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White Man is Jumping

CNYcentral.com

Wondering where Eric Devendorf disappeared to? How about the New Zealand National Basketball league, where he’s averaging 31.8 points per game, and has caught on as a favorite for his talent and his style of play.

According to Terry Orchard, former coach of Devo’s Wellington Saints, Devendorf is just playing on a different plane:

“That’s just what I call unconscious competence of guys who are very skilled and have the ability to play at the highest level.”

Yeah, we saw that too. The ability to get to the basket and finish with both hands, the great jump shot with the wacky sideways rotation, and the unmatched attitude – for better or for worse.

So it’s good to see Devo excelling somewhere and getting a chance to continue doing what he loves. But would he be viewed as a better player if not for one incident a few Halloweens ago and a little more pigment in his skin?

The second part is what Orchard is curious about:

“If he was black, he would be an absolute sensation. We would see him differently. I’m not coming at it from a racist point of view but he’s an unassuming white guy and he doesn’t have an athletic figure.”

Wait, what? Unassuming? Did he really say that? It’s ok for me to say that if I ran a 3-second 40-yard dash, I might be able to beat Usain Bolt in the Olympics. However, this is different.

Unassuming? Dictionary, please:

Exhibiting no pretensions, boastfulness, or ostentation; modest.”

No boastfulnessModest? Right. At this point we should probably discredit everything Orchard says.

And about being black? Yikes. Isn’t he already a sensation in New Zealand? Is he saying all white guys don’t have athletic figures?

This would be the spot where I’d post the picture of my athletic figure to prove the guy wrong – if I had one. So we move on.

Sometimes (and especially in this case) things are better left unsaid. Eric Devendorf will likely never see a minute of time in the NBA. If the talent were there, the character issues wouldn’t matter. See: Artest, Ron.

And even if it’s what everybody is thinking – this guy doesn’t get respect because he’s white – you just don’t say it.

Suggesting that if Devendorf were black he would be more popular does nobody any good. It makes Orchard look like an idiot (because Devo IS very popular overseas), and it puts Devendorf in an awkward spot.

There’s probably a reporter out there who is dumb enough to go ask Devendorf after a game, “So Eric, you scored 25 points tonight – do you think you would have gotten 40 if you were black?”

“What?!?”

“Well Terry Orchard said…”

You see where that’s going.

So, uh, thanks Terry for making everyone uncomfortable.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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