(rgj.com)     

Slightly better day for the tourney today, both in quality of the games (still not too great) and my bracket (12-4 yesterday to 13-3). Still not great either, but could have been worse. If this were the Targum, a laurel would go to Winthrop, with Villanova and the lack of upsets/interesting games receiving dreaded darts. That would teach them.

Now, time for our game. First, look at the two pictures above. The one on the left is of Nevada’s Nick Fazekas, while the one on the right is of North Carolina’s Brandan Wright. Both are power forwards. On nbadraft.net, which has profiles of both players, the description for one includes phrases like “extremely mobile for his size” and “truly a freak of nature in terms of athletic ability, agility, and mobility,” but also says his “intensity and effort level need to improve.” (To be fair, it also describes his understanding of the game as “exceptional.”) He is compared to Kevin Garnett.

For the other player, the description includes such things as “athleticism is below average” and “not a great leaper and lacks fluidity,” but among his strengths are “great feel for the game, makes great decisions, excellent fundamentals.” This player is compared to Vladimir Radmanovic.

I’ll bet you didn’t have much trouble figuring out which player is which. And this is a pretty common thing. And basketball is not the only sport for which a divide like this exists. (Also, replace “white” and “running back” with “black” and “quarterback” to open up a whole other mess.)

The real truth is probably somewhere in between. Part of it is prejudice, part of it is empirical evidence, and a big chunk of both is probably a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m not sure what could be done to potentially change this situation (keeping an “open mind” won’t do much good if black people are really just naturally more athletic on average, for example), but it is interesting to observe nonetheless. Good night, from Outside the Lines.

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