On the latest edition of "Warriors Wednesday" with Ethan Sherwood Strauss, he and Marcus Thomspon mentioned their own designation of the NBA as the WNBA and BNBA - White NBA and Black NBA. They were referring to the tendency that most caucasian journalists somehow are better developing good relationships with management and coaches, and the African-American journalists are closer to the players.
We already wrote about the phenomenon of being "light-skinned" and the implications it has in basketball culture and in the league. Just think of Kobe criticizing Jordan Clarkson for "going to the hole like a light-skinned dude." This has deeper roots than basketball, here's one analysis of it by Prof. Hall.
If being light-skinned is an obstacle to get true recognition, then being white must be an impossible hurdle. White men can't jump, remember? Yet, it seems a kid from Slovenia, of all places, is getting there. Luka Doncic is taking the league by storm, not just with his stats, 20.7 pts, 5.6 ast, 7.2 rbd, but also with his fourth courter heroics.
The kid has the clutch gene. He's a baller. These are attributes that will get you extra brownie points among basketball fans. The final step is being recognized by the legends. One such legend is Charles Barkley (via Brad Townsend):
Because let me tell you something, that boy Doncic, he's the real deal. As we used to say in my day, that's a bad white boy. I mean, (expletive), he's not there yet, but we're getting really close to little black kids in the 'hood wearing his jersey. Real close. It used to be Larry Bird, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Ginobili, that was it. Doncic, if he keeps playing like this, we're going to see his number in the 'hood."
Out of all the unofficial trophies a player can get, this one is one of the best ones. Influencing the culture and becoming an icon makes sure you stay relevant long after you retire.
Luka is a long way from retirement and he may have a lot of actual trophies when he is done, but he is already establishing himself in the minds of fans and legends. It's time to start learning where to find Slovenia on the map.