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Larry Bird says NBA needs more white stars

Old 06-10-04, 09:49 AM
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Larry Bird says NBA needs more white stars

http://www.foxsports.com/content/view?contentId=2475988

Report: Larry Bird says NBA needs more white stars

FOXSports.com

Larry Bird says he knows what the NBA needs more white superstars. The Hall of Famer made the remarks during a television interview which will air prior to Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

Bird, who is currently the Indiana Pacers' president of basketball operations, says during the interview that while the league will forever be dominated by black athletes, the presence of more star players who are white would appeal to a fan base which Bird feels is predominantly white.
"You know when I played, you had me and Kevin (McHale) and some others throughout the league." Bird said. "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."

The interview also included LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Magic Johnson, who besides helping Bird inject life into the league in the 1980s, also seemed to agree with Bird.

"We need some more LB's, Larry Birds," Magic said. Larry Bird, you see, can go into any neighborhood. When you say 'Larry Bird,' black people know who he is, Hispanics, whites, and they give him the respect."

Bird went on to say that, as a player, he was offended when white players attempted to guard him.
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Old 06-10-04, 09:54 AM
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I agree. I'm black but even I can see that there needs to be more white American players. At least some people white youth can look up to and say "I want to do that when I get older"
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Old 06-10-04, 09:55 AM
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It couldn't hurt.
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Old 06-10-04, 10:29 AM
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Originally posted by Timber
I agree. I'm black but even I can see that there needs to be more white American players. At least some people white youth can look up to and say "I want to do that when I get older"
You hit the nail on the head. They need Americans. The only really good white players in the league are Europeans (and Steve Nash is from Canada). John Stockton was the last great white American player.

It really couldn't hurt the league if they had a few.
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Old 06-10-04, 11:13 AM
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I agree. It can't hurt. White kids identify more with white atheletes, like Timber said.

It's not a racial issue, that whites aren't watching because they don't want to watch black athletes, and that's not what Bird was saying, though some sports talk radio and what not has taken in that way.
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Old 06-10-04, 11:36 AM
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This is kind of funny, because in baseball it's the exact opposite. MLB has set up all sorts of programs to entice black children to get into baseball.
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Old 06-10-04, 11:45 AM
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Originally posted by Deftones, Esq
This is kind of funny, because in baseball it's the exact opposite. MLB has set up all sorts of programs to entice black children to get into baseball.

I believe the phenomenon of 'White Flight' of the last 30-40 years has a lot to do with what you see in baseball and basketball.

White flight ----> Whites in suburbia ------> More open areas ------> more baseball fields ------> more American whites in baseball.

White flight -----> Blacks remain in inner city -------> less room -------> more basketball courts --------> more American blacks in basketball.
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Old 06-10-04, 11:58 AM
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That's interesting, but I don't think it's the main thing.

A lot of kids pick up sports in school, and you can play basketball easily at recess, and most gym classes have a section on basketball.

However, you can't play baseball at recess, and I never had any baseball section in any gym class (just whiffle ball).

Thus kids are easily exposed to basketball in school, but not baseball, and have to sign up for little league to play, which is where your theory comes in to play.

Then you factor in the role model thing, with kids identfying with stars of their own race, thus you see even more blacks drawn to basketball and less whites.
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Old 06-10-04, 11:59 AM
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Originally posted by Red Dog
I believe the phenomenon of 'White Flight' of the last 30-40 years has a lot to do with what you see in baseball and basketball.

White flight ----> Whites in suburbia ------> More open areas ------> more baseball fields ------> more American whites in baseball.

White flight -----> Blacks remain in inner city -------> less room -------> more basketball courts --------> more American blacks in basketball.
I honestly think the elite of the elite black athletes are concentrated in basketball and football...whereas the sample size isn't the same for white players in the NBA.

More often they're involved in other athletics (and you'd probably find a lack of black athletes in those) or forego sports totally for other pursuits.

