Kevin Love wins "White Guy Award"
You're looking at the NBA player who has made the most out of limited natural abilities, according to NBA GMs.
The Timberwolves roster isn't quite as chock full of white dudes as it was last season, but they still have the best "white guy" in the NBA, according to the league's annual survey of its 30 general managers.
We put "white guy" in quotations because GMs weren't asked who the best white guy is, per se. Instead, they were asked, "Which player makes the most of limited natural ability?"
But they might as well have been asked to rank the best white players, as four out of the top five vote-getters happen to look more like Woody Harrelson than Wesley Snipes, if you catch my drift.
The top five were Love, followed by Marc Gasol, Matt Bonner, Jared Dudley (Dudley is biracial), and Love's teammate and sometime sparring partner, J.J. Barea.
On Deadspin, Greg Howard blasted the racial undertone of the "limited natural ability" question put to GMs:
[F]or centuries, the narrative has been that blacks, males especially, are part-adolescent, part-animal. The idea that the best basketball players--nearly all of whom are black--aren't just supremely athletic, but also understand and manipulate the game better than others, doesn't work with that.
So the question, "Which player makes the most of limited natural ability?" exists as way to work in some back-patting for those few Caucasians among a sea of black faces. And thus do people carve out a silly distinction between the grinds and the "natural" athletes, as if Kevin Love weren't engaging in a prodigy of "natural" athleticism--on par with any LeBron James dunk--every time he clears space in traffic with his "naturally" big ass, pulls in a rebound with his "naturally" long arms, and fires a precision outlet pass three-quarters of the way down the court thanks to his "naturally" keen vision.
It should be noted that the NBA consistently receives praise for having lots of diversity in front offices and in coaching staffs. At the end of the 2011 season, 33 percent of head coaches and 45 percent of assistants were people of color, along with 26 percent of front office executives (including general managers).
But of course, just because someone's black doesn't mean they don't think "white guy" when they hear "limited natural ability."
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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