Former NBA Commissioner David Stern took a sport that was largely American and white, to a sport that became international and diverse. In fact, Stern did such a good job of making basketball without borders, that the NBA has become one of the most diverse and international leagues in the world. There was a time when the majority of players in the NBA were white, but African American players such as Bill Russell played a pivotal role for African American inclusion and equal rights in the NBA, and foreign players such as Yao Ming connected continents such as Asia to America. Just go to any court in the Philippines today and it’ll be more packed than any court in New York City. Go to any city in China and you will see Kobe and LeBron jerseys everywhere. The world loves the NBA.
Clearly, basketball has become a global, diverse, and paradigm shifting sport. It is no coincidence that the Sacramento Kings have recently invited Sim Bhullar – a 7’5” Indian American – to their camp. It just happens to be that Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive is also Indian American. Ranadive sees Sim as a path to the second largest populated country in the world – India.
It almost appears that the majority group that once dominated the NBA has now become a bit of a minority group. Having said that, there has been a resurgence of white players in the NBA that are very different from Bob Cousy and Larry Bird’s generation. Gone are the stereotypes from the 1990’s that “White Men Can’t Jump” or that white people can’t do anything but shoot from the outside. Chandler Parsons, Manu Ginobili, and Ricky Rubio are some of the most unconventional white players that you will ever see. They are stereotype-busting players that can jump, penetrate, and handle the ball with the best of them.
So, it is interesting to note who some of the best and highest paid white players in the league are today. Below is a top 10 list of the highest paid white players for this upcoming season, with the biggest surprise being the omission of a German superstar who is way too kind to his team.
10 Danilo Gallinari - $10,854,850
9 Andrea Bargnani - $11,500,000
8 Nikola Pekovic - $12,100,000
7 Andrew Bogut - $12,972,973
6 Chandler Parsons – $14,700,000
5 Gordon Hayward - $14,746,000
4 David Lee - $15,012,000
3 Brook Lopez - $15,719,062
2 Kevin Love - $15,719,063
1 Marc Gasol - $15,829,688
Selected with the 48th pick in the draft, the overweight younger brother of Pau Gasol, was supposed to be nothing other than a big man that was only good for his six fouls. Today, he and Zach Randolph form one of the most formidable frontcourts in the NBA. DeMarcus Cousins once said that the only time he ever feels sore after a game is when he plays against Memphis. But Gasol is not only a bruiser and great defender, but he is also an above average shooter and passer. He continues to hit over 50% of his field goals and has become one of the most underrated shot blockers in the league. This makes Gasol not only the highest paid white player in the league, but a player with one of the best contracts in the league.
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