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Do White NBA Players Matter? Luka, Kristaps And Mavericks Could Be Bird, McHale And Celtics 2.0

Add Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks to the list of things vandalized, looted and torched by Black Lives Matter.

We can’t discuss Doncic and the Mavericks the way we once argued over the significance of Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics. 

No. Today we have to pretend that Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Boban Marjanovic aren’t possibly the European, second coming of Bird, Kevin McHale and Bill Walton.

Nope. Nothing to see here. Three white guys are not shaking up the NBA’s Black Lives Matter Bubble with their performance against Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Mavericks thumped the Clippers 127-114 Wednesday night, squaring their playoff series at a game apiece. Dallas outplayed Los Angeles in Game 1 before the refs overreacted and tossed Porzingis for escalating a skirmish. Last night, Doncic, Porzingis and Marjanovic combined for 64 points on 21-of-38 shooting and 24 rebounds. 

Luka Doncic is one of the five best basketball players in the world. He might be ranked number one when the Bubble bursts.

This season, the 6-foot-7 shooting guard averaged 29 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists. Last night, he dropped 28, 8 and 7 on Kawhi and the Clippers. Doncic has scored a combined 70 points in his first two NBA playoff games, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record of 69.

The 21-year-old Doncic is the closest thing we’ve seen to Larry Bird. On last night’s broadcast, TNT’s Chris Webber told a story about another former player comparing Doncic to James Harden. 

Why?

I get that they work downhill, pounding the ball at the top of the key and driving to the rim. But James Harden at 21 was averaging 12 points and coming off the bench in Oklahoma City.

Today James Harden plays in Mike D’Antoni’s gimmick offense and stat-padding system. Doncic plays for arguably the best coach in basketball, Rick Carlisle.

Carlisle is an abrasive weirdo. But he’s as good a coach as there is in the NBA. What Carlisle did to LeBron James and the Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals was some of the best work in the history of coaching. 

Harden is a one-on-one scoring machine. He’s the new Iceman. Doncic is Larry Bird, a revolutionary disruptor who doesn’t fit the profile. Modern PC sports culture hates when you compare a white player to another white player. I’m not politically correct. Doncic is Bird 2.0.

The Mavericks will be a major problem for years to come as long as Doncic and Porzingis stay healthy. The Mavs can win the Bubble. 

Wouldn’t that be an incredible story? An NBA team with three white starters (Doncic, Porzingis and Maxi Kleber) wins the Black Lives Matter Bubble. Antifa might burn the Bubble to the ground in protest. Or maybe Antifa and BLM would celebrate. The Mavericks are a globalist’s wet dream. They’re led by a Slovenian (Doncic), Latvian (Porzingis), Serbian (Boban), and German (Kleban).  

It’s very insensitive of me to bring any of this up. We shouldn’t talk about race unless it meets the approval of the BLM Thought Police. Let’s check with Bomani Jones and the woke warriors genuflecting at the feet of Dan Le Batard. Or let’s don’t. 

Doncic’s skin color is a legitimate storyline worthy of exploration. 

The racial dynamics of the Magic Johnson-vs-Larry Bird basketball feud saved the NBA 40 years ago. Bird’s whiteness and greatness in a league dominated by black players made the NBA compelling the same way Tiger Woods’ brown skin made the PGA Tour must-see TV.

The Mavericks are unusual. It’s too bad everyone is afraid to celebrate and authentically discuss the significance of Doncic’s arrival as an NBA superstar.

Two weeks ago, the thought police trashed Bill Simmons for suggesting Doncic’s assists weren’t cheap — like James Harden’s.

As a kid, I was hardcore Team Magic in the Magic-Bird war. Whenever they played, I kept my own stats because I thought the official scorers favored Bird. My best friend on my junior high football team was hardcore Team Bird. We argued Magic vs Bird nearly every day. We argued Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney for nearly two years. I was Team Holmes. He was Team Cooney.

Kids and adults are less likely to have those arguments today because the thought police are lurking, waiting to pounce. We have to pretend Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle, a former Larry Bird teammate, haven’t built what looks like the new Boston Celtics. 

What’s worse, is that many of the sports fans who would marvel at the uniqueness of the Mavericks have abandoned the NBA because of its alliance with the divisive Black Lives Matter movement.

Maybe Luka is good enough to bring them back.

If you want Jason Whitlock for your TV or radio show or podcast, contact gary@outkick.com.

Written by Jason Whitlock

Jason Whitlock is a longtime sports writer, TV personality, radio host, podcaster and the newest member of the Outkick family.
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26 Comments

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  1. Huge Mavs fan here. I was so pisssed off when I tried to watch the first game of Mavs in the bubble and saw my favorite players, from foreign countries, kneeling. Peer pressure you think? They have ZERO reason to be disrespecting our anthem. It was a slap in the face. I don’t know if I’ll be able to overcome it and enjoy watching them play again. The Mavs are a beautiful basketball team who play basketball. Their ball movement and offense reminds me of the game of old. Sucks I can’t enjoy this run.

  2. Great Column. Jason highlights a couple things that the NBA is missing:

    Actual personal rivalries and something unique and special.

    A new young white super star like docic might be unique, but maybe he needs a consistant competitor. Or the image of a competitor. Players need to rival others.

    Today, Magic Johnson and Bird claim time be friends. I didn’t get that when I saw them play. I saw two remarkably similar talents with very different personalities. And they battled hard and with vigor.

