, one playing baseball, has that kid have 2 games and 1 practice per week, how does the kid get there? What does the mom do with the other kids? It’s too much. Going to the playground and playing hoops 1v1, 2v2, etc., much, much easier for the kid and the family. Kids’ sports have become too organized and parent run. Kids playing with kids, no parents involved, esp before the kids reach HS, much better, IMO. LL is too early and too much for many families. If no dad is around, it’s not going to happen in most cases.

Nail on the head kid.

I too am very involved with the local Little League. I live in a very diverse area of Atlanta. And while I see and coach a great mix of kids on the football and soccer fields and on the basketball courts, I don’t see the same mix on the baseball field. In fact, most of the top kids of my son’s age group on the diamond are coached by their dads who are constantly involved in their development as players both on and off the field (practice facilities, batting cages and the like). The one African-American kid who is amongst the top 24 in my sons age group has a dad who is as committed as the rest of the bunch.

I’ve tried to get some of the A-A kids I coach in other sports to try baseball, but it usually comes down to the fact that none of their friends play baseball. And come to think of it, most if not all of the A-A kids who play at the LL park have a dad who is somewhat involved either as a coach or a parent who shows up to almost every practice or game. So they (the dad) certainly have an effect on whether their son plays baseball or not.

As for your other point of kids playing sans parents…My kids are fortunate we live on a street with many kids who will do just that. I can send them out after school and not see them, nor worry about them for 2 to 3 hours. Usually, they will play football, basketball or soccer, but rarely baseball.


#11

This is one thing that has always puzzled me. What standards are they using. I also noticed that they did not divide the international players into African or Caucasian. I’ve always wondered why Tiger is considered to be a black golfer when he is something like 1/4 Chinese, 1/4 Thai, 1/4 African American with some Native American mixed in as well. Why weren’t reporters asking Asian American women if he should have married an Asian woman?

I do think that culturally, African Americans perceive sports & entertainment as a more attainable way of advancement than Anglos do.


#12

There definitely a stereotype that goes with each type of player.

It would be interesting to see how this kid would be viewed if he had a -vic at the end of his name.


#13

Lot of good posts here. I couldn’t watch video at work, as they’re blocked. It was good. McAlarney is sour grapes if you ask me. I hope he makes it but at his height, tough to get shot off, and who can he possibly cover? If you’re big and white and can shoot, you got a shot, IMO. Be interesting to see if Hansbrough makes it. But even a build like Hinrich, good size, good shot. You don’t need to be as fast. McAlarney couldn’t be that great. I didn’t notice much at MSG vs. PSU. Battle, on the other hand…though his D could use some improvement. Still he has the speed to compensate for his height. I do see DJ Augustin is getting complaints from Larry Brown.

Illini, I had the batting cage in my yard. In fact, on google earth, it’s still showing despite not having it up in over 5 years. You can check it out. 10 Rivendell Drive, Essex Junction, VT, about 200 ft. behind the house it’s easily visible, being white. My second son was a good player, HS, American Legion, college, P/SS, so we did this. Not sure it helped much. Tough to get together timewise. Must’ve played 50-60 games per year, and lots of travel. Won states twice in three years in Legion ball. Should probably sell my pitching machine, been sitting in my garage for several years. One of those Casey’s, throws 85, curves, etc. Must weigh 50 lbs.


#14

kid, that’s cool. Too bad I’m in Atlanta or I’d look to buy that from you.

Anyway, had my son up at the YMCA tonight shooting hoops in an empty gym till 10:00. Had to drag him out of there…school night. He hopefully will get a little of my height (6’2) and looks to have my speed (came close to running hurdles at PSU) and my wife’s textbook shooting ability ;D. But even with his ability, I see “brown skin” kids (how my son differentiates between people :)) his age and even younger who just have incredible skills. I’m sure he sees it and in the back of his mind feels that he has a better chance to thrive on the baseball field than the basketball court, as far as taking it to the next level. But he’s young and has many more nights in the gym and weekends in the batting cages before deciding to focus on just one or two sports.

