August 13, 2012

Olympic basketball final: 40 million white Spaniards 100/107th as good as 40 million black Americans

But 200 million white Americans can only produce Kevin Love.

Josh Levin has an article in Slate about how the American Dream Team had to play good basketball to get by Spain in the final game 107-100, because the Spanish team is now full of genuine NBA talents, like the 7' Gasol brothers (plus an African import, Serge Ibaka). Back in 1992, in contrast, the first Dream Team only had to face four guys in the Olympics who had yet made an impact in the NBA.

So, what is going on with white American basketball players? Why are they getting worse relative to black American basketball players while white Spanish basketball players are getting better?

This is an interesting question that has lots of lessons for How the World Works because it's taking place right before our eyes on a big stage. It would seem like a textbook example for studying the concept of Disparate Impact, but nobody seems to be terribly interested.

One reason is that Spaniards got taller -- Spain was a pretty beaten down country for a long time, and then it got normally prosperous. It can take a couple of generations for height to catch up, and the Spanish appear to be pretty good at big money sports these days like soccer, tennis, and basketball.

A commenter rejects the notion that white American NBA players aren't very good anymore:
I would go as far as saying that if USA fielded two segregated teams, we would finish Gold and Silver. The two deep below would be tough to beat by any nation in this years tourney. They all started NBA games last season.

PG: Kirk Heinrich, Jimmer Fridette
SG: Steve Novak, JJ Redick
SF: Ryan Anderson, Gordon Heyward
PF: Kevin Love, Tyler Hansborough
C: David Lee, BJ Mullens 

Well, maybe, but could the NBA's 2012 Euro-American All-Stars even beat the six best white guys on the 1986 Boston Celtics? Boston went 67-15 and 15-3 in the playoffs with a top eight rotation of six white guys, plus Robert Parish and Dennis Johnson (who were very good but not great). The six main white Celtics were Larry Bird (league MVP that year), Kevin McHale (21 ppg, 8 rpg, 2 bpg, .574 shooting percentage), Bill Walton (Sixth Man of the year), Danny Ainge, Scott Wedman, and Jerry Sichting.

I'm an old fogey, but my guess would be that the the white Celtics of 1986 would kill the white NBA stars of 2012 for as long as Walton could stay on the court. Let the 1986 white Celtics have the 1986 Bill Laimbeer (led league in rebounding) to help out and it wouldn't be close.

93 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve, why haven't you posted a single note on the Penn State scandal. Considering sports makes up 15% of this blog's banter . . . its obvious you purposely avoided it.

Could it be because you know the running theme here would indicate the conservative booster base, led by their conservative coach and other conservative football guys are so wrapped up in their spectacle of football that they were willing to look the other way at child rape in the name of protecting their precious institution (after the Church of course). Come on, you know if the Penn State scnadal had to do with "diversity" or something like that you would have posted on it more times than the NYT did with Duke Lacrosse? Why the hypocrisy? Is it too blashpemous to shine light on the flaws of the conservative base?

Anonymous said...

Blake Griffin is half-white. Are we putting him on the black team because ofbthe one drop rule?

The black basketball stars, with the occasional Grant Hill exception, are people who grew up in single-parent households and got good at basketball because they played in tough playgrounds for dozens of hours a week instead of studying. It's not just Tiger Moms who don't let their kids do that. The fact that white parents don't let their kids do that (or steer them to football instead) produces fewer Kevin Loves but better long-term results.

Whites don't want to play basketball the way they did thirty years ago. And the ratio of whites in the relevant age range to blacks in the relevant age range is less than 5:1.

Anonymous said...

The US team was undersized because of the Gasol brothers. If they had Dwight Howard they probably would've beaten Spain more soundly.

Anonymous said...

Jimmer Fredette would be a shooting guard. He can't really play the point.

Anonymous said...

The two deep below would be tough to beat by any nation in this years tourney.

I don't think so. Spain would beat them. Calderon plus the Gasol brothers would be better than that lineup.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more that the '86 Celtics six would demolish that contemporary white all-star team. Bird would never let them lose.

There's also no way that all-star team beats Spain; who guards the Gasol brothers? Love is a superb rebounder and scorer, but isn't known as a great defender, and David Lee is notorious for being one of the softest interior defenders in the league. Those two also give up 2-3 inches in height, at least, to the Gasols. Wouldn't be pretty. Finally, if you put the injured Ricky Rubio back on the Spanish team, they're really quite formidable. They really could have used him in the Olympics.

Anonymous said...

I'm an old fogey, but my guess would be that the the white Celtics of 1986 would kill the white NBA stars of 2012 for as long as Walton could stay on the court.

Agreed. Heinrich is ok but he's getting old and injured. Fredette, Redick, and Novak can shoot if they're wide open but can't do anything otherwise. Kevin Love is good but Bird is better and McHale and Walton could crack down on him on defense. Hansborough is a bruiser and Bird, McHale, and Walton would get him into foul trouble early.

Anonymous said...

There's no question that the white American talent pool for basketball is better than Spain's.

Anonymous said...

So, what is going on with white American basketball players? Why are they getting worse relative to black American basketball players while white Spanish basketball players are getting better?

Young white American basketball players take up other sports to maximize their prospects.

For example, Henrik Rummel focused on rowing and as a result was able to get a Harvard degree and a Bronze medal at the Olympics:

http://www.thecrimson.com/series/london-bound/article/2012/7/19/henrik-rummel-london-olympic-games-harvard-crew-harry-parker-fours/

"Rummel, who speaks without an accent and is proficient in English, Danish, Swedish, and German, took up rowing in 2001 after realizing that he could not compete at a high level in his first athletic love, basketball.

