NEW YORK. The National Basketball Association today announced a league-wide effort to increase minority participation in the sport by funding an initiative to be known as the “Campaign for the Cure for White Man’s Disease.”
“White Man’s Disease is the number one killer of alley-oop plays in America,” said NBA President David Stern. “There’s nothing more painful than watching Chris Andersen clang one off the rim, unless it’s looking at his tattoos.”
White Man’s Disease, like Sickle-Cell Anemia and Tay-Sachs Disease, attacks members of a specific genetic group–Caucasians–and impairs their vertical leaping ability. “Some people, like Larry Bird, overcome this crippling plague,” said sports medicine expert Leonard Furz of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. “Others are consigned to miserable lives as certified public accountants or life insurance salesman.”
Basketball has lagged behind other professional sports that have undertaken efforts to increase minority participation, such as Major League Baseball’s “RBI” or “Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities” and the National Hockey League’s “Hockey is for Everyone”. “We’re playing catch-up ball, and we know it now,” said Stern. “I thought we were playing basketball before, but I stand corrected.”
Predominantly white NBA beat reporters, for whom neck strain caused by looking up to towering basketball stars is an occupational hazard, were skeptical of pro basketball’s motives. “They’re just doing this so they won’t get sued for racial discrimination,” said Indianapolis Star-Times reporter Myles Heinz. “They’re not going to do it out of the kindness of their teensy-tiny hearts.”
In first weeks of the 2010-11 season current and former NBA stars will fan out to hotspots where the disease threatens to reach epidemic proportions.
“You walk the streets of Salt Lake City and it’s like a ghost town,” said former Utah Jazz power forward Karl Malone. “Everybody’s white as a sheet. They’re also kinda petite and got slow feet.”