I have a confession to make: I’m a huge sports fan but I’ve never been interested in basketball. What I love about baseball, on the other hand, is that it’s like a Greek tragedy played out in venues large and small across the nation; epic when hometown heroes rise up against Goliaths, tragic when they fall back to earth under stadium lights, late into that final game of the World Series. Football reminds me of college in a strangely patriotic way. The greatest teams succeed because they have perfected a passionate, fraternal bond that evolves into something beautiful in its military-like precision. And as I grow older, I find the gentle game of golf pensive and respectable, a pastime that makes me shake my head in wonder when that little white ball lands just right on a lush plateau of green. Even the “sport of kings” has inspired me to stand up and cheer. What could be more mesmerizing than seeing a noble animal gallop down the home stretch, soon to be crowned with its justly deserved laurel of roses?
But not basketball. I do not find the game to be profound or inspiring in any way. How could anyone? It looks a parking lot knife fight. All that jumping and shoving and shouting and spitting. All those exposed armpits. Sneakers screeching. Elbows jabbing. And who is having any fun here? Certainly not the players, in their gaudy and ill-fitting attire. Nor the coaches, who seem to fall into two categories: the skinny balding cokehead or the fat sweaty tyrant screaming about maneuvers that his jolly frame could never manage. And the fans? Well, let’s just say that a loud, graphic game with only about five basic rules does not attract the brightest bulbs in the box.
Does any sense of sportsmanship even exist in basketball? The sad truth is that the only way to get ahead in a match is by being intensely selfish on the court. Yes, they pantomime coordination and cooperation, but when it comes right down to it, it’s 10 players playing for 10 separate teams out there. Should we really be surprised when commentators put more emphasis on an individual’s nightly stats than on the final scores of the teams themselves?
In the last twenty years, America’s young people have grown very interested in basketball. There is a sense of displacement in this fascination, however, something akin to children in the suburbs listening to violent inner city rap music. The vast majority of boys do not have a natural, genetic connection to the game. For them, it is an exotic world that they dream about because it is so very different. A safe, loving home contrasts harshly with the aggression of basketball. Considering the knife fight analogy again, this major league sport draws in the types of voyeuristic children who lack the psychological sophistication to discern between competitiveness and outright violence. The parking lot witness becomes a participant in this brutality with his eyes and the beating of his heart. The animus lodged in the young fan’s soul then carries over to his home life. Quit simply, the game is a wound on the body of American values.
Clearly the fundamental problem with basketball is that its players do not mirror our families. They are more exotic than familiar, shaded in tones and values that are both strange and objectionable. I do not hate the blacks. In point of fact, I actually envy them their success in our national enterprise, but I must honestly question their outsized role in our society. We are talking about what is essentially an immigrant minority that is less than 8% of the U.S. population. Through affirmative action and corrupt recruiting techniques, this ethnic group has won disproportionate placement in many facets of our culture. Television is a verifiable example of this. The percentage of blacks on prime time shows is close to 450% of the reality when compared to our population. A caveat, however: crime series seem to be forbidden from using black actors as rapists or thieves, despite the fact that this ethnic group is in reality represented in our prisons at 5 or 6 times the rate of the white population.
Can we take a step back and just admit that it’s a bit absurd to have all these black players in professional basketball? The image of these gargantuan men with their shaved heads and gold jewelry stomping around a rancid, hot arena is rather embarrassing when you think about it. What if the liberals in this country decided to force another minority to dominate a sport? If hockey were all Mexican, would you watch it? Could you imagine the tacky lights and the Oompa Loompa music! What about NASCAR with Orientals or tennis played only by the bums who claim “Attention Deficit Disorder”? I’m surprised Obama’s Title IX czars haven’t attempted dyslexic lesbian wrestling or Eskimo atheist rodeos. This is what you get when political correctness stupidly interferes with the natural balance of competitive sports.
While basketball is popular among a select demographic, it does not resonate in the heartland. It lacks the ethics of sportsmanship and personal triumph so necessary in a true national pastime. It does not raise us up as a whole. Nor is it a drama that humbles us as individuals. In the final analysis, it is little more than gritty inner city savagery unscrupulously exported to stable but naïve households.
Could this change? Could professional basketball be reformed? Indeed, the most critical issue facing the game today is its lack of white players. This would easily be rectified if team owners and coaches were made to realize that their long-term financial health genuinely depends on it. How many parents and families would joyfully return to the sport if they saw that it was a heartfelt, sincere reflection of their most cherished beliefs? Furthermore, the stigma of the ghetto needs to be separated from the game. A broader, more open court would help. Appropriate and masculine clothing would be far appealing than the silky boudoir pajama look. Maybe the court itself needs to be reconsidered. Make it look less like the setting for a carjacking and more like a challenging obstacle course where brainpower and teampower rule the game.
Well, that’s this sports fan’s two cents for the day. Goodbye and God bless!