Now that we've established Jason as reasonably regular contributor, it's time to try to take some of the weight off his shoulders and try out a new guy.
Below is the first submission of a fellow who we shall know as "Paul." And no, he's not the Seth-Rogen-voiced alien from that Simon Pegg movie. He's waaaaay deeper than that - in fact, he and I both agree that the subject matter for this piece is a bit heavy, but it's summertime, and we're experimenting. I've asked Paul to start the gears-grinding on his next item, and we'll see how things develop. In the meantime, constructive
criticism and / or thoughtful praise welcome.
Timberwolves and Whiteness
What image just popped into your head? If it was lakes, Twins, malls, Vikings, Timberwolves, Golden Gophers, or Michelle Bachmann, then try again. The correct answer is “snow.” I need snow to be the answer because it fits with my main point, which is that it snows a lot in Minnesota, snow is usually white, and so is the new Minnesota Timberwolves team.
Now that most NBA free agents have signed and the dust has begun to settle on the roster make-up of next year’s NBA, it has become clear that the 2012-13 Timberwolves will set the record for the most minutes of on-court white-outs since the 1950s. I have no statistics to back that up (partly because the NBA didn’t start keeping that stat until 1961) but I’m pretty sure it’s true. At the very least, the Timberwolves’ new look will be a topic of discussion. Just google “Minnesota Timberwolves whitest team” and you’ll see message boards already lighting up. I assume that in six months, Minnesota will outpace Duke in getting referred to as “scrappy,” “gym rats,” or “great shooters.” Metta World Peace might even request a trade to Minnesota so he can
The publication of this picture caused the cultural revolution of the 1960s
Technically, the Timberwolves are actually one of the most diverse and multiethnic teams in the league. Their vanilla comes in many different varieties, including Spanish (Rubio) Montenegrin (Pekovic) Russian (Kirilenko and Shved) U.S.-Commonwealth-of-Puerto Rican (Barea) and American (Love, Budinger, Ridnour, Hummel). But here in the United States, we view our NBA ethnicity the way we like our coffee: mostly black with a little cream and absolutely nothing else allowed. Not even the influx of international players has eliminated our basic two-color system.
There are important discussions to be had here. I mean, have you ever found it strange that if a person has racially mixed parents (one of them white), they are never, ever referred to as “white”? (I’m going to pretend for the sake of that last point that I don’t remember Jay-Z’s line, “My president is black, in fact, he’s half-white”). Our system of ethnic construction is still based on the old racist European colonial model of white as “pure” and everything else as a deviation. We could have an intelligent discussion about that. We could try to understand the history and culture behind our ethnic classifications, and attempt to be more nuanced about them. Or we could just kind of ignore it. After all, if NBA fans were to discuss that stuff, we would be taking away from the college professors who need something to lecture on while their students check Twitter and Facebook. And besides, Hanes underwear isn’t going to sell itself. It’s easier to be like Mike, oblivious to the racial connotations of even the most sacred of facial hair atrocities.
Only MJ could get away with the Hitler-stache
So in keeping with the status quo of thinking in purely black and white terms, and throwing in an oh-so-timely Olympic angle to boot, I’ll ask you another question. Since the time of those McDonald’s
“gold medal meal” commercials
which U.S. Olympic basketball team has had the most white players?
Yup. The original 1992 Dream Team had twice as many white players (4) than the total number of white players in all the U.S. Olympic teams since. I’m sure there is a race card to be played somewhere in that information, and I’d prefer if it could be used against Kobe Bryant in some way. Something like this: did Kobe say the 2012 team could beat the Dream Team because he’s a black supremacist?
On the flip side of the racism coin, if you are a white supremacist who is disappointed that the 2012 U.S. team has only one white player, then I suggest that you purchase NBA League Pass next year or move into the Timberwolves television market. Your eyes are going to tell you it’s the 1950s all over again…even though what you’ll actually be watching is a striking example of modern diversity and globalization.
(Breaking News: Guess where
Stiemsma is going to play next year)