Boston Celtic basketball
legend Larry Bird and Green Bay Packer great Paul
Hornung recently incurred the wrath of the sports
scribblers for speaking frankly about the Great American
Hornung lost his job broadcasting Notre Dame games
for saying back in March that, because the Fighting
Irish have some of the strictest academic entrance
standards for football players in the country, they are
routinely beaten by the speedsters at anything-goes
colleges like Miami U.
“We can`t stay as
strict as we are as far as the academic structure is
concerned because we`ve got to get the black athletes.
We must get the
black athletes if we`re going to compete."
Rhoden at the New York Times immediately
"Hornung`s remarks were an insult to every
athlete—black and white—who ever played for the
university, earned a degree and added to its football
Has Failed to Meet Standard of Common Sense:
April 1, 2004,
Calling for lower standards in the future in order to
widen the pool of athletes eligible to be admitted to
Notre Dame is a compliment to black grads of the
past. As we now know, they were (mostly) admitted and
earned a degree under
higher standards than those of most colleges.
these nice liberals screaming at Hornung for saying that
Notre Dame should lower its standard to admit more black
strongly approve of Notre Dame
lowering its standards to admit more black non-athletes.
called affirmative action!
white-black gap in average SAT score is 206 points
(see page 11 of this 820k College Board [PDF])
causes all sorts of fascinating problems for
universities that have both high standards in the
classroom and high hopes on the football field. But the
gridiron scribes don`t want you to hear about them.
read all my comments on the Hornung brouhaha
here, including the inside story on how the Fighting
Irish`s last national championship was won back in 1988
temporarily lowering admissions standards to get top
black athletes like quarterback Tony Rice.)
recently, sportswriters turned their mindless rage on
the great Larry Bird for his crime of telling the truth.
“… as we all know, the majority of fans
are white America. If you just had a couple of white
guys in there [in the NBA], you might get them a
“But it is a
black man`s game, and it will be forever.”
didn`t want a white guy guarding me, because it`s
disrespect to my game.”
“I mean the
greatest athletes in the world are African-American.”
He`s right, of course. I
covered this issue in depth in one of my best
National Review articles way back in 1996: "Great
Black Hopes.” As you can tell just by
noticing the greater average
muscle definition of black athletes, there are
genetic differences between the races that give
blacks, on average, more explosive muscularity of the
kind that basketball, football, and
sprinting particularly require.
Truth, however, is not a
defense in America`s race wars. In a typical reaction,
Ignorance and Arrogance Collide, Live and Off-Color,
[ June 10,
Free version]New York
Times columnist Selena Roberts whined:
“Do broadcasters and beat
reporters need a `dump` button for raving sports icons,
too? Didn`t … Bird hear? The anything-goes
entertainment culture of insensitivity is out.
Self-censorship is in… Bird`s offensive lapse was out
Hmmm. What would H.L. Mencken
say about newspaper reporters who vilify the rare honest
source who doesn`t just give them same the old soft
theme in sportswriters` complaints last week was that
Bird, who has been a successful NBA coach and is now the
president of the Indiana Pacers franchise, is a poor
white trash inbred retard straight out of the movie
columnists, in contrast, all have doctorates in
Mike Vaccaro in the New York Post
hyperventilated about “logic-challenged hayseeds like
Larry Bird espousing his own strange brand of
But the truth is anything Mr.
Bird says about basketball deserves respectful analysis.
Let`s take it from the top:
more white American stars help slow the
rapidly-declining popularity of the NBA?
(U.S. ratings for the NBA Finals have fallen by
half since peaking in 1998)?
Sure it would!
It`s amusing to hear the same people who constantly
accuse whites of being racist to then turn on a dime and
say whites aren`t the slightest bit ethnocentrist.
The NY Times` Selena
Roberts cites the popularity of 7`-5″ Yao Ming as an
example of how fans are completely colorblind. But of
course Yao`s advertising appeal isn`t based on his
performance (he`s a fine young player who may well
mature into a mainstay of the league, although he`s not
there yet). It`s the fact that he`s a
really tall Chinese guy.
The NBA front office loves Yao
because a billion
ethnocentric Chinese people love Yao. That
translates into all sorts of NBA-licensed crud they can
sell to the China market (although Red China`s
penchant for intellectual property theft might put a
dent in their sales forecasts).
the NBA`s popularity in other countries is fueled by an
increase in the number of
foreign players making it in the NBA.
White Americans are hugely
less ethnocentric than the Chinese. Indeed, they are
probably the most
colorblind people on Earth (although that`s not
necessarily saying much). But they aren`t completely
lacking in normal human feelings.
White Americans only make up
about 12% of the NBA. African-Americans are
77%. Worse, following the retirement of the great
point guard John Stockton, white Americans supply almost
none of the stars. The only white American to play in
the All Star Game the last two seasons has been Brad
Miller, hardly a household name. The closest thing to a
charismatic white American star is Canadian Steve Nash.
