This basically describes how I played basketball, back in my day. There’s no real point to this post except the enjoyment of reminiscence, and maybe as a character sketch for thals on the basketball court.
FROM THE REACTION, it’s obvious that most of these fans weren’t really aware they enjoy insulting a white player partly because he’s white. It’s easier to believe they hate him just because, and to keep tricky racial biases relegated to the subconscious.
Lipnik, though, is more open about his predilections than most. “I’m thrilled you said that,” Lipnik says when asked about the role Craft’s skin color plays in his long-brewing animosity. “I didn’t want to be the racist guy who calls out the white thing. But that’s exactly one of the main reasons I hate him. He’s that rural white guy who thinks he’s hard-nosed, the my-dad-taught-me-how-to-play-defense, I-can’t-score-the-basketball-if-you-paid-me guy. And everyone hates those guys. They’re just … just annoying.”
By “those guys,” Lipnik doesn’t mean every white player. They are not white international guards like Steve Nash, or mean white big men like Christian Laettner, no matter how despised they might be for different reasons. They are not pure scorers like Jimmer Fredette or wings with a sweet stroke like J.J. Redick. He means strictly this guy: the short (by basketball standards), overachieving American white kid who doesn’t pass the eye test, struggles to average double figures yet somehow thrives in the college game.
A theory about Aaron Craft
H/T Steve Sailer
Why White Fans Hate White Basketball Players
I played some basketball back in the bad old days of college and ROTC. Sometimes pickup, but mostly intramural stuff. I rarely scored, but I pulled down most rebounds and could shut down even the best 3-point shooters through smart harassment and tenacity (and admittedly, some gray-area fouls that my dad taught me, like lightly brushing the shooter’s elbow during a jump shot). I didn’t usually start because these are not easy skills for a coach to observe, despite the huge points differential that accrues from shutting down the other team’s highest scorer and dominating the rebounds from missed shots on both sides of the court.
And I mean it when I say “most” rebounds; being a thard, I was the only person who remembered how to properly “box out”, I always knew which way the ball would bounce off the rim, and I could time my jumps perfectly. It always mystified me that nobody else seemed to be able to do any of these things- they were never in the right place to catch the ball, and they always jumped at the wrong times. (In spite of my unimpressive height, I also had what we kids in those days called “ups”, which meant an impressive vertical leap.)
The intramural stuff was all inter-ROTC: the Air Force guys would square off against Army and Navy, and one time we traveled to Notre Dame to compete against ROTC teams from other universities. One year, our team was led by a short Chinese guy who tended to be in charge of stuff, but also tended to be in trouble for stuff that honestly wasn’t his fault. He didn’t put me in the game much because he didn’t understand basketball. I think he was just trying to assimilate.
The next year, a full melonhead white guy (a tall athletic superman, a smooth charismatic, and a genius- the typical, impressive melonhead suite) led the team, and he learned quickly to match me against the other team’s best 3-point shooter. Due to the referees’ laissez faire attitude toward fouls, and the fact that the rules did not allow for free-throws, the 3-point shooters tended to dominate the scoring. Because there was no reason not to foul someone attempting a short shot (at worst, they’d get the ball back for an inbound play), the area under the hoop was nothing short of a brawl. Pulling down a rebound guaranteed a flurry of blows, often including elbows, and only sometimes deliberately aimed at the basketball. Point guards learned quickly to avoid driving to the basket for a layup, lest all five defenders collapse into the paint and pantomime a street mugging, leaving the point guard battered and without the ball. Sometimes the refs would give his team the ball back on the sidelines, other times they would shrug “Eh, you win some, you lose some, you know?” as the other team charged down the court on a fast-break.
The punches and slaps and elbows were annoying at worst, but they made it extremely difficult to shoot a quick basket after pulling in a rebound. I would begin to spring and glance upward for my bearings to see a well-distributed web of limbs descending like clubs, each intent upon head, shoulders, and arms. Despite being a thard, I eventually learned to dish offensive rebounds back out to one of our shooters for another attempt. So I didn’t score a lot of points, but I remember making a pretty sizable difference in the outcome after all was said and done. And let’s be honest, brawl or no it was more fun than sitting on the bench.