Simply put--they're more evenly spread throughout the sporting world than AA's.

Can you imagine Kobe and KG as pro volleyball players?

Rip Hamilton...the supposed "best conditioned player in the NBA"...in the Tour de France or playing soccer?

LeBron James in the pole vault?

Dominique Wilkens in the high dive?

Jordan in the long-jump?

Last edited by gettinbranded; 06-10-04 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 06-10-04, 12:01 PM
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Originally posted by Josh Hinkle
That's interesting, but I don't think it's the main thing.

A lot of kids pick up sports in school, and you can play basketball easily at recess, and most gym classes have a section on basketball.

However, you can't play baseball at recess, and I never had any baseball section in any gym class (just whiffle ball).

Thus kids are easily exposed to basketball in school, but not baseball, and have to sign up for little league to play, which is where your theory comes in to play.

Then you factor in the role model thing, with kids identfying with stars of their own race, thus you see even more blacks drawn to basketball and less whites.

Most elementary schools in suburbia have a baseball diamond. I would venture to guess that most elementary schools in the inner city do not. I know we played quite a bit of baseball during gym period where I went to elementary school (in suburbia of course).

Plus you have the county rec leagues for baseball. If you were in the city, did rec leagues for baseball even exist. Maybe, but not on the scale you saw in the suburbs.
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Old 06-10-04, 12:04 PM
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Originally posted by Red Dog
Most elementary schools in suburbia have a baseball diamond. I would venture to guess that most elementary schools in the inner city do not.
In Chicago they do.

But the kids heroes are basketball players. The summertime outfit is shorts and an NBA jersey.

Even the girls wear them...and jersey dresses like Mariah did at the halftime show last year.

Baseball is a pastime...not an aspiration.
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Old 06-10-04, 12:06 PM
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Originally posted by gettinbranded
In Chicago they do.

But the kids heros are basketball players. The summertime outfit is shorts and an NBA jersey.

Even the girls wear them...and jersey dresses like Mariah did at the halftime show last year.

Baseball is a pastime...not an aspiration.

Sure - the 'hero' reason is a big factor as well. I wasn't saying that white flight was the reason to the exclusion of all others. I think it is an important reason why you see certain racial breakdowns in baseball and basketball.
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Old 06-10-04, 01:07 PM
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I don't know about the "white kids need white role model athletes" thing.

When you are, say, on the football field or BBall court, you love the player for the player. You'll score a touchdown and say, "Barry Sanders scored a TD on you guys! In your face!" or something to that nature. You want to emulate them and have their greatness be your greatness. You don't care, as a kid, what race they are.

In going more into that, I don't think it matters when you get older. If a player is wearing the uniform and colors of your favorite team, he is part of your team, period. You don't care about his race, do you? I'm a Browns fan, and I know that on draft day I'm not hoping they select a black guy instead of a white guy because I'm black. I truly want the best guy available.

Now, when maybe you get to the teenager stage and 20's you might be looking for more "real" role models. I would think that the color of a player's skin matters less regarding a role model than, say, the race of a person holding a political position in America or attempting to form a movement. I think regarding the latter are the kind of people you can look up to and say, "wow, they are representing our people well" or "they are inspirational to my kind of people."

But I see white people wear Michael Vick jerseys and black people wearing Jeremy Shockey jerseys. And also vice-versa.

I will say this, though. I don't watch the NHL. A lot of it happens to deal with me just NOT liking hockey. A lot of it has to deal with me hating the fact that these punks fight on the ice all the time. But I will also agree that a very small part is because it's an all white league. So, I suppose, in that sense, I understand. I don't think it's a main factor for most whites in America regarding the NBA. But maybe I'm wrong.
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Old 06-10-04, 01:26 PM
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Originally posted by gettinbranded
Can you imagine Kobe and KG as pro volleyball players?


