Quickly, name all of the great white point guards of the last 20 years. Steve Nash and John Stockton, you surely know. Dedicated fans remember Mark Price. Certified NBA nuts still rant about the occasional greatness of Scott Skiles. And then there's Luke Ridnour, the local product, who was supposed to be a great point guard but has only been physically fragile, defensively challenged, and a poor shooter. And yet, whenever Ridnour enters a game for the Sonics, many folks still chant his name, "Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuke!"
I think white fans love white point guards, even the disappointing ones, because of tribalism. The small white guys in the stands identify with the small white guys on the court. Makes sense to me. If a Native American ever makes it to the NBA, he will become one of my favorite players, even if he's terrible.
But I truly love NBA basketball because of its otherness, not the otherness of race, but the otherness of athletic ability. During a recent game, Luke Ridnour threw a bounce pass into the key that was gorgeous and extraterrestrial. And for just a few seconds, I loved Luke and chanted his name along with the other fans.