I don’t watch basketball and never have. I don’t like the game on purely technical grounds, so I know next to nothing about how it works. And, frankly, I don’t care. I can tell you that, on game night, the parking lot of the basketball arena of the university I attended looked like Haiti after the earthquake, complete with moaning wounded and uniformed white saviors.
But the article above is so culturally revealing in what it is careful NOT to say that I thought it would be illustrative to point out what’s missing and why that’s so important. Also, the careful way the author treads on the issues I’ll mention tells me that he and his ilk know exactly what’s going on in America at large.
First of all, basketball has never been the big draw sport that baseball and football are. It, like hockey, resides in a sort of ghetto of relative disinterest. Hockey, for the most part, is interesting only to those people who live in “hockey regions” and in those cities where teams reside. Hockey has limited demographic and geographic appeal. Basketball, likewise, is interesting only to blacks and white people seemingly immune to innate black obnoxiousness. Citified, dumb white liberals, in other words. You know, the kind of white people that listen to rap music (but eventually outgrow it).
This is interesting, as my late grandmother once told me that basketball, when she was young, was considered a game for nerdy intellectual sorts. The sorts who went on to major in engineering, etc.
The “racialization” of basketball is conscious or, at the very least, not being discouraged.
The author laments the NBA’s declining popularity with middle-class whites, and cites the following reasons for it:
1. The NBA is about egotistical showboating, not teamwork–At one time, professional basketball was a team sport, the author insists, but now it’s all about the LeBrons. Translation: Ghettofied. Blacks have a hard time doing anything without insisting upon special attention, privilege and deference. Watch this footage of a man “putting his offering in the basket” at church:
2. Labor disputes make the players look like spoiled punks–Middle class whites, in general, aren’t union-crazy like they once were, especially when the behavior of union-protected minorities gets on their radar. Add to that the effect of the unionized minorities being 7-foot-tall, tattooed, foul-mouthed, woman beating, coach-assaulting, gun-toting, serial illegitimate babydaddy millionaires, and it becomes easy to see why Brad and Rachel aren’t watching like they once were.
3. The players aren’t about the communities they play in–The author’s example Boston Celtics were once, if not Bostonians, at least friendly to the peculiar culture of the city. Now, they just fly in for games, win or lose and then disappear. They are contract labor in to do a job and get out.
All of this translates into what people like me have been saying for years: Whites and Blacks are the products of two different cultures. The “blacker” you make something, the fewer whites will partake. And how do you “blacken” something? Well, just do what the NBA has done to basketball. Make it about the flashy, slam-dunking showboat and not the methodical, quick-passing team effort. Excuse and encourage violent, hypersexual, contemptuous behavior. And, of course, never demand that the products of the ghetto rise above their roots and adopt some sort of universally identifiable dignified behavior.
In other words, do just what has been done and what is being done to American culture at large.