I walked into the Nets’ locker room in Houston as they dressed to play the Rockets. Lin was on the injured list for Houston that night. Seeing me, one Nets player could not resist: “I thought Jeremy Lin was out tonight,” he said, feigning surprise. I gave the player an incredulous stare. He broke the silence. “You aren’t going to tweet about that are you?” he said, suddenly serious.
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.
That 18.3 percent of whites in the NBA from TIDES also includes non-Americans such as Europeans, Canadians and Australians of white descent. Entering the 2015-16 season, the NBA had 42 white American-born players. The NBA had its inaugural season 70 years ago with a league full of white players. As of Sunday, there were 43 white Americans on 30 NBA teams with the season starting Tuesday. Eight teams didn’t have a white American player entering last season, while seven teams don’t have one now.
Has anyone ever said anything to you racially on the basketball floor? Redick: I remember Rodney Stuckey, who I am fine with, we were in Detroit and he said something to me. I can’t even remember what it was, but the way he said it and the way his tone was, ‘white something,’ I lost it. I remember we both got a double technical. I can’t remember specifically what it was. It was a long time ago. We were all good. For the most part, it doesn’t come all that often.
Parsons: Being white in the NBA, there are a lot of stereotypes. It’s almost like a joking thing among guys in the league about the stereotypes, whether it’s music or food or the way we dress. It’s just stereotypes that are kind of like an ongoing thing that goes on in the NBA … There’s stuff where people call me, ‘white boy,’ or things like that. Same thing with stereotypes. Obviously, I’m a shooter because I’m white or I’m slow and less athletic because I’m white. But not hate. When I dunk on somebody, it’ll be like, ‘Oh, Chandler Parsons is deceptively athletic.’ Why wouldn’t I just be athletic?”