Bottom line, kids are going to play the sports that they feel most comfortable playing. And if none of their friends are playing a particular sport, chances are they won’t play that sport either, unless their dad insists they play.


#15

I never understood T-Ball, always thought it was a HORRIBLE idea in it’s current set-up.

  • You take kids that are teeming with energy, usually during the most active time of the day…

  • You put them on a squad with 14-15 other kids to stand around and do NOTHING for 2 hours. Think about it, in a 2 hour period, they will
    - Bat twice
    - MAYBE get 1 or 2 ball hit their way

After boring these kids to DEATH, some now wonder why interest in baseball is waning with our youth.

Here’s what SHOULD be done…

In T-Ball, put together teams of 6 (SIX) !!! A pitcher (although he doesn’t pitch) 1st, 2nd, & 3rd basemen, and 2 outfielders.

This way, the kids have more opportunites to play a fielded ball, and they’ll get maybe 6-8 ABs a game. THAT’S how you keep a kid interested in playing. You gotta keep them involed, and T-Ball as it is now, simply does the exact opposite.


#16

[quote=“Skeeza, post:15, topic:493”]I never understood T-Ball, always thought it was a HORRIBLE idea in it’s current set-up.

  • You take kids that are teeming with energy, usually during the most active time of the day…

  • You put them on a squad with 14-15 other kids to stand around and do NOTHING for 2 hours. Think about it, in a 2 hour period, they will
    - Bat twice
    - MAYBE get 1 or 2 ball hit their way

After boring these kids to DEATH, some now wonder why interest in baseball is waning with our youth.

Here’s what SHOULD be done…

In T-Ball, put together teams of 6 (SIX) !!! A pitcher (although he doesn’t pitch) 1st, 2nd, & 3rd basemen, and 2 outfielders.

This way, the kids have more opportunites to play a fielded ball, and they’ll get maybe 6-8 ABs a game. THAT’S how you keep a kid interested in playing. You gotta keep them involed, and T-Ball as it is now, simply does the exact opposite.[/quote]

I like this idea… My grandkids both “play”, the short attention span of young kids is really a challenge for everyone involved, the kids, the coaches and the spectators/families.


#17

This is just my opinion and will probably catch alot of heat, but what I have seen and experienced first hand is that the economic situation of a family has a huge part of it. While many of my kids friends were going to the mall movies and having all the video games it was limited to us. But there was always a ball, a make shift hoop could be created and somewhere to play. Also after school activities were expensive so the older child is usually responsible for the care of the younger ones so where he goes and plays the siblings usually follow. Summer parks where the main homes of most city kids where there was alot of kids playing usually on a court or on the field and in order to get a turn you had to become your best. Baseball is expensive and parents don’t always have the transportation keeping them from making the commitments. If you think about it theres some reality in this.


#18

Couldn’t agree more. Seems to me your family did okay doing it your way. Much better as well, IMO, when parents aren’t so involved in kids’ sports. The kids figure it out themselves.


#19

Both Jalen Rose and Jon Barry made that exact point on the Outside the Lines segment.


#20

I just have a hard time believing there aren’t many white kids from poor families that play basketball just as much as this supposedly huge group of black kids that play all the time. To me, it’s similar to soccer I guess - we have kids who play just as much now as those kids in Spain do… but no matter how hard they work, our best are never going to be as talented with the foot skills as those Spaniards - at least not anytime soon.

And it’s not for a lack of training, or a lack of effort. I’d hate to just assume from this that there are just certain cultures and races or nationalities that are just more adept at things than others, as that opens up a whole can of worms I don’t really want to open - but you can’t ignore the fact that the NBA has been dominated by black americans for the last 30 years and just chalk it up to nothing.

There are stereotypes that say blacks are just more athletic (quicker and more explosive) than whites, and while it may not be correct to stereotype anybody for anything – you can’t deny the results entirely. Look at the fastest sprinters and highest jumpers in the world. It doesn’t seem to be just a coincidence - but my question would be, WHY? Why do there seem to be so many more athletic black basketball players than white?