Last week, my brother called me up shocked to read that in the first NBA game on November 1, 1946, between the New York Knickerbockers and Toronto Huskies, every member of the Knicks’ starting lineup was Jewish. I kind of brushed him off, reminding him that blacks were not allowed in the league back then. But even so, the more I think about that fact, the more significant it is.
On my last post, I talked about my disagreement with the freedarko.com blogger that when Los Angeles Lakers guard, Jordan Farmar steps on the court, he is not thought of as a Jewish player because he does not look/play Jewish.
I got quite the surprise this morning when I opened up freedarko.com, and he had responded to my post. Not only that, he had 46 comments! Hilariously, he refered me to me as a “blog with a larger readership than me.” Thanks for the compliment, but I don’t get 46 comments (and counting) on my posts, nor do I have a book with a forward by Gilbert Arenas.
I really recommend checking out what he has to say (from what I can tell, he is Jewish too) as well as the great comments. Basically his argument goes as follows. While not questioning Farmar’s Judaism, when he watches Farmar on the court, he does not automatically think of Farmar as a Jewish player because of his style.
On the one hand, this is a good thing. Jews don’t need to be judged as Jews. They should be judged on their talents alone and not compared to others of “their type.”
But sports are a funny thing. A lot of kids grow up (myself included) hoping to be the next Michael Jordan. I once broke the chandelier in my house pretending to be Mitch Richmond draining a 3-pointer at the buzzer. But sadly, and not to stereotype, but Jews just aren’t made to be athletes.
One comment in the freedarko thread put it best, referencing a book called “Haikus for Jews.” It goes:
Seven foot Jews
Slam Dunking in the NBA
My alarm clock rings
My point is that regardless of how Farmar plays on the court, there are a lot of Jewish kids out there who should look up to him, not only for his talents but because he is Jewish. When I was 12, and I came to the realization that I probably was never going to be able to dunk, it was somewhat heartbreaking. But Farmar gives every little Jewish boy hope. And for that reason alone, his Judaism defines every play he makes.