Eleven years later, the 6’5” Rummel has spent six years rowing for the national team, first at the Junior Level in 2004-2005, then in 2008 at the Under-23 level before joining senior team in 2009."

Anonymous said...

It seems that basketball culture shares a lot with black hip-hop culture. It doesn't appeal to me for that reason, maybe some tall, athletic white guys feel the same way?

American football might also draw a lot of the talent that could otherwise go into basketball.

Anonymous said...

"The USSR would have dominated this Olympics"

http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/08/13/the_ussr_would_have_dominated_this_olympics

"Russia finished the 2012 Olympics with a respectable 82 total medals (putting it in third place behind the U.S. and China) and 24 golds (putting it in fourth behind Britain). But what if things had turned out differently in the early 1990s and the Soviet Union were still intact? Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus all put in strong showings at the games. In fact, 13 of the 15 former Soviet states got at least one medal, including just the third ever* for tiny Tajikistan. (Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan failed to medal.)

If you add up all 13 countries you get 163 medals -- well ahead of the U.S. total of 104. The USSR would have been awarded 46 golds -- tied with the red, white, and blue. With 16.9 percent of the total medals, the hypothetical Soviet Union would have nearly tied the real Soviet Union's haul of 17.8 percent in 1988."

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more that the '86 Celtics six would demolish that contemporary white all-star team. Bird would never let them lose.

They'd probably beat the current black all-stars as well.

Dad said...

The '86 white Celtics wouldn't need flopper Laimbeer and his outside shooting. Give them Mark Eaton to share time with Walton and they are unbeatable.

Luke Lea said...

Explain the disparate impact impact.

Hapalong Cassidy said...

It's a shame an entire generation of white Americans has been turned off basketball by black hip-hop culture. A shame, because it's a great sport for getting and staying in shape (beats the hell out of jogging and soccer any day), and it's just damn fun to play. I was never great at it myself, and I played against some black guys who were way out of my league, but I never once felt intimidated by them. I dunno, maybe things are different now.

Anonymous said...

that would be 39 million spanairds and 1.5 million muslims and growing... - thanks EU!

Anonymous said...

The Slate article is a classic example of a dumb take from a young journo who wasn't a serious student of basketball. The U.S. vs. Croatia gold medal game he cites wasn't the first time the teams played. In the round-robin round was the famous game where Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan humiliated Croatian star Toni Kukoc as a way to embarrass Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause, who was infatuated with Kukoc. Here's the box score:

http://archive.fiba.com/pages/eng/fa/game/p/gid/5/grid/A/rid/1059/sid/2943/_/1992_Olympic_Games_Tournament_for_Men/statistic.html

The three stars didn't do remotely as well the first time they played the U.S. They shot under 40 percent.

Peter said...

It seems that basketball culture shares a lot with black hip-hop culture. It doesn't appeal to me for that reason, maybe some tall, athletic white guys feel the same way?
American football might also draw a lot of the talent that could otherwise go into basketball.


The NFL isn't much whiter than the NBA these days.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you continue to violate the rule.

You must always celebrate our diversity. But you can never mention it.

Anonymous said...

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2012/08/do-olympic-medalists-receive-cash-prizes-with-their-medals/

Steve, good post material about cash prize for gold medals. Do you see supply/demand effect here? Small countries lacking gold medals offer higher award.

This also explained any made by big nations tend to be cheaper for the same reason. Any thing China made will be cheap. Any thing China buy will be expensive for the same reason.

Peter said...

Young white American basketball players take up other sports to maximize their prospects.
For example, Henrik Rummel focused on rowing and as a result was able to get a Harvard degree and a Bronze medal at the Olympics:
"Rummel, who speaks without an accent and is proficient in English, Danish, Swedish, and German, took up rowing in 2001 after realizing that he could not compete at a high level in his first athletic love, basketball.


It's nice that he got an Olympics medal, but compare the amount of money he's made from his rowing to the amount of money even an NBA benchwarmer gets.

Dan said...

Re anonymous who posted about Penn St. - Paterno was a dirtbag who covered up child rape to protect his program. The "conservative booster base" had no idea so I don't see your point.

FYI- when Patoerno was coming up on the coaching ranks his nickname was The Rat- he's a really bad person.

Dan in DC

Anonymous said...

Larry Bird was the Celtics 3 -- their small forward. The game is much faster now because of a crackdown on hand-checking. Think about Bird trying to cover LeBron, Kevin Durant, Iguodala and your perspective on the awesomeness of the Celtics might change a bit.

I love the team. But it wasn't an outstanding road team, just a very good one, at 27-14. In the finals, a very flawed Rockets team came 4 points away from sweeping the three games they hosted in a series the Celtics won 4-2.

In that series, an athletic small forward named Rodney McCray had his way with Bird. He shot 59 percent, scored 5 points more a game (15 vs. 10) then in the regular season and was second-leading scorer behind Olajuwon but ahead of Ralph Sampson, far more famous and ballyhooed and an all-star that year.

Bird's inability to cover quick, fast 3s would be a much bigger liability with today's rules.

DCThrowback said...

Differences in culture on the US Olympic Men's Basketball team?

No way.

http://i.minus.com/ibmO6LORh2NBXI.gif

Anonymous said...

Dan,

I should not have said the booster base ignored it, just the board of trustees and a bunch of officials involved with Penn State football.
But please, the booster base continued to support Paterno and doubled down after he died. I don't want to make the point that this is a conservative problem as much as to point out Steve would easily have spun this in the other direction if it happened at some institution that was characterized as liberal

Camlost said...

