The NBA certainly has its long list of European players. But the Los Angeles Clippers starting guard says he recently noticed that there are not a lot of white Americans in the NBA anymore. As the team opens their season on Wednesday, Redick says it will be the first time in his NBA career that he will be the lone white American on his team in an African-American dominated league.
“This is the first year where I’m like, ‘You know what, there are not a lot of white guys in the NBA,’ ” Redick told The Undefeated. “I was looking at the free agent list of guys still out there. I saw Chris Kaman, Kirk Hinrich. Those guys have all been in the league since I’ve been in the league.
“I was messing with Doc Rivers about it. The best white guy is probably Kevin Love. It’s interesting. Someone who has way more time on their hands, it would be an interesting idea to kind of figure out what is happening.”
Well, The Undefeated actually had the time to try to answer Redick’s question and explore why there are so few white Americans in the NBA.
According to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, the NBA was 74.3 percent black during the 2015-16 season and 81.7 percent were people of color. The study said that the NBA was 18.3 percent white last season, which was 5 percent less than the season before. The league was also a record 22.3 percent international last season.
“There is always a distinction between the white European and the white American,” Redick said. “It’s not just a racial thing. It’s a cultural thing that is sort of different. I grew up playing for Boo Williams. I grew up battle rapping in dorm rooms and hotel rooms in AAU [Amateur Athletic Union]. For me, this is kind of normal.”
Redick was one of five white American NBA players — and one former white American NBA player — who agreed to discuss what it is like to be a white American player in the league. Redick, Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson, Chicago Bulls forward Doug McDermott, Memphis Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons, Washington Wizards forward-center Jason Smith and former NBA guard Jimmer Fredette of the Shanghai Sharks took part. Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love and Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward were also invited to participate and respectfully declined to talk about what is certainly a tough subject.
What is it like to be a white American in the NBA?
Jason Smith: There are not too many of us. You have to have that ambition and work ethic to try to prove to people that you are good enough. It’s really an honor because there are only 450 of us in this NBA. To be one of those 450 is an honor to me.
Doug McDermott: When they see a Dirk [Nowitzki], they’ll go, ‘Well, that’s a white player.’ But, they’re not American guys … Just from an outsider perspective, I bet a lot of NBA fans when they see a white guy, they’re always probably from Spain, or you know Germany, or [ … ]