What's With All Of The White Basketball Player Talk All Of A Sudden?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Who knew that a great center winning the Player of the Year award in College Basketball would cause such great controversy? Of course I'm talking about no other than UNC's Tyler Hansbrough and his umm, caucasianess.

Everything was going along swimmingly in the tournament and all the number one seeds were advancing with ease like they should. That's when Jay Bilas decided to go overboard in praising one player and the flood gates opened up. So much so that he's emailing reporters from the Baltimore Sun and ESPN employees are calling each other out. Where do I even start? Let's go in chronological order....

1) Last Week: Skip Bayless and Rob Parker dismiss Tyler Hansbrough for his whiteness. Let's Go To The Videotape!

Now there's a few problems with this (not Rob Parker calling Eric Montross, Eric Mondross). Yes it's idiotic, but it's borderline racist. And ESPN's LZ Granderson was there to explain....
Could you imagine what would happen if Hollywood released a comedy about football entitled "Black Men Can't Throw"? Rush Limbaugh would be sitting in the theater chuckling with a box of Ho Hos in his lap as movie execs tried to explain to Jesse Jackson and/or Al Sharpton why he/they should not be offended. Yet men and women of both races who are otherwise intelligent not only embrace the notion inherent to "White Men Can't Jump," but it is spoken about as if it's scientific fact.

This is true in the barbershop.

This is true at the local Y.

Apparently it's true on national television as well.

Just last week I watched a pair of journalists dismiss the pro potential of both Tyler Hansbrough and Kevin Love for no other reason than their skin color.....

......If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, racial reconciliation is a two-way street. You can't say Hansbrough won't make a good NBA player because he's white unless you are prepared to also say Oregon's Dennis Dixon won't make a good NFL quarterback because he's black. For every Larry Bird there is a Doug Williams. For every Big Country there is a Stanley Roberts. You'd think we'd figure that out by now, but apparently not.
It almost seems as if ESPN might be pushing the race angle just to get controversy doesn't it LZ? I mean why else would you bring up race when it has nothing to do with anything right (*ahem* Jemele Hill!)? There is a time and place for race discussions but when you force the issue it just comes across as callous and petty. Yes there is a problem, and yes there are biases towards black athletes, but drawing attention to it in this light only makes it worse.

So with that out of the way let's move onto the completely separate issue of Jay Bilas.

2) Jay Bilas goes gah-gah over Hansbrough and Baltimore reporter calls out Bilas and hints at racism.

Via the Baltimore Sun....
Here's some of what Bilas had to say: "He's not supposed to be able to make those [shots from beyond 15 feet]. ... He's willing the ball into the basket. ... His will exceeds his skill, and his skill is considerable. ... Michael Jordan did not out-compete Tyler Hansbrough -- no way."

The problem is hearing the hosannas for Hansbrough with an ear for what has come before. We're back in familiar territory here. The star white player -- no matter how clearly talented -- has somehow elevated himself through the sweat of his brow. The star black player, meanwhile, is doing amazing things on the court because his talent is carrying him.
Here's the thing. Sure Bilas went over the top when praising Hansbrough EVERY SINGLE play, but there's nothing wrong with an announcer marvelling at a player's ability. It happens all the time regardless of race and I've heard Bilas praise numerous players both black and white. It's just the amount of times he did so and at the oddest times that made it stick out to everyone. Here's what Bilas had to say in response to the above statement....
Please accept this in the spirit it is intended. I respect your opinion and judgment, and I would never contact you to question your likes or dislikes regarding broadcasts, broadcasters or the like.

However, I do take exception to your implication that the comments regarding Tyler Hansbrough were racially motivated. If you recall, I compared Hansbrough favorably to the hardest worker and greatest competitor the game has known, Michael Jordan. If you will recall as well, I have praised Curry all season for being a smart player and one that really knows how to play. I have praised countless others for their work ethics.

Reasonable minds can differ on the matters we normally discuss. However, the implication from your point that was directed toward me is offensive and contrary to clear evidence. Such matters require a higher level of discussion, in my judgment, and I believe your blog item regarding me was incorrect and unfair.
Good for Bilas. Broadcasters will always be biased over certain players and teams because that's who they enjoy, played for, or grew up with. Some are obviously worse then others (*ahem* Mike Patrick), but they're human. The fact that Bilas is praising an individual player at UNC when he went to Duke should speak volumes for his credibility if you ask me.

