Basketball’s back! And so are we.
Abridged, but fairly representative.
old batman (41 people)
why is the nba lockout happening (13)
brandon roy crying (7)
kobe crying (6)
kobe crying spurs (6)
kobe bryant hates gays (4)
appleseed cast middle states (3)
hockey basketball (3)
deadpool porn (2) (wtf?)
ffat captain america (2)
baby baby ooh dwight (2)
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white guy plays for sacramento kings (2)
funny ass dominican picture (2)
my last (2)
kobe fuck (2)
rondo on dudes neck high school (2)
do gay people actually care what kobe bryant said (1)
bitches love hoops (1)
gay black dressed up as superman on howard stern (1)
somewheredeep down in my heart (1)
gay people fucking (1)
nba typos (1)
the swept my knicks. (maybe i did) but i did something constructive with my time like root for (1)
diversity bullshit (1)
its not about athletism it’s all about heart (1)
bears, bears will tear us apart webcomic (1)
you boundary fucking faggots anger me, (1)
dominance matrices on sport (1)
“serbian guy” (1)
using reading redux in a sentence (1)
big old penis (1)
does the nba hire entry level attorneys (1)
This American Life’s piece on flopping in the NBA, and the story fans tell themselves about its origins. It’s one act in an excellent episode about crybabies, which you can hear in its entirety here.
Ira Glass: Sports, of course, is a place where there are some of the biggest crybabies. And in professional basketball, in the NBA, there’s a kind of institutionalized crybabying called “the flop,” which has not always been part of the game. One of our producers, Alex Blumburg started to wonder if the story that basketball fans tell themselves about the origins of the flop is even true.
Alex Blumberg: This story is almost hardened conventional wisdom among NBA fans. If you search on the internet, you’ll find all sorts of versions of this story. It’s best summed up by Bill Simmons. He wrote, “The single most disgusting NBA development of the past few years: the flopping. Slowly, regretfully, inexplicably, the sport is morphing into soccer.” And that’s because, if you watched the World Cup, you would see regularly in game after game a guy dribbling the ball, and all of a sudden he would crash to the ground, throw up his arms, roll around grabbing his ankle, writhing in pain. And then they’d show the replay and you’d see that nobody touched the guy. He’d just fall over. And that happened every single game.
Ira: And in soccer there are players known as being great floppers. The word flop really comes from there.
Alex: It’s clearly part of the game in soccer. And so the story goes that as more and more Europeans started playing NBA basketball – Europeans had been raised in the culture of soccer, they all embraced the culture of the flop, and when they started playing basketball, they brought it with them to the NBA.
Ira: So if this convetional wisdom were true, it means that somewhere there’s a patient zero, who is carrying the virus from European soccer into American basketball. Do we know who that patient zero is?
Some choice quotes below from Spiegel’s incredible interview with Dirk Nowitzki. Dude continues to win us over.
Nowitzki: […] Of course it fills me with pride to hear that fans in Germany got up at 2 a.m. to watch our games and that they celebrated the championship in my hometown of Würzburg as if Germany had just won the football World Cup.
Nowitzki: But soon I will have lived in America for 13 years. At the beginning I was condescended to and laughed at. “The nice boy from Germany will never make it,” people said. Still, I never gave up. Now, I have been celebrated by 250,000 people in Dallas at the championship parade. That was an unbelievably intense feeling. I trembled.
SPIEGEL: You are now a.
Nowitzki: To be honest, I slowly have the feeling that I’m not cut out for such moments.
SPIEGEL: What do you mean?
Nowitzki: Well, at the very least I don’t behave terribly competently. I feel ashamed when the entire focus is on me. I think people can see that. In public appearances, I am stiff as a board.
Warning: Ridiculous idea below the jump, advocating the players create a new league in which the 30 best NBA players are franchise owners. This idea is inane, unrealistic, half-baked, and purely indulgent. It is also brilliant.
If you’ve just tuned in, our debate is currently centered around the following question: Why are there not more female referees, coaches or general managers in the NBA?
And relatedly: Is it legit to criticize a higher-ed diversity institution’s decision to award the league an “A” rating?
Paolo, the “missing truths” that you point out are largely irrelevant, or only serve to illustrate the depth of the problem. I’ll start with your mention of men’s superior athletic capabilities. This may indeed be a reality, but by no means does it follow that men thus make better cops and soldiers. Brute strength may contribute to success in such positions, but there are other, equally important attributes: intelligence, strategic thinking, quick wits, a critical eye are a few that come to mind. It should go without saying that this is true of referees, coaches and general managers as well (these positions actually require little-to-no athleticism, but a lot of analytic and communicative skills).
There’s a lot of literature on how men and women think differently, by way of both genetics and sociology (see, for instance, the debate over women’s jurisprudence). Sports teams spend enormous amounts of energy exploring tiny potential competitive advantages. To the extent that we can agree that women bring different skills to the table, it seems obvious that involving them in a team’s strategic thinking stands to be an advantage. It seems equally obvious that a woman is bound to be the most qualified person for positions that require such diverse skill sets at least some of the time.
A quick digression: It’s worth exploring more carefully how we, as a society, create narratives about what makes for a competitive advantage, and how gender plays into that. This mainstream notion of female competitive inferiority isn’t limited to athleticism — it also figures prominently in how we think about female politicians (Hillary comes to mind: will she make the tough decisions when it counts? Can she stand up to the mockery of sexist foreign officials?), stock brokers, lawyers…Of course, these narratives also influence women’s career decisions. I’ll keep this can of worms closed for now.
Returning to the substance of your response: I’m equally put off by the experience argument, and I think a single example is suffice to counter it: Nancy Lieberman is a proven champion at every level of hoops, and she’s played at high levels with men. Stan Van Gundy, on the other hand, played a little ball in college. Yet it’s still seen as roof-shattering progress when Lieberman manages to earn the respect of a couple D-Leagers. I’m not at all sold that the NBA hires, as you posit, “based on quality alone.”
To return to your first point: Yes, Christian white males generally dominate positions of power. Of course this isn’t just an NBA issue. My problem here is that a higher-ed institution tasked with advocating diversity is handing out an “A” to a league that is still a boys’ club. In theory, this grade should have some weight, signifying that this organization is an exemplar in a fucked-up world; that we’ve achieved our goals of equality. This is not the case. Not even close. It’s bullshit, and I insist on holding both academia and professional sports to a higher standard.
The University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport recently awarded the NBA with an “A” rating in racial and gender diversity.
The Boston Globe reports, “Thirty-six percent of the professional positions in the league office are held by people of color, while women held 42 percent of the professional positions. Thirty-three percent of the coaches and 26 percent of the GMs are people of color. All these categories are higher than in any other men’s professional league.”
Sorry to state what should be obvious, but that’s not nearly good enough.
There are eight general managers of color. One black owner (Michael Jordan). And zero female coaches.
In fact, the league’s visible female figures consist of (1) Jeannie Buss: daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss, famous for posing for Playboy and being more qualified than her brother, Jimmy, who will likely assume control of the team; and (2) Violet Palmer, a.k.a. “Queenie”: the NBA’s sole female referee.
I find it offensive that we’re talking about 30-40 percent numbers in this day and age, much less applauding them. Not to mention that women are still paid lackluster wages to dance in swimsuits during timeouts (Laker girls made $85 a game as of 2000).
Better than the other major leagues does not mean the job is done.
Asked why there have been no other female referees hired since 1997, Palmer once joked, “I guess I set the bar pretty high.”
We really could set it a lot higher.