The US team was undersized because of the Gasol brothers. If they had Dwight Howard they probably would've beaten Spain more soundly.

Dwight Howard's game doesn't work well in the international style of play, especially with the crazy officiating going on in the gold medal game. He's a terrible passer, can't run the high post or face the basket.

Dwight would've gotten 4 quick fouls and sat on the bench for the rest of the game.

Camlost said...

The '86 white Celtics wouldn't need flopper Laimbeer and his outside shooting. Give them Mark Eaton to share time with Walton and they are unbeatable.

This is nonsense. They didn't need another dud in the middle.

What the '86-'90 Celtics needed was a healthy Len Bias in the middle, to give some wing athleticism and to guard the other team's best perimeter player.

That's why they traded up to reach the draft spot where they selected Bias.

Sideways said...

Spain and Argentina would both beat that all-white American team. France might beat them, and I wouldn't be surprised of a team like Lithuania also did.

That is not a good national team. That's a lottery team in the NBA.

Anonymous said...

What do you make about the newfound dominance of the caribbean countries in short distance runs? It's not only Jamaica (population 3M), it's Grenada (pop. 110K) producing the 400m gold medal winner, the Bahamas (pop. 350K) winning the 4x400 (that means that such a small population could produce 4(!) quality runners), even the Dominican Republic, with 2 not-very-black runners winning the 400m hurdles, and silver in 400m.

john marzan said...

most on the white american players today who are not point guards are either spot-up shooters or "energy" guys (hansbrough, scalabrine, amundson)

Anonymous said...

That "two-deep" white team is pretty sorry, Love and Lee. Love has some nice parts of his game, but he probably doesn't make the Olympic team if Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin are healthy.

The guards are terrible. One poster here mentioned Jimmer would be a shooting guard. The fact he's even in the discussion shows how bad the state of white American basketball is. A lot of these guys are marginal starters or bench players. And they don't come close to matching Spain, France, Russian or Argentina. Against the real American team, they would have trouble getting the ball past half-court, literally.

There's a great article to be written on white American basketball. Its not like white people can't play the sport--Steve Nash, Dirk, Manu. And of course there were the '86 Celtics.

As for the facile explanation about black guys growing up in single parent homes and playing all day on outdoor courts in rough neighborhoods--no. These guys are playing in highly structured leagues for their schools and the AAU from junior high if not earlier.

There's an article to be written here if someone can come up with some good explanations.

Beecher Asbury said...

This is an interesting topic and I think similar ones have been discussed here in the past especially regarding white running backs.

In nations or sports where blacks are prevalent, whites are usually discouraged from entering disciplines dominated by blacks. Nations like Russia, however, having no blacks have to develop their own white sprinters who aren't discouraged from entering the discipline unlike potential white sprinters, d-backs and running backs in the US.

This basketball example is probably similar. Clearly the white Spaniards were able to play competitively with the blacks so one would think 200 million American whites would be able to produce an even better team than Spain.

I also think this type of problem is being seen in other areas like academics. It is tough to listen to Bill Gates and others lament that the US -(read whites)- are not producing enough STEM majors. Yet you don't have to go back very far to know that white Americans were very top notch STEM majors having sent men to the moon 40 years ago among other impressive achievements.

Now we are supposedly too stupid to major in STEM fields, and need immigrants to fill this shortage which seems to cause an even greater shortage and a need for ever more immigrants.

Yes there are lessons to learn here, but none will be because the net effect is that white Americans are being displaced. And to the powers that be, that means everything is A-OK.

Jeff said...

Spain has always been great at MotoGp and Spain can also lay claim to the best grand prix driver of the generation: Fernando Alonso. While these are not stick and ball sports, they remain insanely awesome and among the ultimate sporting challenges despite the concerted efforts to castrate each sport in the name of safety (largely calls made by jealous stick and ball sissies who know that basketball is nothing compared to eau rouge flat-out on the limit, in a death wish, where natural talent takes a back seat to commitment and desire to be the best; for proof watch uber-sissy Bryant Gumbel question the safety of the TT races on a recent episode of real sports - why would any man ever question the safety of motorcycle racing if that man is not intimidated by his comparative lack of bravado).

In any case, you don't have a lot of white basketball players because quite frankly white boys don't want to be surrounded by more athletic black boys. In the Gold-medal game, the Americans had some great fast break plays; not so for Spain. The athletic American version of the game is more compelling to watch. It is not as if white people can't play basketball well, it is that no one wants to watch the white game, when dunks are more fun to see. If the white game were far superior, in outcome, to the black game, then we would see some room for whites, but the game styles are probably equivalent in outcome, so people coach to black style, which is more fun. In any case, white people should be watching car racing or jet planes or anything that melds intelligence with talent and fortitude. That is the white advantage; not smarts, not athletic ability.

Anonymous said...

white Celtics of 1986 would kill the white NBA stars of 2012 for as long as Walton could stay on the court. Let the 1986 white Celtics have the 1986 Bill Laimbeer (led league in rebounding) to help out and it wouldn't be close

My guess would be exactly opposite. In every athletic game that I played seriously and understand reasonably well (that would be volleyball, soccer, tennis and badminton), there was a huge, huge progress in the past 25 years. The best of the best 25 years ago have a good chance to be perfectly mediocre today - but no more than that. No way basketball is an exception.



Anonymous said...

