Print and Go Back ESPN.com: TrueHoop [Print without images]

Friday, October 29, 2010
Not funny yet

By Henry Abbott

Pity the family-friendly, intelligent, down-to-earth NBA athlete.

Every time one of the nuttier players does something embarrassing in a nightclub, or gets in a fight, or is convicted of a DUI, out come the racially tinged stereotypes that NBA players are the latest sign of the apocalypse. And those prejudices taint all the players, not just the bad actors.

I'm not saying they're all choir boys. But the vast majority of these humans are, like humans everywhere, human.

"What may shock you about NBA players," a trainer once told me, "is that they're entirely normal."

So, where does that idea that NBA players are generally selfish, dangerous, stupid or nuts come from?

I could use an armada of sociologists, historians, civil rights experts and media critics, to really dig in.

But stuff like this has to be part of it:



That's actor Ken Jeong (who is famous for an insanely over-the-top character in "The Hangover") and Derrick Rose co-hosting a tour of the most outlandish set of pimp stereotypes since I don't know when. A pyramid of women? Gold clothes? Sitting atop huge stacks of cash? Making it rain? Jet skiing on a pool of caviar?

I know! I get it! This is obviously the result of people brainstorming the craziest things they could, to get laughs. It was intended to be edgy, or beyond. They did a great job at that. It is outlandish. And the comments on YouTube are strongly in favor.

Just not sure we're at the point where we're ready to laugh -- or profit from -- these kinds of stereotypes yet. As much as Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard or Ken Jeong doubtless get that it's all a joke, some of those at home nodding along, or laughing out loud, are doing so for all the wrong reasons. This is the kind of thing that might be funny after some kind of global racial enlightenment, but we all agree we're not there yet, right?