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The original rosters announced for both the East and West teams in today’s NBA All Star Game were all black: 24 out of 24. In fact, all were American-born blacks.
An injury last week to Jimmy Butler of the East led to Spaniard Pau Gasol being substituted in. (A subsequent injury to Chris Bosh led to Al Horford, a black born in the Dominican Republic, being added.)
No American-born whites are on either NBA All Star team.
Several All-Stars, however, are mulattos. In fact, it’s becoming pretty common for All-Stars, such as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of this year’s superlative Golden State Warriors (and Joakim Noah and Tony Parker in years past), to be sons of black professional athletes and hot white moms. Dads Dell Curry played 16 seasons in the NBA and Mychal Thompson played 12.
This year’s #AllStarsSoBlack game is a bit of a statistical fluke. Last year’s rosters included four whites (three Europeans — the Gasol Brothers and Dirk Nowitzki — and Kyle Korver, who grew up in Pella, Iowa). The 2014 game had two white players, Nowitzki and Oregon-raised Kevin Love. But the 2013 game had only one or two whites (David Lee and, perhaps, Brook Lopez).
Is this the result of systemic racism?
Probably a little bit. The fact that most good white basketball players these days either come from overseas or from extremely white parts of North America is curious. For example, here’s where two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash played high school ball:
You might think, a priori, that growing up competing against the best black talent would be good for tall white guys.
But instead it seems to drive them into tennis or water polo or whatever.
But, mostly, #AllStarsSoBlack just seems to be the usual combination of nature and nurture leading to racial imbalance among top performers.