Basketball. It is a sport invented by Dr. James Naismith, a Christian counselor from Kansas. Dr. Naismith wanted an active game for young men who attended day camps at a place he named the “YMCA” (Young Men’s Christian Association). The game was simple:
You take a couple of peach “baskets” and place them on opposing ends of a playing court. Next, you arrange teams of up to five players, who use a bouncing ball as their instrument in this game. The game’s point: to encourage teamwork, coaching strategy, amazing passes and rebounding. These are all elements of critical thinking and socialization, great skills for any young, college-bound male to develop.
And since its inception, basketball expanded and served as a great social tool and means for activity for young men across America. Soon, the sport took national recognition and became a part of America’s academic and national identity. Names like “Pistol Pete” Maravich and Bob Cousy soon dazzled the collegiate and then professional headlines, as the National Basketball Association (N.B.A.) took root.
Maravich and Cousy brought a great excitement to the court, not due to profanity or outlandish tatoos, but because real skills: amazing passes to teammates; thrilling displays of prowess during an amazing fastbreak layup; precision and accuracy of free-throws. Great-sportmanship, with even more shocking statistic consistency in field-goal percentage and turnover ratio, who could ask for more during a sporting event.
Such was the Golden Age of basketball in America: but then, during the 60s, something went wrong. The game became dark and sullied, as the elements of cultural influence degraded the innocent purity and point of the game. The game became a political statement: minorities, namely African-Americans, were allowed to play.
Basketball Falls into Darkness
During the 1950s, the NBA opened its doors to all people with the addition of Earl Floyd to the league. Floyd had a solid career and was known for his “Big Cat” defensive skills. Floyd is a good man and was a great addition to the league.
Many others followed in Floyd’s footsteps, breaking the ‘color barrier’ and joining NBA teams, sharing crucial skills that helped their respective teams.
This NBA integration process would have been neat, seamless, had it not been for one thing: the NBA was turned into the grounds for political grand-standing.
During the 1960s, great racial tension was present in America. The Civil Rights movement took its peak, and opportunists looking to create a state for themselves and their political view would use any venue possible.
In the NBA, black players were often pressured by ‘activists’ to show off black stereotypes to show they were ‘black and proud’.
Afro hair. Slang speak. Obnoxious behavior. Altering the standard uniforms. “Show-boating’ with slam-dunks and self-aggrandizing plays on the court. These are the things that were promoted during the civil rights movement, things that ‘any black player should do’.
And that’s what has stuck the NBA with so many problems, over the last 50 years. What was a Christian game has now become the benthic feeder of American sports. Kids in inner-city areas idolize people like Allan Iverson, who has horrible shooting percentages, horrible passing, is covered with tattoos and even curses. These kids think you can mix a gang member’s lifestyle and the the NBA is all about wild hair, bad attitude, bad words, fornicating with women and being paid millions of dollars, without even going to college.
What’s even worse, is that the national media and young, suburban children are starting to buy into this image. Newscasters think it is normal for young 18-year-olds to enter the NBA, looking and acting like the epitome of urban decadence.
Children as young as 5-years-old take to the street in baggy, unfitted jerseys and shorts, jeering the crowd and fondling women. Here is the proof:
A media sports analyst challenges a child to a 1-on-1 game of basketball. Despite the sports reporters admirable devotion to challenging the child, notice how both parties resort to ‘trash-talking’ and wearing urban gear on their bodies during gameplay. These habits show what is corrupting basketball in America and what is leading to a 44% high-school dropout rate in urban schools and a whopping 7% increase in playground shootings and violence, attributed to disputes related to street basketball pick-up games.
This clip shows the exact problem with the NBA in America. It has become overrun with a certain, unfavorable culture. It is not black people who have corrupted the game: one would be a fool to say people like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kevin Duckworth and the Amazing Dr. J are not among the greatest and most existing people in sports history.
The lifestyles some of these men, and many other from the new age, promote, however, is disgusting. It represents the worst of immorality, infidelity and simple, distasteful behavior that belongs on the street. Corporate greed is also pushing for young men to spend their lives honing their bad attitudes and basketball ability to forgoe high school and even college, all in efforts to becoem the next flaunting millionaire who lives the decadent NBA lifestyle.
This is not what Dr. James Naismith wanted; not at all. Dr. Naismith wanted a game for young men to be active, be friendly and respectable. He wanted a game that enforced our nation’s Christian values of hard-work and decency. He wanted all young-men who played this sport to be college-bound or to play it recreationally, with friends at church-events or socials.
Basketball is corrupted. Can it ever be fixed?