Racism: Basketball and White Players Essay

Submitted By Monicaveex33
Words: 1099
Pages: 5

Racism Critics over the years have said that the NBA has become increasingly racist due to the composition of its players. The vast majority of the NBA players are African American, but racism is not the reason. Basketball is more deeply embedded in African American culture. One of the main indications that racial differences are present in basketball is because 83 percent of the players in the NBA alone are African American. Over time, basketball has been said to evolve, and eventually become a “black-mans game,” just as whites have dominated the “country club” sports. Basketball mainly reflects black ghetto culture, just as jazz and blues music embodied black culture in the past. The game of basketball often brings the black-man to mind, because blacks predominantly play it; however, environmental reasons play a huge role in the success of blacks in basketball. Many players, coaches, and reporters of basketball label the black style of the sport as “city, playground, or ghetto” ball while calling the white style

“noncity or blue collar.” These terms, although stereotypical, show the stylistic diversity between black and white players and bring up a theory of environmental influences of a basketball player. Usually, black players learn the game of basketball under different conditions than white players, so it is projected that the different playing surroundings in “black and white communities” lead to different playing styles, rules, abilities and understandings of the game.


Typically in inner cities, there are few basketball courts provided for large amounts of basketball players. This tends to result in players competing for time on the courts. Mainly due to economic reasons, basketball is one of the most popular sports for “inner city males,” and large numbers of players crowd the courts in hopes of getting some limited playing time to improve their skills. This crowding could, and usually does lead to intense competing for spots on teams. Over time, rules and “norms” are established to handle the plenty of contenders on the courts. This insures that the best players are able to practice and get the most playing time. One of the main problems for rural, small town communities is the lack of players rather than the lack of courts. In suburban communities, where many whites learn the game, it is very hard to simply go outside and play a pickup game. A player during the off-season is more likely to join another sport instead of focusing on basketball. If a player does not join another sport, he or she will probably practice by himself or herself on a lone court or on a driveway. For those athletes who are devoted to basketball year round, it is very difficult to round up enough players to continually play games. Because of the scarcity of players, most option out to individual practice. The hours of practicing alone are critical and helps develop and shape the representative “white players” style. Because of the constant competition that inner city kids face, the player’s skills are developed in ways that reflect the demand of competition. City


players learn to accept contact in the game of basketball because it is routine for them. The “jostling, bumping, and hacking,” are vital for any good basketball player and to develop successful skills, the player will need to be able to accept the physical requirements of the game. The blacks that learn how to play under pressure and expand their skills naturally in competition may be able to keep control over the ball when being attacked by a defender, and learn to shoot better when under pressure rather than a suburban basketball player. Since non-city players will usually develop their skills not under pressure, he will most likely not practice defending the ball and shooting when being guarded. Because of this, most whites will usually be behind on the skills that blacks have because they did not grow up mastering the skills simply because they were never