White American and minority in the same sentence doesn’t sound right at all, but they definitely are in the NBA.  While you may think there’s plenty of them around, it’s actually a lot of white European players; white American players are shrinking in numbers each year.  As of Sunday, there were 43 white Americans on 30 NBA teams with the season starting Tuesday. The Undefeated spoke with Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick, Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson, Chicago Bulls forward Doug McDermott, Memphis Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons, Washington Wizards forward-center Jason Smith and former NBA guard Jimmer Fredette of the Shanghai Sharks about being a minority in the league. Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love and Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward were also invited to participate and respectfully declined.

Here are some answers I chose from the interview.  You can read the full article HERE.

What is it like to be a white American in the NBA?

Doug McDermott: When they see a Dirk [Nowitzki], they’ll go, ‘Well, that’s a white player.’ But, they’re not American guys … Just from an outsider perspective, I bet a lot of NBA fans when they see a white guy, they’re always probably from Spain, or you know Germany, or France. But there’s very few of us. We’re proud of it.

Jimmer Fredette: I’ve been very blessed and fortunate to have been able to play basketball in the NBA. It’s an honor to be able to play the game I love for my profession and I hope I can give every white American kid out there hope that they can make it to the NBA no matter what race they are or where they are from.

Who is the best white American NBA player?

Anderson: Kevin Love is supertalented. I grew up playing against Kevin Love quite a bit in college and everything. But, there is no harder-working white American basketball player than J.J. Redick.

Parsons: Me, of course.

Has anyone ever said anything to you racially on the basketball floor?

Anderson: There might be a few, like, ‘white guys can’t jump’ jokes. I’m a shooter. I’m not the most fast, athletic, running player. So, there’s a lot of just little jokes like that. But at the same time, if you can play, there is no race. There is no color in basketball and that’s the beauty of it.

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?”

Fredette: The only thing I can think of is in AAU when you would see a team with all black players and then one or two white kids, the joke would be that the ‘white boys’ would always be the shooters. That was me on my AAU team, so I was always spotted as the shooter by other teams.

McDermott: A couple guys [at USA Basketball camp] have joked have been like, ‘Oh, token white guy.’ That’s just the way it is, you know. They assume I’m just floor space, but I feel like I’m showing them that I can do a lot. You know I’ve played with a lot of good players here [at USA camp], and they’ve all been obviously very respectful …

Has it been hard for you to discuss the racial tension with your African-American teammates and how to react as a team to the playing of the national anthem?

Redick: My mother’s side is Swedish. My dad’s side is Irish. They were sold an American dream. They came here voluntarily. African-Americans were the only people that didn’t come here voluntarily. They were forced here. And so culture, it’s just different and been different. For white America, and I include myself because I’m white, it’s interesting to me how we can pick and choose the parts of black culture that are acceptable and not acceptable. It’s interesting to me as a whole that’s what we choose to do.

I can do my rap music and listen to that, and that’s OK. But we are going to racially profile young black men because they are ‘criminals.’ It’s just a stark divide between perception and reality … It’s just such a rich culture and a rich history. There are so many layers to it.

I would say this with what is going on in our country, the things that Rosa Parks fought for, the things that Martin Luther King was fighting for, there has been progress. In a way, you can make an argument that things are better. But on the other hand there are some other things where they are still starting behind the eight ball. So there is still a lot of progress to make.

What have you learned about black culture while playing in the NBA?

Anderson: I like hip-hop, yeah. I mean it’s funny because, well, I like all kinds of different music. I think honestly my favorite kind of food is soul food. Like, I love soul food. Like, in college, one of my teammates brought me over to his family, and his mom cooked the best meal of my entire life.

McDermott: I listen to more rap, hip-hop in the locker room. I love being around that culture. It’s very fun to be around, getting to know guys from different backgrounds that maybe didn’t come from as good a background as I did. It makes you realize how blessed you were, you know, growing up.

Why do you think there aren’t more white American NBA players?

Redick: It does seem there are less and less white Americans. I’d like to know with [Kirk] Hinrich and Steve Blake out this year, how many white guards are there this year in the NBA? Are there even five? If you’re 6-feet-10 inches, can walk, are skilled and can chew gum and all that, defend the rim, you’ll have a job. It doesn’t matter what your skin color is. You’ll have a job.

I don’t know if it’s other sports. Part of it is the game is faster. Players play in space. There is more of an emphasis on shooting. Maybe they are not being taught in suburbia. I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer to that is.

McDermott: It is just the European presence in the NBA now. When you see drafts, and there’s white European versus a white American, they’ll probably go for the European. That’s kind of the way it’s gone, you know. I can pretty much name every white American in the NBA. So, I feel blessed and fortunate to be here, but you know it’s just kind of the way it is. It’s the way it’s been, I guess, for a while now. Doesn’t mean there won’t be more, but I’m glad that I’m able to be in the NBA, and follow my dreams …

Parsons: The NBA is a collection of some of the most athletic guys in the world. And white guys just aren’t that athletic.

What advice would you give to a young white American kid who dreams of playing in the NBA?

Parsons: Play golf.

But seriously, I would tell the same thing to a white kid that I would tell to any kid. ‘If you love basketball, work hard and believe in yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black or whatever.’

Redick: First of all, you better grow. I get a lot of parents who come up to me and they’re like, ‘My son wants to play in the NBA.’ I’m like, ‘You’re 5-10 and your wife is 5-6.’ Just tell him to get a good education, you know. The thing I always tell kids is that I played at Duke, it was a great experience, but the only reason why I could go to Duke was because I had good grades. That’s the thing I try to give to anybody, really. If you’re a 5-9 white guy, good luck to you, bro. Good luck to you, man.

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