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3 reasons why the NBA should have affirmative action

A response to this well-written article.

I am unlucky. In the lottery of life, I came up empty. I lost because I have college educated parents who placed achievement over athletics, were Asian, not very tall, and not very good at sports. I live in a safe neighborhood and was unfortunate enough to have attended a local high school that had a nationally ranked speech and debate team but a very crappy basketball team. Due to the lack of diversity in my student population, I am not playing in the National Basketball Association. That's why I support affirmative action for the NBA.

I was shocked after attending a Golden State Warriors game recently. Most of the players were black. This does not reflect the demographic of California. Upon further research, I discovered the NBA is 78% black. I could not believe this lack of diversity. Clearly, blacks are overrepresented in the NBA whereas Asians are an underrepresented minority. We must begin reversing this trend today.

1) The NBA discriminates against unathletic and unskilled people

Compared with my friends, I'm very agile. I'm not that strong but I make up for it with dirty play. Somehow this is not sufficient for me to gain entry into the NBA. The league discriminates against people like me who can't dunk, block a shot off the backboard, or run a pick and roll correctly. I don't see how this is fair because I can make up for those deficiencies by fouling, missing shots, and turning the ball over at a prolific rate. I also take a fair share of ill-advised three-pointers and make poor decisions under pressure. Why should I be punished for my genetics and poor basketball upbringing? 

2) The NBA discriminates against short non-black people

There are two current NBA players under 5' 10" - Nate Robinson and Isaiah Thomas. They are both black. I am under 5' 10" but I am not black. Many of my friends who are also under 5' 10" and are not black, are not in the NBA either. Something is going on here.

3) The NBA's definition of merit is flawed

In the NBA, merit is defined by buckets. As in how well you help your team put the ball in the bucket and prevent the opposing team from doing likewise. This is a very narrow patriarchy-mandated definition. Character qualities are far more important. I think the definition of "merit" should be expanded to include sportsmanship - specifically shaking hands after the game, saying "good game", and making eye contact with opposing team members. I do this all the time after pick-up games. People truly appreciate the merit of this. The NBA should as well.


Objection: But the "crown jewel" of the UC system, UC Berkeley, is supposed to reflect California's demography

Response: UC Berkeley is an elite public institution of higher education just as the NBA is a league of elite basketball players. Elite means not everyone gets to go there. In fact, most people don't. Reflecting the demographic of California is not the UC system's mandate (nor should it be) and goes against the definition of elite. 

Objection: But education is different, not everyone is entitled to play in the NBA but everyone should be entitled to an education 

Response: Really? Where does the constitution say that? I don't remember that. And I specifically don't recall any California resident being guaranteed a UC Berkeley education, much less a UC / CSU education or even junior college education.

Objection: But the current system without affirmative action is unfair and we're just helping to even an unequal playing field

Response: Yes. And affirmative action is supposed to correct racial discrimination by giving racial preference? It feels counter-productive. Wouldn't it make more sense to do this by economic status (which the UC system does today)?


  1. Remember, "What these young bloods have to understand is that this game always has been and will always be ... about buckets."

  2. Why not get rid of "affirmative action" at even lower levels of education? Surely lots of bad students don't need a high school degree. We could cut off education for poor performers and send them out to the work force. That would save a lot of money! And make education better for those that remain.

    Thanks for the thoughtful article. Your fellow Cal grad, Chad
    P.S. This comment was tongue-in-cheek. I'm not sure if your analogy is ;)

  3. Chad, I will sign your petition to eliminate lower performing preschoolers if you sign my petition to allow me into the NBA. Good to hear from you bro.

  4. It's fun to banter with you, Fred!

    Another place where Chinese-Americans are underrepresented and blacks are over-represented is federal prison. I think you'd have a better chance getting a spot in one of these than in the NBA. Good luck whichever path you choose!

    I'm happy to sign your petition, but I think you'd be better off with a youtube video. Next time I'm home you can "posterize" me for it.

  5. this is an entertaining satire, but i'm not sure that it illuminates the topic from the point of view of someone who is wrestling with this idea using christian values as a basis for their analysis. like, after reading it, i giggled, but i still had no clue what jesus would actually do if he were confronted with an issue like this this. it's so easy to have knee-jerk reactions to this topic based on the peculiarities of our individual lived experiences, with whatever our "liberal" or "conservative" biases and political ideologies push us to rationalize. i think it's more difficult to really identify principles that we believe in, and use them to cut through the clutter of talking points, ego, and self interest. anyway, i think if i were to ever to turn this into an amazing life-changing sermon or essay, that would be the route i would take.

    1. ^from ener. sorry, forgot to sign in before i typed that.

  6. Ener, I have a different post I'm working on to address what you're talking about. This was just one gloss on it. One quick note: even though my blog is named WWJD, my purpose is more what would Jesus have us do, since he's not physically around. So I will come at it from that perspective.


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