WWC
Legitimate MVP, or simply the poster boy
for a vast white-wing conspiracy?

white-wing conspiracy (wit wing kuhn-spir'-uh-se) noun. The theory that there is a vast positive bias -- be it unconscious or calculated -- given to white basketball players by the mostly white media. Some people believe that this prejudice led directly to Steve Nash's back-to-back MVP awards as well as his overall reputation as an NBA savior.

Usage example: [Some snark from Hardwood Paroxysm] "Jon Barry does a bit of instant history and he's part of a vast white-wing conspiracy to supplant black NBA stars of the past with Nash and his army of Canadian clones."

Word Trivia: After the Boston Celtics defeated the Detroit Pistons in Game 7 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals, Dennis Rodman flatly stated that Larry Bird was ''very overrated'' and that Bird had won three consecutive MVPs only ''because he was white.'' When asked if he agreed with Rodman's assessment, Isiah Thomas said, "'Larry Bird is a very, very good basketball player, but I'd have to agree with Dennis. If he was black, he'd be just another good guy.''

That one ridiculous comment almost destroyed Isiah's reputation, and he claimed afterward that it was only a joke (and we all know how honest Isiah is). But many a truth is said in jest, and the truth is that Isiah and a lot of other people felt (and probably still feel) that Bird received undue attention and accolades because of his relatively pasty complexion. Those people and their present-day counterparts also believe that Nash's chalky hue is largely responsible for the praise and recognition that's doted on him by the white-washed press corps. Is a little achromatism all it takes to own the NBA?

Just ask John Stockton. He had several years in which his numbers were on par with or better than Nash's, and he even led the Jazz to the NBA Finals in '97 and '98. But the white-wing conspiracy must have failed, because Karl Malone won Stockton's MVPs. Okay then, maybe we should ask Jason Kidd. Oh, but he's only half white. Maybe that's why he lost the 2002 MVP to Tim Duncan , who happens to be all black. And I forget, how many MVPs did Kevin McHale, Tom Chambers, Chris Mullin, Jeff Hornacek, Detlef Schrempf, Mark Price, and Tom Gugliotta win between them? That's right: Zero.

I'm not saying Nash's skin color might not have been one factor amid many others, but I do think it was a very small factor that paled (get it?) in comparison to other more important factors...like winning. This particular conspiracy theory -- like most others involving the NBA -- is wildly overblown.

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15 Comments:
Blogger Ben said...
it seems that only basketball bloggers remember the awesomeness that was Mark Price.

Anonymous 80's NBA said...
I saw a Magic Johnson interview recently. I don't know when it took place, but in it Magic said he was always asked by his (black) friends if Larry Bird was really that good. And Magic said he always tells them, "Yeah... he really was that good."

Also, at the time of his retirement, Bird was in or near the top ten all-time in a lot of statistical categories. I'm not 100% positive, but I believe one of those was STEALS. I think he was the only forward on the list (Pippen might have been there, too). Not bad for just another "good guy". I'll have to dig out the old NBA Encyclopedias to check.

Anonymous John E. Sanford said...
Ben, I didn't forget about Mark Price. If he didn't so many injuries, I think people would remember him more favorably.

Anonymous Legal Defense said...
I hate to jump to isiah's defense but could he have been sarcastic there? I could imagine saying that with heavy sarcasm, hence the later explanation that he was joking...

Anonymous Katchoo said...
Gugliotta? That's quite the talent drop from those other albinos. 'Fraid I gotta put Dan Majerle, Danny Ainge, or Craig Ehlo ahead of him.

But Googs is definetly ahead of Brad Lohaus.

Blogger bob said...
John Stockton is undoubtedly a better point than Nash, but he was denied his MVPs even when he put up 17/14 figures. Malone getting them in front of Stockton is like giving Amare them instead of Nash. It would cause outrage.

Don't get me wrong, the Mailman was amazing but Stockton made his stats so much better.

Anonymous 80's NBA said...
Legal Defense said...
"I hate to jump to isiah's defense but could he have been sarcastic there? I could imagine saying that with heavy sarcasm, hence the later explanation that he was joking..."

Not a chance. This happened in a press conference after Game 7 in the '87 Conference Finals. He was pissed that the Pistons lost to the Celtics (again)...and probably even more pissed that he was the cause of losing Game 5 (the Bird steal).

Isiah was one of the guys in the league who had that intense fire inside, but when he got frustrated, he would have these moments. Remember when he choked one of the Pistons assistant coaches during a game? I think he got elbowed by Bill Cartwright of the Bulls and got a gash under his eye. Instead of taking his anger out on Cartwright, Isiah went over to the bench and just about strangled the dude (I think it was assistant Ronnie Rothstein, if I'm not mistaken).

Anonymous 80's NBA said...
Correction... I said that Isiah's comments were from a press conference. They actually were from the post game locker room interviews.

The press conference I was thinking about was when Isiah said he meant no harm about his comments. Bird joined him at the press conference and bailed Isiah out.

Anonymous andre anglais said...
Really? You're suggesting Gugs and Jeff Hornacek were robbeb of their MVP trophies. Is that sane?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
andre -- Of course not. Well, maybe Googs. But seriously, my point was: If there really was a white-wing conspiracy, the good white players, such as Horny and Googs, would have gotten a lot more press than they did.

Blogger Liston said...
A conspiracy to help white players? No way. next thing you'll tell me is that somebody once tried to round up all the Jews and have them killed. Don't be ridiculous, Basketbawful

Liston

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You're fucking retarted, stats speak for themselves, NO ONE was a better team player both years than Steve Nash, and as for Stockton, I think we all know that there were better players during his time, MANY.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
First of all, anonymous, you lose all credibility when you try to call someone "retarded" and mispell it. Now why don't you take your huge, throbbing brain and reread the post and try to figure out what it was actually about. Because seriously, you're coming off like an idiot.

Blogger chris said...
This post needs a reply in light of the stuff from a few weeks ago where Simmons was calling Nash a mere product of Mike D'Antoni...

...only for his pick of Chris Duhon as the "new Nash" to fall flat a night or two later.

Anonymous Gabe said...
Stockton didn't win MVP's cuz his prime years were played during the Jordan era, and because he was never considered the best player on his own team.

Nash had the perfect circumstances for his MVP seasons. The Suns sucked before he got there, his team won big when Amare was out, which secured him as clearly the best player on the team, and the other MVP candidates were very weak. I think the second place finishers were Miami version of Shaq in year 1 and Dirk in year 2?

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