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Rearing Its Ugly Head (In the most unlikely places)
By Rob Bell (An Old Head for the New School)
 

What, you may ask is rearing its ugly head.   Of course its white supremacy, that dastardly concept/attitude/belief system that conventional white American wisdom would have you believe mysteriously disappeared (first, after the end of the civil war, and then the vestiges after the Civil Rights Acts of 1965).   In case you haven't noticed, the supremacists have been on the rise for some time: aggressively since 1980 when the poster boy for Tarzan aficionados – Ron Reagan – was elected.   It's interesting that President Ron (may his rotten soul be tortured forever and ever) and his media savvy self, recognized right away that whoever controls the media (and of course education) controls the minds of Americans.   Thus Ron engaged the public via the mass media in saying just whatever entered his deranged mind.   We won't delve into the result of this warmonger's public rants against people of color throughout the world.   Suffice it to say the cost in lives ran into the millions.

 

It was about that time that the corporate media and its entertainment sedatives (movies, television, music, sports) began to organize to one, control the airwaves and then secondly, take incredible license with respect to constructing a decidedly pale view of contemporary American culture.   Sometimes overt, but more often nuanced, the entertainment industry contributes more than a little to the premise that white folks and western culture is superior to that of other races and ethnic groups.

 

We tend not to want to believe this but, simply take a look at two recent developments – one in the sports arena and the other in the music industry.   By now we should be familiar with the American Olympic basketball team and their disappointing showing during the games.   But, no matter how bad the team performed, it was no comparison to the stupid, outlandish and racist harangue spewed primarily by sports talk show hosts.   Philly's line-up of commentators are a particularly ignorant bunch.   That is to be expected in a city with the racial history of the city of brotherly love.   The Jackie Robinson historical video documentary cites Philadelphia as having the most virulently racist fans and players.   And, well let's just leave it at: we have a statue of Frank Rizzo.

 

At any rate the gang in Philly sports radio latched onto the perverted young Black male stereotypes and couldn't help but invent some new ones.   They ran along with the silly notions that the Olympic players (all of whom were Black) are not fundamentally sound and they do not play as a team.   None of these overpaid jokesters has any sense of what fundamental basketball is about in 2004 (the game has changed – and shooting is only one fundamental skill).   They have no idea of the rigor required for NBA players, especially on the defensive end of the court.   Consider this: if no defense is played in the NBA or by its new stars, then why aren't the fundamentally sound, excellent foul shooting players from Bucknell or Colgate dominating the NBA??   It's all about D in the NBA, and if you can't get a shot off, you can't score.   Moreover, defense is all about the team concept.

 

This "problem" with the NBA has been going on for 25 years.   It's always something.   At the end of the 70s and the end of the 80s to the early 90s, white sports writers were at the throats of the predominantly black league.   Have the "regular guys" know-it-all sports pundits ever talked favorably about the defensive prowess of the 1990 Knicks, the champion Houston Rocket teams, the Bulls or Detroit?   Of course not, because defense connotes hard work, and blacks don't do that. If the '88-'89 Knicks had been predominantly white they would have been lionized.   And, anyone who tells you that playing zone defense is physically or mentally comparable to man-to-man is quite frankly, stupid.  

 

Despite what should be obvious, talk show hosts not only besmirched the character and abilities of people like Shaun Marion, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, Duane Wade and Carlos Boozer, but they indicted them as being virtually anti-American and unworthy of representing the country.   Caricatured as spoiled, juvenile delinquents, the sports talk guys, in typical, unaccountable fashion, painted a distorted picture that was informed not by the facts, but by their perverse ideas of Black culture and today's youth.

 

Incredibly popular, and astoundingly rich, Lebron James is the model team player.   As a rookie straight out of high school he averaged 5.5 rebounds a game and six assist per outing, while shooting 75% from the charity stripe.   Sounds like a team player to me, and he ain't half bad on the fundamentals.   The other rookie superstar, Carmelo Anthony, led his NBA team in scoring and to the playoffs, while shooting 77% from the foul line.   To his credit Olympic coach Larry Brown defended his young players and pointed out that while most other teams practiced more than 50 times for the games, Team USA had fewer than 20 practices.  

 

As we saw in many of the international games, foreign players are as aggressive and talented as many NBA players.   They dribble through their legs, behind their backs and make difficult shots.   Creatively getting away from defenders is now fundamental !!   The foreigners still have defensive shortcomings, and if the ruggedness of the international officiating ever abates, that could spell trouble for some of the Europeans and South Americans.   The bottom line is the US players just have to play hard, because these new guys are not giving anything up.   That makes for great basketball.   Imagine if the talk show programs were as integrated and informed as the game itself.   Well, this is America.       Part II – Next time .              


              

Any questions, comments, suggestions email Rob at sports@geoclan.com.

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