On European-ness

I remember sometime during the last NBA season being startled to hear a TV announcer refer to Manu Ginobili as a "prototypical European" basketball player. Why did this come as a surprise? Ginobili is Argentinian.

So you can imagine my double disbelief when the announcer in tonight's Milwaukee Bucks-Cleveland Cavaliers matchup describe Yi Jianlian as a "prototypical European" basketball player. Yi is from China!

Two scenarios present themselves: one, these announcers really have no idea that Argentina and China are not part of Europe; or two, for the rapidly globalizing sport of basketball and the (Trans)National Basketball Association with its production of American spectacle, "European" has come to be a synonym for "non-American".

Both are problematic, the latter perhaps more so.


One response to On European-ness

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  1. Rodster says:


    I hate to say it publicly on here, but I heard you once referred to as a prototypical European baller. I think it was either Brayton or Duquette who tagged you as such, but it was said nonetheless. ;)

    Seriously though, that's just fucked up. Either reason for confusing/conflating nationality is problematic. Guess it shows that there's still much work to be done to loosen the hegemonic American grip on both basketball and worldviews.