Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Basketball Rodriguez-Jones?

I would rather watch the Kansas City Royals play the Oakland A’s than any NBA game, including the playoffs. I have always loved professional baseball and used to like basketball as well. But the team-oriented sport of Magic’s Lakers, Bird’s Celtics, Isaiah’s Pistons and Dr J’s 76ers has devolved into a one on one showboating parody of the sport. Shack started backing defenders down in the post literally mugging them with his backside and it wasn’t ever called. Now everyone does it. I have never understood what is a foul and what isn’t. And don’t get me started about travelling. I have actually tried to watch some of the playoffs and only made it through the Boston-Miami game where Rondo got mugged by Wade in the last moments which was not called and Wade driving for a layup kicked Garnett and Garnett was called for the foul. I turned off the TV in disgust. I would have done the same regardless of the team since I don’t have a dog in the hunt. While watching some of one of the games between the Spurs and the Thunder, I noticed that at one point seven players were on the floor who were born outside the continental US. We’ve come a long way from where there were so few foreigners playing US basketball. Remember when Detlef Schrempf was a novelty and when his University of Washington team played at Duke, the Dookies chanted “Luftball”? Well the players on the court in the NBA game were: San Antonio Spurs Boris Diaw – France Tim Duncan – US Virgin Islands Manu Ginobili – Argentina Tony Parker – France Tiago Splitter – Brazil Oklahoma Thunder Serge Ibaka – Congo Thabo Sefolosha – Switzerland What does it mean that at the highest level of the sport, there are so few native born players playing? Sport has always been a vehicle for the lower economic classes to make it. Boxing has been the province first of immigrants, then blacks and now Hispanics. Baseball was first a sport whose stars were lower class southern whites, then blacks and now again Hispanics. Today, the most common names in major league baseball are Gonzalez and Rodriguez. Basketball has been a sport dominated by blacks and is the one sport that has relatively few Hispanics. I guess that there are not many seven foot Mexicans or Dominicans. After the southern universities integrated, their rosters were transformed from all white to mostly black. It still tickles me to see Ole Miss play Mississippi State with 10 blacks on the floor and the TV announcer saying “here come the Rebels!” However, the early entry of players into basketball has deteriorated the quality of the sport at both the college and the pro levels. There are no more fundamentals taught at either level. Do you think that is why suddenly foreigners are now starting to be so numerous among our best players?

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