Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Great White Hope

A few words about the latest "GWH" at Duke. The latest incarnation is J.J Redick. He follows a string of GWH's at Duke. They all have the same things in common, their skin color, their supposed work ethic and their lack of success in the NBA. The funny thing is the 2 best players at Duke of the past 15 years (Grant Hill, Elton Brand) were never given the adulation that GWH's were. Starting with Danny Ferry then Christian Latener, then Bobby Hurley (I will admit that Bobby Hurley had NBA skills. His near fatal car accident was the biggest reason that his NBA career never panned out), then amazingly Steve Wojciehowski, then Mike Dunleavy to Redick, the press has fallen over themselves to praise these players. It's almost easy to figure out which player on Duke the press will fall in love with. My money is on their new point guard, Greg Paulus (he's short, he's white and I'm sure he's the "hardest worker in the ACC"). God knows that David Stern would shit himself if he could just find a white superstar player (Adam Morrison are you there?), but great players can't be created. They either have the skills or they don't. Being slow and unable to create your own shot does not usually lead to great success in the NBA (Steve Kerr notwithstanding).

Seriously though, do you really think that Magic Johnson spent less time in the gym working on his game than Larry Bird did? Do you really think that Bird had any less natural talent than Johnson did? Why is it that only white players get to be gritty, scrappy hard workers? If you listened to the press then that is exactly what they would have you believe. And apparently 99% of those kids go to Duke. So we get back to Redick. Sure he can shoot, there's no question about that. And who knows, at the next level he may turn into Steve Kerr (spot up 3 point shooter), which wouldn't be a bad thing. He's not going to be the second coming of Larry Bird (sorry David) and neither is Adam Morrison (sorry again David). It would be nice if there was just some perspective about these GWH's (I thought that Keith Van Horn was the next Larry Bird). Great white players have shown up before and it will happen again, but it won't be because the press builds him up (By the way, Larry's career numbers in college, 30ppg - 13 rebounds - 5 assists, we may never see his like again either white or black).

Let's all hope that the next great white player shows up soon. Not because he'll be David Stern's wet dream, but because it's always fun to see a great player perform.



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