Dain Blanton already won the Gold Medal for Beach Volleyball.
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Old 06-10-04, 01:35 PM
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Originally posted by Red Dog
Most elementary schools in suburbia have a baseball diamond. I would venture to guess that most elementary schools in the inner city do not. I know we played quite a bit of baseball during gym period where I went to elementary school (in suburbia of course).
Fair enough, I don't see many schools with baseball diamonds around where I live in MD (between DC and Baltimore. And I grew up in a rural area and they're were definitely none around schools there (except high schools and we never used them during gym class).
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Old 06-10-04, 01:36 PM
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Originally posted by PacMan2006
I don't know about the "white kids need white role model athletes" thing.
I don't think it's that they "need" them, it's just that kids tend to indentify more with athletes of their own race and thus are drawn more to the sports that feature them most prominently (basketball for blacks, baseball for whites).

It's not a racsim thing by in means. Hell, I identify more with people of my own race, but that's probably just because I hate the "hip hop" lifestyle/music/fashion.

Last edited by Josh Hinkle; 06-10-04 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 06-10-04, 01:44 PM
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You saw it in game 2 of the NBA finals: The next white NBA superstar: Luke Walton!


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Old 06-10-04, 02:04 PM
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Originally posted by PacMan2006
I don't know about the "white kids need white role model athletes" thing.
Yeah, same here.

When I was a kid, my baseball hero was John Milner, a black 1B for the Mets in the 70s. The fact that he was black never even occured to me. It wasn't until my mother (or grandmother, I can't remember which) balled me out for having a black man as my favorite player that I started to think about black v. white.
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Old 06-10-04, 03:24 PM
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I would be interested to see Larry Bird start some kind of "all white" program for kids to get them into basketball, and watch the mere seconds go by on the clock, before all the organizations and Jesse Jackson and such step in.
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Old 06-10-04, 03:42 PM
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Originally posted by Aphex Twin
You saw it in game 2 of the NBA finals: The next white NBA superstar: Luke Walton!


Ha!

Here's your next white NBA superstar:

Luke Jackson
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Old 06-11-04, 04:38 PM
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Originally posted by dancinns
Ha!

Here's your next white NBA superstar:

Luke Jackson
Must agree with you here....
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Old 06-11-04, 06:25 PM
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Originally posted by PacMan2006
I don't know about the "white kids need white role model athletes" thing.

When you are, say, on the football field or BBall court, you love the player for the player. You'll score a touchdown and say, "Barry Sanders scored a TD on you guys! In your face!" or something to that nature. You want to emulate them and have their greatness be your greatness. You don't care, as a kid, what race they are.

In going more into that, I don't think it matters when you get older. If a player is wearing the uniform and colors of your favorite team, he is part of your team, period. You don't care about his race, do you? I'm a Browns fan, and I know that on draft day I'm not hoping they select a black guy instead of a white guy because I'm black. I truly want the best guy available.

Now, when maybe you get to the teenager stage and 20's you might be looking for more "real" role models. I would think that the color of a player's skin matters less regarding a role model than, say, the race of a person holding a political position in America or attempting to form a movement. I think regarding the latter are the kind of people you can look up to and say, "wow, they are representing our people well" or "they are inspirational to my kind of people."

But I see white people wear Michael Vick jerseys and black people wearing Jeremy Shockey jerseys. And also vice-versa.

I will say this, though. I don't watch the NHL. A lot of it happens to deal with me just NOT liking hockey. A lot of it has to deal with me hating the fact that these punks fight on the ice all the time. But I will also agree that a very small part is because it's an all white league. So, I suppose, in that sense, I understand. I don't think it's a main factor for most whites in America regarding the NBA. But maybe I'm wrong.
I was gonna agree with you until I saw that you're a Browns fan Since I'm a STEELERS fan I'm forced to disagree with anything you say.

About the hockey thing though. There has been an increased number of non-whites in the NHL. One of the best players in the world is Jerome Iginla. I guess if someone wants to get technical he's not black, but half black; His father is Nigerian and his mother is white. Iginla is one of the elite players in the league. There are a bunch of others such as Kevin Weeks, Mike Grier, Donald Brashier, & George Laroque.