Some of the fun of being a
sports fan is dreaming that somebody personally
connected to you—your cousin`s hotshot young nephew, or
whoever—might someday make it big. Indeed, one reason
African-Americans are such fanatical NBA fans is because
so many of them really do have some kind of
semi-intimate connection to a basketball star. But, if
you are a white American, that seems more and more like
a pipe dream.
For example, during my youth I
knew about a dozen kids who went on to play minor league
baseball, about three who made it to the majors, and one
who earned the Cy Young Award.
But I`ve never known anyone
who became an NBA player. I doubt I ever will.
white American fans be satisfied with the rapidly rising
number of white European, Turkish, and Argentinean
now make up 45% of the white players and most of the
I doubt it. White
Americans tend to like African-American a lot more than
they like white Europeans. As we`ll see at the Olympics
this summer, for white Americans, patriotism tends to
trumps racialism, although the latter is hardly
whites who grow up in Serbia and Lithuania, thousands of
miles from any blacks, doing better at the black man`s
game than whites who grow up just 20 miles away from the
Partly, I blame the
adjustable height backboard poles that infest so
many driveways lately. Too often I see white kids
imitating their black heroes by dunking on eight foot
baskets, rather than practicing the outside shots on
regulation ten foot baskets that might get them to the
Larry Bird was the classic
example of “White
Men Can`t Jump.” But that didn`t stop him
–because he didn`t try to play the black aerial game.
Or perhaps white parents are
keeping their sons away from basketball because of its
players` (deserved) reputation for thuggishness.
Witness the new book
Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA`s Culture of Rape,
Violence, and Crime by
Jeff Benedict. The blurb`s startling summary
"Based on a first-of-its-kind investigation into the
criminal histories of 177 NBA players from the 2001–2002
seasons, Out of Bounds shows that an alarming
four out of every ten NBA players have a police record
involving a serious crime."
revealed, "I just didn`t want a white guy
guarding me, because it`s disrespect to my game," I
suspect he was thinking more about the end of his career
than the beginning. It was certainly no sign of
disrespect in 1979 when the 76ers assigned to him the
Great White Defender
Bobby Jones, who made the first team of the NBA`s
All-Defensive squad eight years in a row, from 1977
through 1984. Up through that era, whites were typically
seen as tending to be the more tenacious defenders.
Blacks were seen as the greater offensive threats, but
as frequent slackers on defense.
Celtics superstar Charles Barkley
joked about Bird`s comments: "I`ll tell you what
was really funny was . . . we always thought it was an
insult when they put [Bird] on one of us, because
he was the worst defensive player ever." But in
fact, Bird made the second team of top defenders three
times early in his career.
white has been named to the
All NBA Defensive First Team since Mark Eaton in
1989 (unless you want to count mulattos Jason Kidd and
Doug Christie as more white than black). As recently as
`77 and `78, whites made up a majority of the first team
(Jones, Bill Walton, and Don Buse in both years).
Something good happened,
though, to make defense fashionable among blacks –
perhaps it was the John Thompson-Pat Ewing teams at
Georgetown U. in the early 1980s. The huge improvement
in black defensive play greatly raised the overall
quality of NBA games over that seen in the mediocre
But eventually the trend went
too far. Blacks stopped practicing their shooting skills
in favor of nonstop scrimmaging, so free throw and field
goal percentages plummeted. Thus you see car crash games
like the last of the Eastern Conference Finals, where
neither team scored 70 points.
You only get good at defense
by playing against others. You only get good at shooting
practicing by yourself. Of course, whites tend to
have more driveways where they can perfect their
shooting mechanics, but there are personality
differences as well that push the races in different
directions. Blacks tend to be more gregarious and thus
prefer playing games to working out alone, while more
whites are loners.
Unfortunately, the utter
triumph of black basketball culture has damaged the game
over the last decade. It has pushed it too far toward a
contest of full-body athleticism, at which blacks
dominate, rather than of hand-eye coordination, at which
the races are more equal—with Bird being the
all-time Grand Master.
Worse, the post-Michael Jordan
generation of black players grew up listening to
gangsta rap, which consists in large measure of
young black men boasting how they have murdered
other young black men who didn`t subordinate
themselves to them. (If you have a strong stomach, check
out the lyrics to, for example, NWA`s epochal “Straight
Outta Compton.”) Not surprisingly, this kind
of culture is not conducive to strong team play on
So much of the modern NBA game
consists of four players standing around on one side of
the court while one guy with the ball on the other side
of the court tries to manufacture a shot.
Off the court, much of the
news consists of self-destructive
Kobe-and-Shaq-style bickering between teammates over
who should get the ball the most and who is The Man on
This has provided an opening
for European whites, who like to work on their shooting
and don`t mind playing as a team.
This lead to
the ultimate question:
white American superstar ever return to the NBA?
Baseball is trying to lure black youths back to baseball
RBI program (“Reviving Baseball in the Inner
City”). The NBA should at least begin a national
conversation about why there are so few top white
there is a problem with
free discussion: some people might not like the
can`t understand basketball today without thinking about
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and