Good site on PEDs in sport:

http://www.tennishasasteroidproblem.blogspot.com/

On Serena Williams:

http://www.tennishasasteroidproblem.blogspot.com/2012/08/serena-williams.html

"October 26, 2011: Williams retreats to panic room and calls 911 when ITF doping control officer arrives for 6am out-of-competition test. No public comment made by Williams about the incident. ITF anti-doping statistics indicate that zero out-of-competition samples were collected from Williams in 2010 and 2011. No explanation given by ITF or Williams on why no sample was collected during panic room incident."

Steve Sailer said...

One big change in my lifetime is that blacks didn't play much defense in the 1960s and 1970s. The NBA All-Defense team was 3/5th white in 1977 and 1978. But then blacks put their mind to defense in the 1980s and quickly became much better.

Steve Sailer said...

One thing to keep in mind is that the NBA has always had a "sports entertainment" aspect to it, like the Globetrotters or professional wrestling. The season is ridiculously long and there are unwritten rules about what is done and not done, which change over time. For example, in 1962 when Chamberlain scored 100 points in one game, nobody played much defense at all. It just wasn't done. You saved your energy on defense for when you got the ball back.

But some rules don't really change, like the Lakers get the Big Man.

Anonymous said...

For example, in 1962 when Chamberlain scored 100 points in one game, nobody played much defense at all. It just wasn't done. You saved your energy on defense for when you got the ball back.

Yeah you see a lot of relatively uncontested fast breaks in the old clips. Lots of running back and forth.

Anonymous said...

Looks like if a game is called closer to the actual rules of basketball (instead of NBA rules), much of the racial gap is closed. I remember a game at the height of the Jordan era, where Sir Michael must have said something to tick off a ref. For three consecutive times downcourt the ref called Jordan for "carrying" whenever he tried to dribble. Jordan was getting ticked, but the ref just gave him a look that said "I can do this all night if that's what you want."

Under the actual rules of basketball (one step and a jump instead of the NBA's three steps), Patrick Ewing would have never had a college career much less an NBA one.

Dad said...

"This is nonsense. They didn't need another dud in the middle."

Another dud? Who of the '86 Celtic white big men could possibly be called a "dud?" Bird, Walton and McHale were all offensive powerhouses. Their only weakness would have been Walton's inability to play 40+ minutes.

"What the '86-'90 Celtics needed was a healthy Len Bias..."

No doubt, but Bias doesn't exactly fit the scenario we're talking about.

I got to see the '86 Celtics from just behind the bench at Boston Garden. Those were some big, talented guys. Walton was listed at 6-11 but was actually at least an inch taller than the 7-foot Parish.

Aaron B. said...

Did blacks get better at defense, or did the refs start allowing much rougher play, so defenders could rely on strength rather than needing to think ahead of their man and move their feet?

Good positional defense -- staying between your man and the basket, keeping your hands up and your weight on the balls of your feet, watching the point between your man and the ball -- is an unglamorous, exhausting, often thankless task that's only noticed when it fails. It forces poor outside shot selection and clock violations, rather than exciting blocks and steals.

In the 90s, they started allowing far more contact; hand-checking became arm-, leg-, and hip-checking; scoring went through the floor; and suddenly the "athletic" players were winning defensive awards. I'd submit that they didn't change; the refereeing did.

Anonymous said...

Steve I think you pegged it with the defensive aspect. Most white players nowadays are too slow and too soft for defense and rebounding. All they seem to be able to do is shoot. Which comes from hours alone in their drive way shooting. Growing up, as I did, in the city you have to play hard to stay on the courts.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Steve, what about the point that the article that inspired you to write this is completely off in context? The U.S. had already proven it could humiliate Croatia in 1992 with its first victory. It wasn't a priority in the gold medal game. Josh Levin isn't much of a "sports nut" if he doesn't know the history.

Steve Sailer said...

Walton is huge. He insisted on having himself listed at 6-11, but he was definitely taller in shoes.

Anonymous said...

"http://i.minus.com/ibmO6LORh2NBXI.gif"

My favorite part of the gif is Love just standing there while the whole rest of the team is doing the "Eastern Motors" dance.

Anonymous said...

The Minnesota Timberwolves will be running an interesting experiment this year with 9 out if there top 11 guys being white. Love, Rubio, Ridenour, Pek, Budlinger, Kirelinko, Shved, JJ barea, and some big dude who played for the Celtics last year. Only Derrick Williams and Brandon Roy figure to play and not be white. We're calling them the Cream Team

Anonymous said...

Whites(American) when they did play basketball, could be as good at offense as blacks, but they could never keep up with them on defense.

istevedissenter said...

I think Aaron B is onto something. Even blacks stars of the past, including an in-his-prime Michael Jordan, would have a very tough time playing in today's game where the court is dominated at all positions by power-forward types.

If you watch video of some of those classic Celtics-Lakers finals, the amount of movement in the game, the (seemingly) fast-paced play, and actual team strategies is amazing, whether black or white...but even this current game (say, late 90s to now) would not be welcoming to a guy like Magic Johnson.

Nowadays, teams seem to copy the early '90s Knicks: be as physically intimidating as possible and get the ball to your stars (or stars) so each offensive possession becomes a one-on-one affair. The pick-and-roll is as complicated as some teams' strategies get now; and there are no stars known for hookshots or their midgames and even the layup has disappeared...how many times do we have to watch botched dunks on break aways to see that the fundamentals have been thrown out to support a rather primitive
"patois" of what is possible with the rules and structure of the game.

Maybe it's time for the NBA to expand the size of the court, add a foot or two to the basket, and enforced actual basketball rules. The players may have become too big for the game (double double entendre and all.)

