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Friday, March 27, 2015

Jon Entine, Taboo, and Black Athletes - Basketball and the NBA

Continuing to analyze Jon Entine's book, "Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It" published in 2000, Jon moves from East Africa, whose natives dominate long distance marathon running with slow twitch muscles, to West Africa. According to Entine, the West Africans are genetically gifted with fast twitch muscles. This allows West Africans, as well as many African Americans who are primarily of West African descent, to dominate in sports that require speed, explosive power, jumping, and strength. This makes West Africans, and so many African Americans, genetically superior in sports like short distance sprinting, basketball, and football. Let's examine the globally popular sport of basketball and the NBA.

Statistics show that while Blacks made up 13% of the American population in the late 1990s (the latest figures available in Taboo), Blacks made up a staggering 80% of the NBA. There was a clear trend of Black dominance in the NBA. If you take stats like the percentage of Black players in the NBA since the 1950s or earlier, then plot each percentage every year on your Excel spreadsheet, you would see a clear trend of increasing Black presence and dominance in the NBA. Take other stats, like minutes of playing time, points scored, rebounds, and you would see the same increasing trends.

Look at the Dream Team of the best NBA players in the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics. It was dominated by Black players of West African descent, and even more so in 1996. The 1996 Dream Team was down to just one white guy, John Stockton. Both Dream Teams dominated the best basketball players of the world by about 50 points per game in 1992 and 30 points in 1996.

This staggering trend led Jon Entine to conclude that, due to their genetic fast twitch muscle advantages, the percentage of Black players in the NBA would continue to increase and never decline. Other races and nationalities who are not West African would never be able to effectively compete against the Black NBA players, especially the elite NBA players like the Dream Team.

Then reality struck hard after 2000, when Taboo was published. Jon Entine's analysis and predictions were soon discredited over the years. Here are the major events which proved him wrong.

Black player percentage in NBA declines
From an all time high of 80% of NBA players in the 1990s, that percentage declined after 2000 and did not resume the peak of 80% since then. International players from all around the world brought more diversity to the NBA. The percentage of Black players in the NBA has been in the 75% to 78% range after 2000, and at 76% as of 2013.

International basketball players bring diversity to the NBA
The NBA of the 21st century saw much diversity of basketball players of many races and nationalities. Not only did they bring diversity to the NBA, but they have the genetics to effectively compete and be as great as the best African NBA players. Below are three famous NBA superstars that prove the point.

Yao Ming (China)
NBA: 2002-2011

 Dirk Nowitzki (Germany)
NBA: 1998-Present (2015)

Pau Gasol (Spain)
NBA: 2001-Present (2015)

Here are the names of non-African countries which have produced basketball players who have played in the NBA after 2000, grouped by continent.
Europe: So many countries in Europe
Asia: China, Japan, South Korea
South America: Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay
Central America and Carribean: Mexico, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama,

2000 Summer Olympics
This is where Taboo first started falling apart. The Dream Team of the best NBA players of West African descent were playing against the international elite, but the international players, skills, teamwork, and coaching improved dramatically. The 2000 Dream Team could not replicate past success, often beating the better teams by less than 20 points rather than around 30 points in past years. The big stunner was when the Lithuania team, a small country in northern Europe, was ahead of the Dream Team in the semi-finals. The Dream Team barely pulled ahead and beat Lithuania by 2 points. Then they beat France in the finals by an unimpressive 10 points to barely win the gold medal.

2004 Summer Olympics
This is where Taboo's theory of Black dominate in international basketball was officially buried. After their disastrous losses, they were no longer named the Dream Team. During the regular games, the US team lost to Puerto Rico (73-92) and Lithuania (90-94) for 3 wins and 2 losses. In the championship rounds, the US team lost to Argentina (81-89) in the semi-finals and went home with the bronze medal.

2008 Summer Olympics
By now Team USA was nicknamed the Redeem Team. The best players of the NBA, primarily of West African descent, trained and practiced hard to redeem themselves from the 2004 Olympics. They won all the regular games and beat Spain in the finals (118-107) to take home the gold medal. Team USA played well, but is was not a domination like in the 1990s.

2012 Summer Olympics
Team USA won the gold medal again, but it was even a closer tournament than 2008. Black player dominance from Team USA did not happen, and it became clear that every race and nationality can compete effectively against Team USA. They beat Spain in the finals (107-100) in a closer game than 2008 to barely win the gold medal.

Another point Jon Entine needs to explain is why Nigeria, a heavily populated country (over 170 million) in West Africa, did so bad in the 2012 Olympics? Nigeria was one of the worst teams, losing 4 out of 5 games in the regular tournament.

Jon Entine needs to write a new book sequel, "Taboo II: Where Jon Entine Went Wrong, and Why He Doesn't Want To Talk About It". Using any of the pictures of the basketball stars above would be a good cover.


  • So why do blacks dominate the NBA? Conceded, there are some great non-black players in the NBA, but blacks definitely dominate it at 70+ percent. If you disagree with the author's explanation, then what is YOUR explanation

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:49 AM  

  • The author is saying Black genetic dominance and the increasing Black population in America, while the few NBA roster spots are fixed, will create a further increase in Black representation, like over 90%, after 2000. He is also saying the non-Black races are genetically incapable of playing as well as the best Black NBA players, and the small minority of non-Black players in the NBA are genetically destined to be only second string backups.

    Reality has proved him wrong on both occasions.

    By Blogger sailerfraud, at 1:05 PM  

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