Buzz Bissinger Expounds on his Claim that NBA Attendance Is Down Due to Lack of White Superstars

March 1, 2011 – 10:00 am by Eric Schmoldt

Buzz Bissinger says he simply brought an argument to the table that everyone else doesn’t want to talk about. Many of the people who have read his argument think he’s crazy.

In case you missed it, the renowned author wrote this column on race as it pertains to the decline in popularity and attendance of the NBA, stating that the lack of white superstars has driven white fans of his age away.

Bissinger has been the subject of plenty of fiery readers who have called him racist. Now he’s in a Twitter feud with Mark Cuban, who called him a coward. Bissinger stated his case a little further in the following radio interview.

Buzz Bissinger joined KFNS in St. Louis with The Press Box to discuss his recent column, the reaction it has garnered, comparing the NBA’s case with that of the NFL, studies that he believes back up his argument, what David Stern can do to increase attendance and his Twitter feud with Mark Cuban.

His take on race playing a role in the dwindling popularity/attendance of the NBA:

“There’s a lot of factors that are affecting the NBA’s popularity. … I think a factor that no one wants to talk about is the racial factor, which is, the league has been consistently about 72 to 75 percent black, but what’s happened over the past 30 years is the number of American white players has dropped to about 10 percent. I don’t think it’s unusual for members of a race to identify with members of their own race and there are really no white superstars.”

The reaction to the column:

“I would say the reaction has been a quarter to a third understanding it and positive, a quarter saying it’s an interesting argument … and then probably half you think I’m a racist jerk. And I think that’s the price you have to pay when you write about issues that no one else wants to touch.”

Why hasn’t the same thing happened with the NFL?:

“I would argue that, at the marquee position, which we all agree is quarterback, the quarterback position is vastly white. And the biggest stars of the game are Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. That does give whites players to identify with and I think that makes a very big difference.”

What a recent study showed:

“There was a recent study done by Brown University. … This professor studied 5,000 census tracks across the United States and concluded, on the basis of research, that there has been virtually no substantial progress in integration between blacks and whites. … Whites are much more likely to move into a neighborhood that is majority Asian influence or Latino, but they will not do it when there are blacks. That reflects our society and I think that also reflects sports. I think it’s tragic, but to not bring it up is disingenuous.”

What should David Stern do?:

“There are things that David Stern has done. Certainly there is a kind of hip hop culture associated with the NBA, which is great. I think younger white fans love it and embrace it. … But let’s face it, it’s people of my age, in their 40s and 50s, who buy the tickets, because the game is unbelievably expensive. You have to cater to those fans to some degree.”

On his Twitter feud with Mark Cuban:

“I don’t know Mark Cuban at all, except by reputation, but I don’t like being called a coward. And I really don’t like being called a coward when I got a lot of grief for writing this column. Dozens, if not hundreds of people, called me racist. If anyone knows my writing, that’s absolutely not true. … That was not a cowardly column. … I get angry and impassioned and maybe I should hold back, but I didn’t like it.”

Listen to Buzz Bissinger on KFNS in St. Louis here

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