If you actually reset the parameters of the field of play to match the size and strength of today's players, you'd not only see more varied play but also an ethnic variation as well (if that be your concern.)

Anonymous said...

Well, I suppose you could apply a similar analysis to white US running talent. There used to be an abundance of white guys who could run a marathon in under 2:15. Frank Shorter was on top of the world with a personal best of 2:10, and he didn't look like some emaciated survivor of a death march.

Anonymous said...

Whites hit puberty later than blacks.

Camlost said...

Another dud? Who of the '86 Celtic white big men could possibly be called a "dud?" Bird, Walton and McHale were all offensive powerhouses. Their only weakness would have been Walton's inability to play 40+ minutes.

Greg Kite, Fred Roberts, Michael Smith (after 89) etc. etc.

The Celtics had a habit of picking up dud big men like these hoping that they would compliment the big 3 frontline somehow, despite said duds having terribly slow feet and awful hands. You must be out of your mind if you think that adding Mark Eaton would've helped the Celtics accomplish anything other than getting dunked on more.

Anonymous said...

Jim Bouton commented on it 45 years ago, and it remains the same today; any sport that is measured objectively (timed), yesterday's athlete pales in comparison to today's. Johnny Weissmueller (4 Olympic golds) could't qualify for a junior girl's race today. Babe Ruth never saw a splitter.

That said, Jayson Williams tells a story in his book, Loose Balls. The 76ers were playing the Celtics during his rookie year, and Bird was abusing Barkley, who came to the bench and told Jim Lynam that he was coming out. Lynam sent Williams in, and he was excited to cover Bird and shut him down with his superior physical skills (Bird by then was having serious back problems and nearing the end, retiring in 1992). First time down the court the ball came to Bird and when he turned and saw Williams, his eyes lit up. Williams said Bird spent the next 5 minutes going around him, over him and through him. That's when he said he learned that Isaiah Thomas was wrong and that Bird wasn't just a great white player, but just a great player. And that was when Bird need 2 hours of treatment before games just to play. Will can indeed be greater than skill.

Anonymous said...

"Whites hit puberty later than blacks."

After Asians too. And boys later than girls.

sunbeam said...

Leaving aside any physical attributes, the long and the short of it is that white kids don't really play basketball anymore.

That is my impression at least.

When I was a kid we played pickup and shot at the basket solo.

I'm not sure that the kids today I run into know what a game of horse is.

I'm old and dilapidated and I think I could take the 20 year old kids my nephews hang out with to the hole.

Very, very rarely I've seen this in the driveway shooting baskets for like 2 or 3 minutes. They look so clumsy and awkward. They don't have the slightest notion of how to shoot a jump shot or make a layup.

I know there are occasionally some white gym rat kids, and those who love the game.

But as a whole white people have kind of quit basketball, and honestly most sports. Now it seems as though you only get into something if you show signs (like great height or larger size) of being good at a sport, then you get pipelined in. The sports like golf and tennis are a little different, but show this effect.

Baseball and Football are prime examples of talent being developed by organized training programs.

Sports really aren't for the masses anymore. And I don't think modern kids have much real interest in them for their own sake.

Black people are different. They really seem focused on sports, to the detriment of other things they could accomplish.

Also, I'm no expert, but it has always seemed to me that if you were willing to put in the time, and had the height requisite Basketball puts less premium on raw athleticism than football and track honestly.

If a wide receiver runs a 4.4, you run a 4.6, and you can't knock him off his socks at the line of scrimmage, you can't cover him.

Period.

Whereas in Basketball you might be able to develop some skill that lets you make a contribution.

My 2 cents anyway.

Aaron B. said...

Yeah, white boys may still play basketball, but only as one of many sports, and rarely their main one. I don't think many are shooting around for hours every day because they've got nothing else to do and it's something you can do by yourself, the way Bird (and I) did. If I'd had a Nintendo (or whatever they have these days), I probably wouldn't have been out there playing Horse against myself rain or shine either.

Xavier McDaniel has a good Bird story too, about how Bird came out during a last-second timeout and told McDaniel something like, "I'm going to get the ball right here, and I'm going to shoot it from right there." Then he did, and won the game. I think Bird's whiteness actually makes people downplay his greatness, especially in retrospect. It's funny how many people think he couldn't dunk the ball, just because he didn't very often, and we all know White Men Can't Dunk.

The truth is probably that those teams wouldn't fare well in today's game, and today's players (I hesitate to call them "teams") wouldn't do well if they had to go back in time 30 years. The game has changed that much. They were mostly skinny beanpoles back then, with more strength in their ankles (rebounds) and forearms (shooting) than in their torsos, and they'd get mugged by today's players. But take today's players back to 1985, and Bird and Magic would run rings around them, beating them 50-12 after the first quarter, which is probably how long it'd take them to all foul out and have to forfeit.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

Steve, why haven't you posted a single note on the Penn State scandal. Considering sports makes up 15% of this blog's banter . . . its obvious you purposely avoided it.
Or this?
The link, which surfaced late Sunday, showed Peppers received some of his highest grades in classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM). A school investigation has since found fraud and poor oversight in 54 AFAM classes between summer 2007 and summer 2011, with football players making up more than a third of the enrollments and student-athletes making up 58 percent of the overall enrollments in those suspect classes.

ben tillman said...

Steve, why haven't you posted a single note on the Penn State scandal. Considering sports makes up 15% of this blog's banter . . . its obvious you purposely avoided it.

The UNC scandal is much closer to Steve's usual topics.

ben tillman said...

