Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Small But Growing Culture Within the NBA

Hairball, you mean other than tats, and guns, and women?  I'm not an NBA fan.  I can't even remember  the last time I went to an NBA game.  I think, maybe,  it was in Dallas in 1990.  So, if you're not an NBA fan, why are you writing about it?  It's because whenever I see an article about something "different", I read it.  And this article in today's WSJ really caught my eye.  It seems that over the last decade the NBA has recruited more and more players from outside of the good old U S of A. (Hairball, you really don't watch the sport if that's news to you.)  Stop being a wisenheimer and let me finish.  For those of you who DON"T know this, the number of players born outside of the US has doubled over the last decade (up to 83).  This year, 5 of the top 15 highest paid players are from outside the US.  Ok, OK.  You've made your point.  Move on.  The locker room atmosphere is changing.  While the American players listen to their iPods, iPhones to their ears, looking at laptops, the foreign born players are....drum roll please...READING!  WHAT?!  READING?! In the NBA?!        Listen up.  If you take into account the countries they come from Russia,  the Ukraine, Lithuania, Nigeria etc and couple this with their economic status, they could not  afford nor did they have access to ipods, iphones, laptops etc.  Instead, they read.  Their coaches insisted that they read.  So, it has carried forward.  New Orleans Hornets player, Emeka Okafor, just finished The Road, Interpreter of Maladies, and The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao.  Trust me.  These are not light weight books.  Apparently some of this is nibbling at the edges of the NBA culture.  The Bucks gave all of their players Kindles for Christmas.  But don't get the idea that this all hunky dory with the other players.  (Do you think any of the players in the NBA would say hunky dory? I'm not going to write what I believe they would actually say.)  They do make fun of "the readers".  So, now you know why I read the article.  Pairing reading with the NBA was such an oxymoron that to me it was like putting Obama and Cheney in a room and asking  them to come up with a plan.  Any plan.... Here's the link for the whole article:   

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