    Their NBA battles were battles to the end. It showed the world how different people can look and move and create, and yet they are equals as long as the effort and desire and competition exceed expectations. I could never really say if Magic was better than Bird. They seemed to rise up with each challenge.

    If white players in Dallas create interest in the NBA, that’s great, but to sustain it, Doncic needs a counterpart that battles against him.

    He can be black, white or Clear, but the NBA needs Dudes that don’t like each other on the court. Hard fouls are part of the game, but not when you drive, step back and only shoot 3’s.

    We need more Charles Barkley types in the NBA and not more Kevin Durant. White, Black, Brown, Grey, Clear … It don’t matter …

  3. This paragraph is a grand slam home run. I am stilling laughing.

    “It’s very insensitive of me to bring any of this up. We shouldn’t talk about race unless it meets the approval of the BLM Thought Police. Let’s check with Bomani Jones and the woke warriors genuflecting at the feet of Dan Le Batard. Or let’s don’t. “

  4. Jason, great writing, great insight, and great analogy, as usual. Sadly, for me personally, it is your last line that resonates. Can Luca bring me back to watching? I am not sure. I am doubtful. I feel that we as Americans are cattle following high smooth walls within a slaughterhouse built for bipedal livestock. (and in this analogy, it is anger and hate which represent the “walls” which prevent us from seeing where we are headed).

    Jack Dorsey, who you have so informatively written, just donated 10 million dollars to Ibram X Kendi’s organization . Kendi, the author of the divisive book, “How to be an anti-racist”. This book, and Kendi himself, teach us to divide and hate each other by manipulating data and cherry picking anecdotes. Rather than explaining myself why I think this book is so divisive, I am quoting Coleman Hughes (anyone can easily search for Coleman’s twitter page which contains his article)

    From Coleman:
    “Kendi correctly notes that blacks are more likely than whites to die of prostate cancer and breast cancer, but does not include the fact that blacks are less likely than whites to die of esophageal cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, brain cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and leukemia. Of course, it should not be a competition over which race is more likely to die of which disease––but that’s precisely my point. By selectively citing data that show blacks suffering more than whites, Kendi turns what should be a unifying, race-neutral battle ground––namely, humanity’s fight against deadly diseases––into another proxy battle in the War on Racism.”

    The above quote by Coleman Hughes perfectly explains what is going on with our country.

    I don’t want to have anger towards the NBA. I try not to be angry. But I just can’t watch. I can’t watch a league that creates such division. It is getting too scary what is happening to our country. It is exactly like you said, Lebron and the orange man are birds of the same feather.

    Marc Cuban is intelligent and he is a billionaire. Why then, can he not try to help our country? Does he not care about the future of his own children and grandchildren? Does he not care about the future generations of Americans who will be slaughtered by the Russian and/or Chinese military when we have imploded and left ourselves sitting ducks? (I realize this is harsh language, and to anyone who thinks that the Russians and Chinese will not relish the day when they can stomp the United States into oblivion, I respectfully disagree)

    • i think instead of overthinking it, you should think of the left as power hungry liars…until they prove that they are not, then assume they are…to me they haven’t come up with much…racism is not as prevalent as they want you to believe

  5. Jason, how many years was I Jimmy Conners vs Arthur Ashe playing against my best friend…and I was Larry Bird and he was Magic…..for years. And we laughed, loved tennis, BBall, and all sports. Brings back good, fun memories. Too bad today that that would be sacrilege, in the worst way.

  6. I don’t know how you keep churning out so many great columns, but keep it up! I will say with the Tiger comparison that although Tiger certainly brought in a new demographic of golf viewers because of his skin color, he became larger than life because of his on course dominance. In those days athletic superiority was enough to achieve superstar status, but unfortunately today achievement has little to do with fame.

  7. Sorry Jason, although Doncic dominates like Bird, he doesn’t shoot it or pass as well. His free throw percentage isn’t even close to Bird’s, and please look at the highlight film of Bird’s passes. Also, Larry was one of the toughest and most intense competitors of all time. Doncic may get there, but Magic Johnson was right, there will never be another Larry Bird.

  8. The NBA will go the way of And1 and die from its self inflicted wound. The game is unwatchable and politics has nothing to do with it. Players on offense try to trick defensive players into fouling them, and the refs bail them out with bogus calls. Flopping is 1000 times worse than soccer. Bye bye NBA, it was a great sport when men played it.

  9. Luka’s meteoric rise in the NBA: Top 5 player now…maybe the BEST PLAYER when the bubble bursts!

    Is he THAT GOOD…or is the current product THAT BAD?
    So Luka plays and stars for his Slovenian club team when he’s, what, 14-15 yrs. old (that would be a HS freshman).
    He joins Real Madrid’s club team and at age 16 he plays for the senior club team (youngest player ever – and a HS sophomore). Helps Madrid win the Euro Cup League at age 18 (HS senior).
    Two years later he makes All-Rookie team and wins Rookie of the Year having just turned 20.
    And now he’s a top 5 player…and maybe the BEST player in the world (b/c the NBA has the best players) when the Florida NBA bubble bursts after the playoffs.

    Just another reason I don’t watch any more. If a 21 yr. old Slovenian kid is going to play Moses and drag the NBA out of the desert…well, that wouldn’t fly even in Hollywood. And if his game is SO GOOD…that just proves the current NBA is a dumpster fire.

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