Why Americans Like Basketball.

Absolutely nothing to do with genetics. Note: I’m Black AND very good at basketball.

The main reason Blacks gravitate towards basketball is due to convenience. Its one of very few sports that does not require a ton of equipment and multiple players. With basketball, all you need is a ball and hoop. You can practice solo, play one on one, play with odd numbers (i.e. the game called “21”), 2 on 2, 3 vs 3, and so on, up to 5 vs 5.

Basketball is a cheap hobby to take up. By design, there are basketball courts in nearly every high-density neighborhood in America. Therefore, Blacks are better at basketball primarily because they play it more often and take it up as a hobby at very young ages.

Baseball and football require several pieces of equipment, several players, and large swaths of real estate.  Thus serving as barriers to play for poor folks. Golf is expensive (and boring). Tennis courts are pretty much nonexistent in poor neighborhoods. Hockey is… Well, you know. And soccer has yet to catch on in America.

Blacks are better (on average) at basketball because it’s a cheap and convenient sport. Please step away from the nonsense of genetic superiority. Slippery slopes.

The following is my response to a comment that suggested tbat poor Blacks gravitate to basketball due to their seeing it as a viable pathway out of poverty:

I do not entirely agree with your suggestion that young poor Blacks, on average, tend to take basketball and other sports more seriously by simple virtue of being poor and seeing said sport as a viable pathway out of poverty.

Without the benefit of empirical data, and armed with nothing more than my childhood and familiarity within America’s ghettos, I will venture to say that the talent of these young kids is groomed out of a much simpler premise: to be better than the kid who lives down the street, or the kid that lives in the apartment above yours.

In America’s ghettos, the kid that proves himself to be great at basketball becomes somewhat of a local legend. To be great at basketball earns you mountains of respect and adoration. And each and every weekend, you’re presented with the opportunity to increase your legendary status by taking to the court and destroying your neighborhood competitors.

Growing up alongside some eventual NBA players (Stromile Swift, Von Wafer, and others), I can confidently state that most of these young children never really take basketball seriously as a pathway to something greater until they are well into high school. It is usually in high school when the kid begins to recognize that all those years of simply trying to be the best basketball player in their housing projects have groomed him to the point where he has unknowingly become better than most other kids playing for high school teams across the entire city.

During the summer months, after the NBA season has ended, many NBA players participate in inner-city summer leagues that allow them to play in high-stakes (bragging rights) games alongside common folk in those neighborhoods. In fact, Michael Jordan was integral in making this possible (see the NBA’s “Love of the Game” rule, which prevents the NBA from restricting its players’ participation in non-NBA related basketball play).

Why risk unnecessary injury and the potential loss of millions of dollars to play alongside neighborhood legends in leagues with no financial benefit to you as an NBA player? It’s simple: nothing compares to neighborhood bragging rights.

Basketball talent is often groomed from one basic premise: be better than the kid from down the street.


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