Where Damon Stoudamire gets his pot.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Down with James White

James White's athleticism has been on my radar for a while.

During my adolescence, I went to a school where all kids were required to own laptops. When developing this program, the school mistakenly thought the technology-infused academic environment would enhance our academic abilities. Most students ended up playing Quake III or Mario World on a SNES emulator during class. When a teacher walked by someone playing a game, a flurry of hand movement would occur and the game exited safely from the student's screen. Eventually the teachers were wise to these spasmodic actions when their entering our vicinity. My thing was basketball videos. Scouring shitty websites looking for anything basketball related.

(My buddy Tumelo and I used to watch Rucker Park highlights during Canadian History class. Our teacher often showed up to class twenty minutes late. Some girl in the class thought our oohing and ahhing came from watching porn.)

For the first half of high school, I went really big into University of North Carolina basketball. I think a UNC basketball website was my home page. I was up on all their recruits and everything, one of whom was Jawad Williams. Williams participated in a McDonald's All-American dunk contest. David Lee edge out James White in the finals. Lee was pretty creative, but White was an all-out athletic freak. Some videos were posted on the internet and White became a teenage hardcourt myth. Here was a high school kid converting free throw line dunks with more flair than any man who converted the same dunk in the League's version of the contest (Jordan, Dr. J, Brent Barry [obviously]).

Things didn't work out with the University of Florida (where Lee played his ball) and he ended up with the Cincinnati Bobcats for the remainder of his collegiate career. He hasn't held down a permanent NBA gig. Which doesn't matter because his potential move to China spells certain fame for one of basketball's greatest athletes (link via HoopsHype).

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, basketball is built on the spectacular. The greatest moments from most NBA games are when a player defies the conventions and framework of typical NBA basketball and complete a play which challenges the viewers notions of basketball's limits. And this is why James White will succeed in a global market.

White possesses athletic abilities few NBA players, if any, can replicate in the most competitive professional sports league in the world. Against professional competition in China White will dominate and find an ideal venue for his dunking abilitity.

Basketball is rapidly expanding. China's enthusiasm for American players during the 08 Olympics is all the evidence you need. Kobe Bryant's popularity compares favourably with Yao Ming's. And in a sport built on the spectacular, James White could enter a fruitful career in a flourishing global economy.

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