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Several of my suitemates have been embroiled in a discussion this past week in their psychology class, after one of their classmates brought up the fact that African-Americans are more predisposed to being successful in sports, and in general, being more athletic. Now, this seems like a straight off racist statement to some, but I have to say, it seems like there is more truth to this statement than a lot of people are willing to admit.
To take a modern day example of this, look at what I consider the most athletically taxing professional sport out there today, basketball. Are there guys in there descended from other cultures besides those in than Africa? Sure, but more often than not, they are big slow guys, who basically just clog the lane, or small guys who pass the ball off or shoot from outside coverage.
Case in point, the Cleveland Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas. This guy is just a big pasty Lithuanian, and though he is gigantic at 7-foot-3, 260 lbs., he is in no way what somebody like Shaquille O’Neal is. I mean, there is really no comparison. One is dominating, mighty, some say “Superman-esque”, while the other just happens to be really tall, and can lift his arms over his head and get in the way. I mean, these guys on the court, the real superstars, are almost exclusively African-American, and the things they do are mind-boggling.
I mean, watching Dwight Howard at the dunk contest the other night, the only words to describe it are wow, whoa, or maybe whuh. Dude was like 10 feet in the air, from his feet. Nuts. And look at probably the greatest player of all time, a man who changed the sport, both horizontally and vertically, Wilt Chamberlain, and all his contemporaries, like Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
This was the first real wave of truly dominant African-Americans, and they made the game what it is today, taking it from its beginnings of a bunch of white boys tossing a ball into a peach basket. This is what I am talking about, you don’t see Caucasian-Americans doing this — all they can do is set shots and the like. It’s the African-American guys that make the game changing plays. They’re the ones we care about.
This is always a tough subject to broach, but the fact that African-Americans are so dominant comes from the fact that they flourished first without the hand of the white man to affect their development. A study done of Sudanese refugees in an Ethiopian refugee camp shows the Nilotic subgroup of southern Sudan are among the tallest in the world, and, in the right situations during childhood and adolescence, are able to grow even taller. This is according to Dr. Chali D. of Yekatit 12 Hospital, in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. They already have the genes to be taller, more dominant athletically; they needed only the right environment, i.e., living in America.
Moreover, another study done, as well as anecdotal evidence, shows Kenyans are the best runners, both long distance and sprint, in the world. I mean, who wins the Boston Marathon every year? And what does PowerThirst make you run like? That’s right, Kenyans. Watch the video.
Now, the fact that these athletic juggernauts are in America is no secret. During that dark time in world history when the African was thought of as subhuman, one of many groups throughout history seen as that by the Europeans, they were packed onto cramped prison ships and sent across the ocean. Those who died on the trip were inferior, genetically, and those who were stronger survived the trip.
Once they got here, their owners would breed those who worked hardest, had the strongest back, that sort of thing to get the best work out of them. After a time, the genetically inferior ones were weaned out, and only the strong survived. These people are the ancestors of those who play in sports today, the ones who dominate on the court, and just make the whole arena their own. Basketball isn’t the only sport, either; baseball, football, heck, even soccer has its greatest players being descended from those who were once slaves.
Athleticism in the African American community is no joke; these people are shocking in their physical prowess in many situations. Now, their skill in basketball in particular, over their white counterparts, may have something to do with their environment, where they have a group of friends and peers with which to play, while whites are tied up playing a sport like tennis, which needs fewer players to make a game, but still, when they play, it is on another level, and the day a white guy can step up to the level that Kobe or LeBron is at, or even Thierry Henry, the French footballer, or JaMarcus Russell of the Oakland Raiders, that’s the day that this argument will be moot. Until then, all I can say is, wow.