And as far as fighting in hockey. It's actually part of the game. It's not like bench-clearing brawls in baseball, or fights in other sports, where people fight for some inane reason. Fighting in hockey is part strategy. It's not just some "punks" going at it. Well, at least not all the time.
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Old 06-11-04, 08:51 PM
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^^Steelers fan eh? Haha.

And yeah, I know fighting is part of hockey. I guess I just don't really like it. It comes across as just silly to me. I didn't know, though, that the fighting is part of strategy. What do you mean by this? They try to beat up the opposing teams best players or something?
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Old 06-12-04, 05:55 AM
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Originally posted by Amel
I was gonna agree with you until I saw that you're a Browns fan Since I'm a STEELERS fan I'm forced to disagree with anything you say.

About the hockey thing though. There has been an increased number of non-whites in the NHL. One of the best players in the world is Jerome Iginla. I guess if someone wants to get technical he's not black, but half black; His father is Nigerian and his mother is white. Iginla is one of the elite players in the league. There are a bunch of others such as Kevin Weeks, Mike Grier, Donald Brashier, & George Laroque.

And as far as fighting in hockey. It's actually part of the game. It's not like bench-clearing brawls in baseball, or fights in other sports, where people fight for some inane reason. Fighting in hockey is part strategy. It's not just some "punks" going at it. Well, at least not all the time.
All of those black hockey players are from Canada...if I recall, there are no black american hockey players, which makes a significant difference. Jarome Iginla is half white/black as stated.

Some other notables: Kevin Weekes, Mike Grier, Donald Brashear, Anson Carter, Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre, Peter Worrell, Fred Brathwaite, Georges Laraque, Sandy McCarthy (part Black Indian), and Jamal Mayers (half).

Probably the best non-white player was Grant Fuhr (half black/half Indian). And the first to go to the HOF.

Iginla is no doubt a Top 10 player in the NHL, but the NHL is dominated by white Europeans and Canadians, and frankly, it will always be.
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Old 06-13-04, 02:08 AM
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Originally posted by PacMan2006
^^Steelers fan eh? Haha.

And yeah, I know fighting is part of hockey. I guess I just don't really like it. It comes across as just silly to me. I didn't know, though, that the fighting is part of strategy. What do you mean by this? They try to beat up the opposing teams best players or something?
There's lots of "legit" reasons why guys will fight. Most of the time fighting is used as a motivator for the team. If a team is down by a couple of goals, two guys will go (initiated by the team who's losing) to try and set a spark. Every team has a guy or two who's known for his skills with the fists. Some players are on a team for almost that reason only. Sometimes fighting is in reaction to a big and/or bad(cheap) hit on team's star player or goalie. Other times, if a team is losing really badly and they play each other again soon, the fist-a-cuffs will break out as signal that things will be different next time. That they won't be pushed around or disrespected. Then there are the times a fight will break out because guys know the crowd expects and wants a fight. Fights also break out as a result of poor officiating. If officials ain't calling the game tight enough, some guys will do the "officiating" for them. And sometimes, just sometimes, guys will go just cause they like to go.

vdadlani219 quote:


All of those black hockey players are from Canada...if I recall, there are no black american hockey players, which makes a significant difference. Jarome Iginla is half white/black as stated.

Some other notables: Kevin Weekes, Mike Grier, Donald Brashear, Anson Carter, Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre, Peter Worrell, Fred Brathwaite, Georges Laraque, Sandy McCarthy (part Black Indian), and Jamal Mayers (half).

Probably the best non-white player was Grant Fuhr (half black/half Indian). And the first to go to the HOF.

Iginla is no doubt a Top 10 player in the NHL, but the NHL is dominated by white Europeans and Canadians, and frankly, it will always be.
True. And since those parts of the world have a very small black population (at least I think they do, I'm no geography expert) it will probably always be like that.
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