The '86 white Celtics wouldn't need flopper Laimbeer and his outside shooting. Give them Mark Eaton to share time with Walton and they are unbeatable.

How about giving them Mark Price? There's a guy who's underappreciated.

ben tillman said...

FYI- when Patoerno was coming up on the coaching ranks his nickname was The Rat- he's a really bad person.

Don't you think that nickname might have had something to do with his appearance?

ben tillman said...

most on the white american players today who are not point guards are either spot-up shooters or "energy" guys (hansbrough, scalabrine, amundson)

True. Chase Budinger is an exception, as is Kevin Love obviously. Who else?

Love has some nice parts of his game, but he probably doesn't make the Olympic team if Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin are healthy.


Wow -- Love is vastly superior to the overhyped Griffin.

MQ said...

Yeah, (genetically) white basketball has maybe never been better, but white American basketball has never been worse. That says something fundamental about environment and the role of developmental slots in fostering talent.

If you watch video of some of those classic Celtics-Lakers finals, the amount of movement in the game, the (seemingly) fast-paced play, and actual team strategies is amazing, whether black or white...but even this current game (say, late 90s to now) would not be welcoming to a guy like Magic Johnson. Nowadays, teams seem to copy the early '90s Knicks: be as physically intimidating as possible and get the ball to your stars (or stars) so each offensive possession becomes a one-on-one affair.

This is just completely untrue. People don't seem to watch the NBA these days, I see all these generalities that are completely inapplicable to today's game. The team game and the defensive game is very sophisticated and well played today. 'Heroball' is a bad word in the NBA. Really the heroball individualist style just flourished from about 1996-2003 or so. If you saw the (great) NBA playoffs this year you saw a final four all featuring superb team play, culminating with Lebron doing a great Bird / Magic imitation in picking apart OKC with pinpoint passing out of the post in the finals.

The pick-and-roll is as complicated as some teams' strategies get now;

There are some lame teams in the NBA for sure but the best teams bring pick-and-roll basketball to a very high level, with lots of options and sets. Really, pre-designed plays don't work too well because of the great athleticism of today's players, you need something which simultaneously organizes the offense and allows multiple and unpredictable options on each play. There is a lot of pressure on defenses to think on their feet in making rotations; there is a lot of complexity and it's easy to tell players with high basketball IQ from those with low b-ball IQ. For an example of a modern offense set, see Sebastian Pruiti discussing Miami .

how many times do we have to watch botched dunks on break aways to see that the fundamentals have been thrown out to support a rather primitive
"patois" of what is possible with the rules and structure of the game.


How can you say this after watching the shooting display from the US men's Olympic team this year?

Maybe it's time for the NBA to expand the size of the court, add a foot or two to the basket, and enforced actual basketball rules. The players may have become too big for the game (double double entendre and all.)

i do think expanding the size of the court is a good idea. Making the game 4 on 4 would also be a good way to effectively do that, but of course it will never happen.

If you actually reset the parameters of the field of play to match the size and strength of today's players, you'd not only see more varied play but also an ethnic variation as well (if that be your concern.)

Truth said...

This US Olympic team competed without arguably the best Center (Howard) 2 guard (Wade) and PG (Rose), and arguably the 2nd best PF (Griffin) in the world.

Essentially 3, maybe 4 starters.

Camlost said...

Whereas in Basketball you might be able to develop some skill that lets you make a contribution.

My 2 cents anyway.


The international basketball game is designed to minimize pure athletic prowess, in comparison to the NBA game. And the officiating in the international FIBA game goes along with that - i.e. FIBA refs allowing much more hand-checking outside the paint to slow penetration, but sometimes call everything in the paint to slow the game and up the number of foul calls.

If Spain had played the US under NBA rules, NBA 3-pt line and with NBA officiating they would have lost to team USA by 50 points.

Justin said...

Seems like no one remembers that 1992 was a down year for international basketball. The world powers throughout the 80s were USSR and Yugoslavia, both of whom broke up just in time for the 92 games. Even w/o the pro Serbians (like Divac), Croatia still managed to get silver. Likewise, unify Lithuania and Russia, for example, and you get a much better team.

As for Spain's "Golden Generation", it mainly boils down to one factor: Pau Gasol. Team USA only pulled ahead last week when Pau went down with that eye injury.

Likewise, Team USA's recent dominance boils down to one factor: Kevin Durant. Remove KD from the team, and they probably don't win gold in either '10 or '12. He simply carries them to victory.

Basketball is like that. The best player on the floor has a "disparate impact" that does not speak to average population potentials.

josh said...

Blacks hit puberty earlier...and they hit it harder.

pat said...

When I first watched the NBA on TV the TV was black and white and the best team (the Celtics) was white.

You never see basketball played that way anymore. The Celtics ran plays. The high point of the game were always the same. Russel (the one critical black) got a rebound and threw a full court pass to the player who had been left behind for an uncontested layup. Red Auerbach beamed.

But this "white" style of team play was doomed. Soon basketball bacame a showcase for individual jumping ability. A style that strongly favors blacks.

As I have written often before about Ninja Warrior, it is quite easy to develop sports that favor specific racial groups. Basketball was invented for whites but by chance it worked out to strongly favor blacks. You could redress the racial inequality by just a few adjustments.

Naismith set the basket at ten feet because he assumed that no one could jump that high. In those days you scored points with the two hand set shot. Put the basket as fifteen feet and make the ball a little bigger and the two hand set shot would return.

