Canuck Columnist Calls NBA "Ghetto Gutter"

Saturday, December 20, 2008


(David Stern, NBA slumlord.)

The Vancouver Courier's Mark Hasiuk is either being particularly obnoxious, slightly racialist, or highly selective when it comes labeling an entire sport, in this case, the NBA, as "America at its worst." (It's likely bits and pieces of all three.) This case is getting a bit of attention on the interwebs this morning, because it's his theory behind why the league did not succeed in Vancouver with the Grizzlies:

Basketball traditionalists (older white guys) blame the overwhelming influence of hip hop culture in the NBA. But they're wrong.

Hip hop, a cultural movement spawned in 1970s New York, has been dead for years.

It sold its soul to corporate sleaze merchants, who repackage black music for a white suburban consumer base.

Nope, the remnants of hip hop--flamboyant chauvinism, jailhouse lingo, black ink tattoos--didn't kill the NBA. It was New York lawyers like Stern, who cashed in on the athletic ability of young black men while ignoring the social realities of basketball in America.

According to a New York Times report, more than 70 per cent of black American children are born out of wedlock. Most NBA players hail from poor neighbourhoods--and despite token college careers--graduate from broken public school systems. They are often ill-equipped to handle multi-million-dollar contracts, or the expectations of a community desperate for positive male role models. To be fair, the NBA, like other professional sports leagues, is a business. And it's not responsible for the endemic problems of black America. But considering basketball's influence on black popular culture, the NBA has a responsibility to produce a "positive" product, not the ghetto garbage we see today.

I have to admit that this tactic kind of confuses me: he's denigrating an entire class of athlete via their endorsements and appearance and blaming Stern and the league for riding that image to the bank. I still think these kinds of critiques that take cracks at the players for having tattoos, cornrows, etc. and more of an individual focus are misguided in the sense that the NBA has always marketed individual stars as soon as it got the guys like Magic, Michael, and Bird to do that with. Also, expansion and relocation has kind of diluted both the talent pool of teams and the regional focus of teams. It's no surprise that the league markets individuals, because the appeal of the teams themselves, to non-NBA fans, is hyper-local.

The problem is that Hasiuk does kind of come off as the old white guy who notes in the beginning of the excerpt I quoted. So much of this is because NBA players are visible in a way that baseball, football, and hockey players aren't in terms of uniforms; everyone gets to see in full what they don't like and run with it.

Also: you're not gonna get any points with me if you're gonna link Allen Iverson as someone who doesn't hustle and want to win. He may not play great defense, he may need the ball a bit more than you'd like -- but that's a guy who plays hard, every time I watch him.

NBA: a ghetto gutter run by money grubbers
[Vancouver Courier]

Posted by Signal to Noise at 2:20 PM

12 Comments:

Great to see someone step on the hip-hop culture is ruining the NBA bandwagon. Whitlock has been waiting for a couple of years now.

Anonymous said...
Dec 20, 2008, 2:39:00 PM  

Since when is it David Stern's responsibility to fix ALL of the problems in the black community?

Scott F. said...
Dec 20, 2008, 2:43:00 PM  

And would you like a good cheese with that whine, Mr. Hasiuk? Quit your bitching because you lost a NBA franchise just like Charlotte, your neighbors to the south, Seattle and Buffalo ages ago.

JamesCraven said...
Dec 20, 2008, 2:48:00 PM  

The fans in Vancouver couldn't care less about the Gizzley's. They only like their hockey team.

49er16 said...
Dec 20, 2008, 2:49:00 PM  

Sure only a columnist in Vancouver would come up with this conclusion.

David Stern said...
Dec 20, 2008, 4:24:00 PM  

The Iverson love is misplaced. He's the perfect symbol for the NBA. Hard work to get his points on the offensive end, enough talent to make some long jumpers to justify extending his shooting range, fearlessly driving to the hoop and converting, no defense, no passing, no leadership, a fat contract and no titles. Forget about practice.

Allen Iverson is a selfish loser.

Gibbon Jockey said...
Dec 20, 2008, 4:32:00 PM  

Anon - and Whitlock and Hasiuk are still wrong.

Signal to Noise said...
Dec 20, 2008, 4:41:00 PM  

Paging Gary Thorne....

SSReporters said...
Dec 20, 2008, 7:08:00 PM  

Guess he's still mad that Bryant Reeves was a bust.

Anonymous said...
Dec 20, 2008, 10:15:00 PM  

"token college careers"

He is so correct on this...

I wonder what the hell happens to the guys who make it through "college" with no education, used and abused and angry...

They are simply FUCKED OVER.

hollywood wags said...
Dec 21, 2008, 2:00:00 AM  

I would guess one of the great hip-hop aficionados wrote this as there is no such word as "racilist".

Anonymous said...
Dec 21, 2008, 5:59:00 PM  

@49er,

We loved and cared about the Grizzles. However, the NBA screwed us out of a team with all the bullshit they did, and didn't do. And despite that, over the past year, that has been some rumblings of trying to get a team here by 2015, and has been met with acceptance with some of the media. Michael Heisley is a scumbag, and it was nice of David Stern to finally admit so in an interview. Last time I checked, the Grizzles weren't exactly filling in the crowds in Memphis.

Anonymous said...
Dec 22, 2008, 2:51:00 PM  

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