There are five major professional sports leagues in the U.S. with all the leagues extending into Canada. The three most popular major sports leagues are the NBA, MLB, and the NFL, which are the three leagues I would like to focus on when introducing my topic of choice. Does the scarcity of a race in a particular sport shy kids away from playing that sport and pursuing a professional career out of it? I would like to dig in to why there are disparities related to race in certain sports.
What someone sees is what they are going to do or go after and it has a huge impact on what sports kids of different races grow up to play. Usually where a kid sees another person like them is where they will gravitate to. This is not only in the sport world, but in a lot of other career areas.
In each sport, you see black and white players, but in some sports more than others. For example, in a research done in 2014 by diversityinc.com they discovered that in the National Basketball Association (NBA) black players make up 76.3% of the league. In the National Football League, black players make up 66.3% of the league. Black kids are attracted more to these sports at an early age, because they see people who look like them playing these sports and being successful. If they see people who look like them being successful, they feel they be can be successful at it too, and as a result making the sport more popular for that specific race.
Just from my experience as a teacher, a lot of the younger black kid’s dreams is to be an NBA or NFL player. There are many success stories involving black athletes making it a more attractive career choice to seek out. What I have discovered over the years is that MLB is the one major sport, that has overwhelmingly white players participating. It is the one sport that white players are overwhelmingly successful at.
There are few born black players in the major league, and part of the reason is a result that black players don’t start out young playing baseball. Growing up I played little league baseball, and there were very few black players, I was one of the few. I was immediately attracted to basketball at an early age and all the way up until high school. My dream was to play in the NBA and the players I looked up to were black players.
I went after what I saw people like me being successful at. For example, I never once thought about teaching coming out of high school until three years after high school when I began to see the need for black males in the education system. I think black players can succeed at the sport, but they grow up watching or playing basketball or football. Basketball and football is promoted big in the black community, and many black people seek to make careers out of these sports. A lot of the students I teach that are black want to be professional sport athletes rather than doctors, teachers, lawyers, etc.
The success story is seen in sports, and many of our black people have a one track mind and think the way out is to make it through sports, but obviously not everybody can make it going that route.
Thank you to all the students who entered the Rowing Advisor Scholarship. We look forward to reading next years entries.