I can palm a basketball and I used to be able to jump. That meant that at one time I could dunk. But dunking strongly favors blacks. My basketball career such as it was was doomed when basketball emphasized running and jumping and dunking. When no one can dunk and set shots are easy to block the only way to score will be when elaborate multi player plays climax with someone left unguarded. Basketball would become more like soccer or waterpolo with infrequent scoring.

Whites would do well in that kind of game.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Whites hit puberty later than blacks.


That's a widely held belief in HBD-land. Is there any hard evidence that it is correct?

Anonymous said...

Blacks hit puberty earlier...and they hit it harder


It's debatable whether they hit it earlier, but they do not hit it harder.

helene edwards said...

Dennis Johnson was great. Bill Russell said the best NBA backcourt ever was D.J. and Gus Williams, for the Sonics.

Anonymous said...

But this "white" style of team play was doomed. Soon basketball bacame a showcase for individual jumping ability. A style that strongly favors blacks.


I think this is indisputably true. Which raises the question of "why?" Why did white Americans go along with changes in their sports which disfavored themselves?

One reason why Spain can be competitive with the US men's team is that the rules of international basketball are similar to the old rules of US basketball. In many cases the changes to the basketball rules in the US have been unofficial - the definition of traveling has not changed, but what US refs call as traveling has changed a great deal. US basketball has has been changed in a way which favors black players.

Instead of speculating about the psychology of young white American males as a reason for the scarcity of current white NBA stars, why not start shaming the NBA into enforcing its existing rules impartially?

Anonymous said...

The international basketball game is designed to minimize pure athletic prowess, in comparison to the NBA game.


You have that backwards. The international rules are basically the original rules of basketball. It is the NBA which has altered the rules in order to reward individual athleticism. In some cases the NBA has done this surreptitiously - that is, it still has the "correct" rules on the books, but it takes creative liberties when it comes to applying them.

This problem is compounded by the "star system" under which different rules apply depending on whether a player is a "star" or not. Was that an offensive foul we just saw? The answer has essentially nothing to do with the written rules of the game and everything to do with the salaries and reputations of the respective players involved.

The NBA isn't quite "professional wrestling", but it's a lot closer to it than football or baseball.

Anonymous said...

Wow -- Love is vastly superior to the overhyped Griffin.

Griffin is overhyped due to his dunks, but Griffin's career stats so far are better than Love's.

Griffin has averaged 21.7 ppg and 11.5 rpg. Love has averaged 17.3 ppg and 12 rpg.

Anonymous said...

"
That's a widely held belief in HBD-land. Is there any hard evidence that it is correct?"

Medically it's a fact. There are different protocols for "precocious puberty" based on race.

Anonymous said...

Spaniards got taller? Actually they now have the free time to spend on sports. After Franco died they could travel freely to master their sport. I do not believe there was malnutrition under Franco. Today both US and Spain may have nutritonal problems due to wealth.

Anonymous said...

"But this "white" style of team play was doomed. Soon basketball bacame a showcase for individual jumping ability. A style that strongly favors blacks."

This is so pitiful. It's white guys trying to find excuses as to why blacks do better. It's like blacks saying, 'but then intelligence came to a matter of memory and analysis, and so whites began to rule'.

What a lot of crock. No, blacks dominate basketball because they can handle the ball better, move faster, defend better, rebound better, fake better, psych out players better, etc. Before a player nears the basket to dunk the ball, he has to get there first. He needs speed, agility, strength, etc. And blacks have more of it.

White nationalist fool: "blacks win 100 m by running fast and turned it into a game of speed."

Anonymous said...

But this "white" style of team play was doomed. Soon basketball bacame a showcase for individual jumping ability. A style that strongly favors blacks.

Far from "indisputable" as one person above said, this is horseshit. When I see people saying stuff like this I know they haven't watched top-level NBA play (which massively emphasizes team play) for a decade or more.

Team play wins in the NBA, as in any good version of the game of basketball. Squads that rely on individual showboating lose. It's been that way for a while, especially so in the last decade. The rules changes -- which caused a renaissance of the point guard position, the prototypical team player -- made this even more true. The NBA rules do permit displays of athleticism, but a jump shot basket is still worth as much than a dunk.

Besides the evidence that comes from just watching the sport, if the NBA game is somehow 'fixed' compared to international play, it's sort of hard to explain the US NBA players 45-3 record in the Olympics since professionals entered the competition.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the white players of today have been so beaten down by the anti-white propaganda in the schools, media and society in general and girlfriends in particular that they are now eternally self-hating Caucasians and simply will themselves into failure. I don't care for or follow sports at all (I'm a 50 plus female, go figure) but I can't fathom why anyone gives a fig for sports when the world seems to be hanging like a dewdrop on the end of a blade of grass.

Anonymous said...

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/08/13/leftist_planet

How globerals think.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe the white players of today have been so beaten down by the anti-white propaganda in the schools, media and society in general and girlfriends in particular that they are now eternally self-hating Caucasians and simply will themselves into failure."

Uhhh, boo boo, it must be as bad as when blacks were discriminated against, constantly made fun of in the media, routinely referred to as enwerds, etc, etc. Gee, I wonder how blacks still managed to win in boxing and make such a fast climb in the sports world?

Yes, the Jewish-owned media shits on whites, but whites still have all the power and ability to make the difference. But they won't because many whites are having great run and raking in big bucks from the new order--notice that PC is the domain of privileged happy white liberals--or because they are weighed by the guilt cult in Christianity.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that blacks are more willing or likely than whites to do PEDs? I believe that the real difference in present and past athletes is PEDs and doping.

Dad said...

Greg Kite, Fred Roberts, Michael Smith (after 89) etc. etc.

