Nik Stauskas: White Men Can Jump, Pass & Shoot


” You can put a cat in an oven, but that don’t make it a biscuit.”-Sidney Deane (White Men Can’t Jump 1992)

The fore mentioned quote that I extracted, was from what many would consider to be one of the most enlightening, yet extremely funny, comical movies of all times: White Men Can’t Jump. The movie starred Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes as two playground basketball hustlers who find themselves unwillingly intertwined in continuous financial mishaps and mindless blunders due to their pension for feeding both a gambling addiction, as well as, egotistical pride. Whether or not you are a fan of basketball or not, this movie is wildly entertaining even to this day. It allows you a peek inside the nuances of everyday life, but it also lends insight into the general psyche and dialogue of basketball players while on the court. Now I for one believe that if this movie was entitled “Black Men Can Only Dunk” that the venom and vitriol Hollywood would have received would have been enough to rival the burning of Chernobyl. However, I digress in saying that there are certain societal allowances that have been deemed acceptable (i.e. White Chicks), although I personally feel it creates a dicey double standard as it pertains to racial insensitivity. Needless to say, certain avenues of controversy can open up a necessary dialogue that brings forth awareness while unveiling the truth in the process. As we examine White Men Can’t Jump, it delves into what many of us think, assume or project an individual to be in accordance to their pigmentation. In an open forum on ESPN, Larry Bird stated “The one thing that always bothered me when I played in the NBA was I really got irritated when they put a white guy on me. I still don’t understand why.” Albeit I’m no pundit of the coaching realm, I am a huge fan of the game of basketball and I can answer Larry Bird’s rhetorical question by stating one noticeable elephant in the room: “Because you are white?” But is this not typical society, where image dictates perception? I reference the human perception to that of The Wizard Of Oz, whereas the polarizing image, coupled with unknown facts, can make a frail, old man standing behind a curtain appear to be Goliath in nature. But do we need Toto to pull at the pant leg to reveal what we have all known for a long time? Blacks have always been thought to be athletically superior and while being intellectually inferior, while Caucasian athletes are believed to be the exact opposite. It was not until Adolph Hitler’s belief in Aryanism, that there would be an adverse challenge to the athletic superiority of the black male; that is until Jesse Owens’ performance in 1936 Berlin Olympics. So when Nik Stauskas of the Sacramento Kings, referenced his race as being a part of the mental scouting report that we all reference, I ask why is this news? Why is this a sudden “shockwave” in the media circuit/circus? Sidney Deane and Billy Hoyle lifted the veil/curtain off of stereotypical theories, the minute Billy Hoyle caught that alley hoop pass from Sidney Deane. But even more so, guys like Larry Bird, Brent Barry, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Williams, Kevin Love, John Stockton, David Lee, JJ Reddick, Mike Miller, Chandler Parsons completely shatter the unsophisticated premise regarding Caucasian basketball players. In fact I could not name ten black players I would take over Larry Bird period, because he was that damn good. So in conclusion, Nik Stauskas words of controversy are not controversial, they are truthful. I am not sure what the media gains out of conjuring up what has been reported on basketball courts throughout the country for decades. But I find it absurd to just say pigmentation is the only thing on mental scouting reports. Weight, height, age and confidence also dictate how players perceive their opponent to perform prior to setting foot on the hardwood or asphalt. I am sure Zach Randolph (who is black) would be perceived as being overweight and not mobile, that is until you see him play in an actual game and he’s beating your team down like they stole something. So I ask, when has an image not formulated a stereotype? There is no need to even expend your brain matter on an answer because as Junior would say “We goin’ Sizzler, we goin’ Sizzler…” #write about something else

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