The Decline of the White American NBA Player

Joe OneillCorrespondent IIDecember 14, 2008

The recent bust of JJ Redick and Adam Morrison brings a legitimate question to mind. What has happened to all the great white American players in the NBA?

Just as a recent Sports Illustrated article questioned the decline of African American baseball players, white NBA players are seemingly becoming a rare commodity.

If I were going to form an all-star team of Caucasian players from the '80s compared to current day, here's what I came up with:

Current Squad

Point Guard: Kirk Hinrich or Luke Ridnour

Off Guard: JJ Redick

Small Forward: Mike Dunleavy and Adam Morrison

Power Forward: Troy Murphy and Nick Collison

Center: Chris Kamon

All 80's and Early 90's Squad

Point Guard: John Stockton and Mark Price

Off Guard: Dan Majerle and Jeff Hornacek

Small Forward: Larry Bird and Paul Westphal

Power Forward: Kevin McHale and Tom Chambers

Center: Bill Laimbeer and Jack Sikma

What's happened? Why the decline in quality?

One theory is that white guys just can't jump...but I don't buy into that at all. Nowitzki, Nash, Kirilenko, Sabonis, and Gasol, are all modern players who have proved that a lack of athleticism has nothing to do with the decline.

I think it's that white American kids have gone soft.

I see it everyday in my neighborhood. Kids don't even do chores anymore. They're not expected to mow lawns or take out the trash. Their parents act as glorified taxi services shuttling them back and forth to games and select teams.

In my time, I had a bicycle and was expected to ride everywhere. My parents made it clear that I was expected to do chores and contribute.

Once they get older and hit a little diversity...a lot of these kids fold like lawn chairs. Maybe it's just a symptom of coddling our youth and consistently fighting their battles for them?

Maybe it's good for them to earn their way off the bench rather than have their father lobby the coach? Maybe life needs to be a little hard to breed some hunger?

All the private camps and individual tutors in the world can't replace heart and will. Perhaps that's where a kid from Compton or Russia has a distinct advantage?

I see the same thing in the business world. Too many kids walk in from college expecting to be a vice president in two years and a millionaire by the time they're 28.

Life just isn't that easy. They can't deal with criticism or expectations. They want all the reward with none of the work. It's surprising how many move back in with their parents after a year or two in the "real" world.