Monday, April 7, 2008

Van Gundy Says Psycho T and Big Ben are Overrated

Did you know that Tyler Hansbrough is overrated? It's true. The media just loves him. Some of Psycho T's critics say it is because he is white. That obviously means he is a less-talented player who must work harder to maximize his potential.

Would the qualities assigned to Hansbrough be assigned to him if he were black? Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, on his radio show, addressed the question.
"Well probably not. But I think there's two things going on there. Well three. Let's give the guy his due. He plays the game well and he plays it hard okay. With no hyperbole he does do that so let's start there.

"But then the second and third factors I think definitely you hit on it there's the racial thing. People go crazy over white players. They tend to assign character qualities to them rather than just good play. And then the third thing is the emotion. He plays with a lot of emotion. You know, he's jumping up and down, he's all over the place and for whatever reason when fans see that they think that equates to a greater desire to win than a guy let's say that plays like Tim Duncan played even in college. Who just sort of pretty even keeled, doesn't show a lot of emotion but just keeps playing well and getting the job done.

"For whatever reason fans, media whoever equate the show of emotion with a greater desire to win and I think it's B.S. But I think it happens so I think there's that on top of the racial issue."

Van Gundy was then asked about the double standard of a black athlete like Chad Johnson demonstrating a show of emotion and he's denounced versus a white athlete like Hansbrough who is praised.

Said Van Gundy: "That's a great point. I mean I do think that happens a lot. The black guy has no class but the white guy's playing with fire. I don't think there's any question about that.

"But I will say at times you know it does go the other way. Like I always think that Ben Wallace, I've always said, is a good player in this league but if his hair was different he wouldn't have been thought of as highly as he is with his hair flopping around. People go crazy. It's amazing what people latch on to. They talk about his tremendous effort and everything else but if he cut his hair and played like that he'd just be another guy playing hard."
What can I say? Van Gundy is right on all fronts. He is taking the Hansbrough debate past a black versus white issue. There is more to the Hansbrough hype than simply race. Hansbrough is fawned over for the (somewhat perceived) energy he plays with. Nothing seems to blind fans and commentators like the hard-nosed, energy-filled players. Ben Wallace, with his afro, was a perfect example.

Fortunately, people saw past Wallace like they soon will Hansbrough. Stan Van Gundy has.


Anonymous,  April 10, 2008 at 12:01 PM  

First of all, this is a ridiculous statement made by, albeit a good coach, but a guy who has probably only seen Hansbrough play a handful of times.
As a Carolina fan, and after watching Hansbrough over 50 times on tv the last few years, I can say this:

Typer Hansbrough is NOT an 'emotional, rah-rah, jump up and down' type player! He plays hard, goes all out, but after a dunk or good play, he picks himself up and goes on with business. He doesn't celebrate every good moment, and definitely does not have the attidtude that many (mostly black) players have.
Watch him play and you will see. He is always under control with his emotions and saying that he is an emotional player is just wrong.

There is a difference between self promoting chest pumping arrogance and hard nosed play.

Too many young players only care about the former, and Tyler Hansbrough is not that kind of player, black or white.

Toronto, Canada

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