Buzz Bissinger is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. His Friday Night Lights captured high-school football in Texas, spawned a network TV series and afforded him writing immortality.
Buzz Bissinger is also an idiot. At least when it comes to the NBA.
His "White Men Can't Root" column for TheDailyBeast.com is horrible. No research. Generic assumptions. Just lazy. You expect that from a knee-jerk blog, but not Bissinger. Let's face it, the column was penned to generate a response, and it worked.
Because Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban fired back at Bissinger via Twitter and suddenly a virtual war broke out. Cuban called Bissinger a "coward," the writer responded by calling the owner a "spoiled rich boy."
The two might meet face-to-face before tonight's Mavs-Sixers game in Philly, but that's not the point.
The bottom line is that Bissinger couldn't be more wrong when he writes things like:
Although basketball is supposed to be a team game, it has become more one-on-one in the NBA than a boxing match. The style has changed and it is a definite turnoff.
I also make a habit of asking every white sports fan I know whether they watch the NBA. In virtually every instance, they say they once watched the game but no longer do.
It boils down to this: Are whites losing interest in a game in which the number of white American players not only continues to dwindle, but no longer features a superstar? Yes.
Either Bissinger conducts his surveys at KKK rallies or else he's just writing for shock value.
Hey, over here! I'm a white guy. Have watched the NBA since 1980. And you know what? I still watch it. Still love it.
And, not that it matters, but the league is filled with non-black stars.
Back in 1981 the NBA's All-NBA Team (voted on by peers and coaches and media as the best five players in the league) was Dennis Johnson (Celtics), George Gervin (Spurs), Julius Erving (Sixers), Larry Bird (Celtics) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lakers). Yes, in case you forgot, Bird is white.
In that year's All-Star Game, only four of the 23 players weren't black - Jack Sikma (Sonics), Paul Westphal (Suns), Bobby Jones (Sixers) and Bird.
You get the point, 30 years ago the league was predominantly black. Still is today.
In this year's All-Game Game, what do ya know, only four players weren't black - Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks), Kevin Love (Timberwolves), Pau Gasol (Lakers) and Manu Ginobli (Spurs.)
Now, if Bissinger's point is that there isn't an American white superstar like Bird in the league, point taken. But in case you haven't noticed, Nowitzki is doing a pretty good impersonation right here in our own back yard.
Did a little digging this morning and came up with my All Non-Black NBA Teams from 1981 and 2011. I dunno, if I was a white fan who only rooted for white players, seems to me I have as much reason to watch as ever.
Now, if I'm a white American who only wants to root for white Americans then, yeah, the NBA is not the place for me. But neither is the NFL. Or, for that matter, anywhere other than NASCAR or The Winter X Games.
PG: Mike Bratz (Cavaliers)
SG: Paul Westphal (Suns)
SF: Larry Bird (Celtics)
PF: Dan Issel (Nuggets)
C: Jack Sikma (Sonics)
PG: Steve Nash (Suns)
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SG: Manu Ginboli (Spurs)
SF: Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks)
PF: Kevin Love (Timberwolves)
C: Pau Gasol (Lakers)