I don't mind race coming up and/or discussing it, but when media members use it to gain attention (when it clearly doesn't need to be brought up) it really really bothers me. No matter if said media member is black, white, or green.

Jay Bilas Responds (Baltimore Sun)
Who says white men can't jump? (Page 2)


AA, I used to listen to "Parker and the Man" which is a radio show that got cancelled in Detroit (I think it's back up on AM radio).

But anyway, Rob Parker is one of the more biased individuals when it comes to race. He accused J.D. Drew once of getting a "white man's contract". It became such an overbearing theme on the show that I just stopped listening.

Eric said...
Apr 2, 2008, 2:22:00 PM  

They talked about this on First Take yesterday, too.

Eric said...
Apr 2, 2008, 2:23:00 PM  

i hate to defend bayless but he did say love will be a starter in the nba, that is definitely not dismissing their talent.
dipshit parker however said he wouldnt draft either because theyre white. he also thinks hank aaron is a coward for not following around bonds like a puppy.

Mike Georger said...
Apr 2, 2008, 3:44:00 PM  

Was the reporter from the Sun Scott Templeton???

GMoney said...
Apr 2, 2008, 4:25:00 PM  

I heard the Bilas remark "comparing" Hansborough to MJ, and in defense of Bilas(ouch, that hurt) he did say that he was not saying that Hansborough was a better player than Jordan. And there was absolutely nothing racist about it.

Bruce said...
Apr 2, 2008, 5:42:00 PM  

"but when media members use it to gain attention (when it clearly doesn't need to be brought up)"

Can we agree that there will always be a disagreement about when race "needs" to be brought up?

A white person can look at a situation and say, "Race obviously has nothing to do with it." While a person of color might say "Race definitely is a factor." But because you've immediately dismissed it, there's no discussion. No discourse. It's almost as if we can only discuss race on white people's terms.

If a black person brings up race, and it's been deemed irrelevant, then that person is playing the race card and will be subsequently ignored or ridiculed. However, if you listen to the argument and have a discussion, you might see where they're coming from. You may still disagree, but at least you'll understand why they feel that way.

I'm not writing specifically about this issue, but in general.

Gangsta D said...
Apr 2, 2008, 6:03:00 PM  

Barry Obama will save us.

Is it ok to say that Rob Parker is a moron and not be labeled a racist?

I must have missed the memo, why aren't there any Asians, Finns or Cubans on Sportscenter talking about race and basketball.

Help me Barry Obama, you're our only hope.

hollywood wags said...
Apr 2, 2008, 6:17:00 PM  

Rob Parker is a racist piece of shit. But I'm sure you all knew that already.

Anonymous said...
Apr 2, 2008, 6:38:00 PM  

"No matter if said media member is black, white, or green."

It's about time that bigot Kermit stopped getting a free pass.

Hank said...
Apr 2, 2008, 7:58:00 PM  

Bilas is as fair an analyst as I can recall, and he is always insightful commentary.

The Sun reporter was just looking for pub, he got it. Bilas put him in his place, that's for sure.

Brian said...
Apr 3, 2008, 2:34:00 AM  

people are missing the bottom line and continue to take the bait.. ESPN blows. unless you like MTV-ized sports trash.

dont be a shill.

Anonymous said...
Apr 3, 2008, 3:21:00 AM  

I really don't get why everyone is all freaked out about the media humping Hansbrough. He's probably the best player in college basketball this year, especially at a big program. All these same people were humping Durant and Oden last year. Neither of them are white.

If you think its about race, the first place you should look is probably at yourself.

Scoops said...
Apr 3, 2008, 10:26:00 AM  

The racial angle in basketball is ridiculous. At long last, support for white basketball players, and discussion of the difficulties and discriminations they face: WhiteBasketball.blogspot.com

Oct 19, 2008, 12:46:00 AM  


Anonymous said...
Nov 16, 2008, 7:31:00 PM  

Well now seems like a good time at bring up Spike Lee's "Larry Bird is overrated because he's white" comment. That is, of course, bull$#1+. No NBA player in NBA history was better than Larry Bird at everything. That's what made him great. If he was not the best at any one thing, Larry Bird was better at something than everyone. But back to present day, perhaps there is such an idea that white men can't play basketball, that white men don't seriously try to become pro players. That would explain why some of the best players in the NBA are white, but from Europe, where that stigma may not be. But it is not racist to hype Hansborough. The dude is pretty amazing.

Brotha J.T. said...
Mar 20, 2009, 9:30:00 AM  

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