Well, Eaton was not a great player. But he was much better than any of those guys. Maybe the flopper Laimbeer would have been a better fit on the hypothetical '86 white Celtics, but I just find the idea distasteful.

The Celtics had a habit of picking up dud big men like these hoping that they would compliment the big 3 frontline somehow, despite said duds having terribly slow feet and awful hands. You must be out of your mind if you think that adding Mark Eaton would've helped the Celtics accomplish anything other than getting dunked on more.

I probably am out of my mind. Who else, other than Laimbeer or Eaton is a good option at the backup center poition in this scenario?

sunbeam said...

For you guys disrespecting Mark Eaton, I think you have short memories.

His job wasn't to score, or pass much.

Not even rebound really, though you want him to do it.

His job was to block shots.

He is the only guy I've ever seen take away Kareem Abdul Jabbar's skyhook.

It was really odd to watch Kareem play against Eaton. He never looked comfortable in any game playing Utah.

Mark Eaton was a defensive force. 7'4" of something you couldn't move (unlike a lot of the really tall guys). Agile enough and he had the shot blocking knack.

Most NBA teams would have loved to have had him when he played.

Anonymous said...

A-saurus, if there's one thing the old Celtics were it wasn't white. They were the first majority black team, first team to start 5 blacks, and the first team with a black coach. For every John Havlichek there was a Sam Jones. For every Bob Cousy there was a Satch Sanders.

They are, however, the standard against which all other TEAMS are measured. Consider the difficulty of maintaining racial peace on a half black-half white team in the Sixties while winning 11 titles in 13 years. Consider what a set of balls Auerbach had to make Russell his coach in 1969.

Anonymous said...

Put the two paradoxes together and the solution is obvious: create the Carribean Carrion, Jamaican Jammers, Trinidadian Tridents, and Bahamas Badasses NBA franchises and you'll close both gaps.

Gilbert Pinfold.

Anonymous said...

Medically it's a fact. There are different protocols for "precocious puberty" based on race.


There is medical research on black girls hitting puberty earlier than white girls. (Much to the disadvantage of black girls, I might add) But I've never seen anything on white boys vs black boys. If your theory is correct than I'd expect to find that 12-year old black boys are significantly taller and heavier than 12-year old white boys. If anyone is aware of any research which found such a result, please share it.

Truth said...

"Consider what a set of balls Auerbach had to make Russell his coach in 1969."

Speaking of that, "strangely enough", no one here has yet credited the administrative and strategic genius that expertly helmed those early 80's Celtic teams...KC Jones!

I don't know if talented, star white basketball players have the "necessary, intellectual qualities" to succeed without a black coach.

FWG said...

Eaton was a very good defender. Here is the head-to-head matchup between the two:

http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=abdulka01&p2=eatonma01

Anonymous said...

Saying "40 million Spaniards" is quite an interesting statement around here,in Spain.If you are in your thirties,you learnt that number in school,just like your parents did.It´s just in the last ten or fifteen years that we somehow added seven million more souls.In theory,because it´s probably around ten.(Do your rule of three for the next few decades).The question is,you can shoot quite an un-PC claim implicitly by saying that.It would even be safe among female co-workers,liberal professors and all those Stasi-like situations,because the number is just something rote learnt in school.

War Lord said...

"What a lot of crock. No, blacks dominate basketball because they can handle the ball better, move faster, defend better, rebound better, fake better, psych out players better, etc. Before a player nears the basket to dunk the ball, he has to get there first. He needs speed, agility, strength, etc. And blacks have more of it."

Most of what you said is crap that is not based on any evidence, but on silly comments of Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder. But I have already got used to it and I understand that you US whites are a poor brainwashed human group. However, as for your claim that a basketball "needs speed", why aren't basketball players built like sprinters then? And why aren't they built like jumpers, when they need "jump high"? Well, these are probably too intellectual questions. 99% of US whites know nothing about the physiology of the sport.

Anonymous said...

Not enough focus on the drugs in this thread. The classic era players were string beans because they didn't juice.

Go watch a natural bodybuilding competition. The guys are essentially normal size. There is no way to bulk up and stay lean without drugs.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Seen this?

French former tennis pro Yannick Noah basicly indicted all of Spain's main athletes of doping use.

http://www.4dfoot.com/2011/11/21/yannick-noah-ties-spanish-football-triumphs-to-doping/

Of course, Noah seems to be exaggerating, but one thing he said sticks: how come Spain suddenly starts dominating world soccer and tennis, while France is left behind? For that last remark I also wonder what exactly is going on in Spain.

Especially if anyone remembers just how lackluster their underperformance was in world and eurocups -- a mere six years ago.

Anonymous said...

"strangely enough", no one here has yet credited the administrative and strategic genius that expertly helmed those early 80's Celtic teams...KC Jones! I don't know if talented, star white basketball players have the "necessary, intellectual qualities" to succeed without a black coach.


Touche! :)

Anonymous said...

I´m a bit late for this,but...isn´t the childish reaction from France´s part outright obvious?If the chauvinistic babies lose,the others must be cheating,sure.Besides,Spain´s position in soccer and tennis is of course anything but sudden.There wasn´t a boom of interest in basketball in Spain until the eighties,so I guess it was natural to wait for a generation who grew up playing in the schoolyard to catch up.Not that I give a damm about these sports or this kind of national pride...for me,the french´s whine was a funny as the Spaniards who believed that Contador was innocent and got intoxicated by a steak.



http://www.theworld.org/2012/02/french-les-guignols-de-linfo-spain/