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June 17, 2011

Rooting for race

   If you're a white man playing basketball, you have one job and one job only; Hit the open three.  If you're covering a white man, you have but one rule to follow; Don't give him the open three.  Many white boys would be satisfied with a few open jump shots, an up and under, or a fundamentally sound bounce pass.  Not the big German.  Not Dirk Nowitzki.  Last night we saw NBA and white person history, when the Dallas Mavericks dismantled the juggernaut Miami Heat to win the NBA Championship.  I'm mostly happy that the Heat lost, but I was also glad that a white man led his team to the title.  I thus put forth the question to you.  Is rooting for a certain player, based on race, being racist?

   The comparisons between Dirk Nowitzki and Larry Bird look less ridiculous now then they did two days ago.  Before Dirk got his ring, all they had in common was that they were both tall, white, ugly, and could shoot the fucking lights out.  I mention Bird, because he brought up something a few years ago that drew the ire of media and critics around the league.  When asked if he thinks the league lacks enough white superstars he said, "Well, I think so. You know, when I played, you had me and Kevin [McHale] and some others throughout the league.  I think it's good for a fan base because, as we all know, the majority of the fans are white America. And if you just had a couple of white guys in there, you might get them a little excited. But it is a black man's game, and it will be forever. I mean, the greatest athletes in the world are African-American."

  You can call that racist if you want, but I agree with him.  I love seeing white dudes do well against better more talented and athletic black players.  I fuck around on the Brooklyn playgrounds every now and then, normally with my old white friends (that make me look like Kareem), but sometimes I play with some real Brooklyn players; Young black and Puerto Rican guys that absolutely relish the opportunity to dunk on my grill or break my old white ankles.

  The most humiliating feeling in the world comes from getting your ankles broken by a 16 year old kid.  If you've never witnessed this moment on the playground it's really something else.  The world stops and looks at you.  Am I naked?  Did I shit my pants?  Every kid in the 6 block radius says, "Daaaaaamn" and laughs at you.  The game literally stops while you get mocked and the guy that made you look like a cunt, high fives everybody from Greenpoint to Flatbush Ave.  After the initial humiliation, you respect and appreciate this part of the game.  It's pretty fucking awesome if you think about it.  I must clarify, breaking ankles is equal opportunity.  This happens to all colors and creeds, but the high majority of victims are most certainly, old, slow crackers like me.

  To further prove my point about white people being defensive liabilities, Bird said,  "As far as playing, I didn't care who guarded me -- red, yellow, black,  I just didn't want a white guy guarding me. Because it's disrespect to my game."  This statement personifies my attitude and reasoning towards rooting for white dudes.  I relate to being slow, comparatively un-athletic, and just plain not as good.  Am I being racist?  I don't know.  My favorite player is Kevin Garnett because he loves defense, rebounds, and he's a Celtic.  I loved seeing Veal Scalabrine hit threes, but I didn't really want him on the court.  I wanted to win.  I wanted the best players on the court.  I wanted Pierce, Rondo, KG, Perk, and Ray.  That being said, if Pierce was white, would I root for him more?  Am I relating to the white player because I can relate to being unathletic and getting dunked on or am I relating to the skin color? 

   I have a special spot in my heart for white dudes like Bird, Mchale, Nowitzki, and Kevin Love.  I also can't stand several white players like "Birdman" Anderson, anybody that went to Duke, and Wally Sczerbiak (I'm not spell checking that asshole's name).  Dealing with race in sports, as in everyday life, is never clear cut.  I don't have the answers and I don't know what makes a person racist.  All I know is, I like rooting for slow white guys.  Maybe that's racist.  Maybe it isn't.  Who knows?  

Tomorrow I will break down the NBA Finals.  Topics will range from Udonis Haslem's corn rows to Deshawn Stevenson's Abe Lincoln tattoo.