Saturday, October 31, 2009

Conservatives and the NBA

Reading some of the reactions to the discussion on the NBA age limit below, it feels like it's getting hot in herre.

So much so that it reminded me of an evening switching back and forth between Fox News (read: Mr. B. Atlantic) and MSNBC (read: the rest of the bloggers here).

Based on these numbers, the blog might appear unbalanced, so to give Mr. B. Atlantic some help I dug out an old quote from (a possible ally?) Rush Limbaugh about the NBA.

LIMBAUGH: There is something about this hip-hop culture business. I'm not going to mention the name because there's thousands of them, but I've been watching interviews with ex-NBA players and current NBA players.

LIMBAUGH: This is the hip-hop culture on parade. This is gang behavior on parade minus the guns. That's the culture that the NBA has become. So if anybody will be honest with you about it in the NBA, and a very few will have the courage to, because saying what I just said is going to be tagged as racist, but I, my friends, am fearless when it comes to this because the truth will out, and that's what's happening here, and part and parcel of this gang culture, this hip-hop culture, is: "I'm not going to tolerate being dissed."

I wonder what would happen if Limbaugh tried to buy an NBA team...


Bhel Atlantic said...

Well. I generally think Limbaugh is silly, though I do enjoy Bill O'Reilly's show. Limbaugh is correct to observe that many NBA players come from hardscrabble backgrounds wherein violence rules the day. However, fighting in the NBA is hardly much more prevalent than your typical suburban high school. (It is odd that in ice hockey, which draws most of its players from middle-class backgrounds in Canada and northern Europe, fighting in the middle of play is accepted as a matter of course.) "I'm not going to tolerate being dissed" is hardly a sentiment original to hip-hop culture; men have been proving their machismo as long as there's been testicles. Even Will Shakespeare understood this impulse. [Search down to the phrase "Nay, as they dare."]

Limbaugh is wrong about one other thing. The Association is not "hip-hop culture minus the guns". Actually, the guns are very much a part of a baller's world. The casual insouciance regarding guns among NBAers is well-documented and very disturbing. This 2006 article quotes a team official saying that the percentage of NBA players carrying firearms is "closer to 100 percent than it is to 50 percent".

H.O.S.S. said...

Limbaugh is wrong about a whole lot of things -- his comments on the NBA are no exception. No need to dignify his reactionary rhetoric here...

Bhel is right to point out the double standard between hockey (where fighting is glorified and encouraged) and basketball (where the slightest hint of a fight leads to lengthy suspensions).

It's not a surprise or accident. Hockey is a game played mainly by white players and marketed to a white audience. Pro basketball is a game played mainly by black players but marketed to a white audience. Commissioner Stern is very mindful of this fact. He knows that white fans want their basketball heroes to act like Barack Obama -- not 50 Cent. And so he enacts draconian measures (automatic suspensions for leaving the bench during a kerfuffle, lengthy suspensions for throwing a punch, ridiculous dress code) to ensure that his players and fans know that gangstaism will not be tolerated.

Bhel Atlantic said...

H.O.S.S.: Increasingly, the NBA is marketed to a worldwide audience, not just a white American audience. Although racism knows no boundaries, I believe that black Americans are perceived with a more unproblematic "cool factor" in other parts of the world that are not freighted with our racial history. I suspect that a hint of mischief among NBA players might make basketball seem more edgy in India or China, compared to all the naughty doings in futbol or cricket, say. Perhaps the restrictions on misbehavior will ease with time.