Most of the world plays sports that were codified by Victorians speaking English, such as soccer, baseball, basketball, golf, volleyball, tennis, etc. The main holdouts from homogenization, islands of diversity as it were, are, ironically, English-speaking countries,where the Anglo Victorian genius for rules and fair play also flourished. E.g., rugby in New Zealand and South Africa, American football in America, and Australian Rules football in Australia.
Ice hockey is a grand Canadian invention that has spread to some other countries where ponds freeze in winter, such as Northern Europe. In the New York Times, however, hockey is racially tainted because most hockey players are white. Therefore, the rise in popularity of the Toronto Raptors’ basketball team in Canada is not another example of the American media-entertainment industry engulfing a once diverse culture. Instead, it is celebrated because the giant blacks (plus, I guess, Marc Gasol) on the Toronto NBA team look like Toronto’s rapidly growing population of South Asians.
Or something. In any case, they are Not White and that’s what counts.
Nasir Tahir, right, and his cousin Shayan Rajput near their home in a Toronto suburb.
By Ian Austen
June 10, 2019
TORONTO — The young men were shooting baskets near their home in a Toronto suburb on Sunday, but were happy to pause to offer a carefully considered, if partisan, analysis on the Toronto Raptors’ chances of becoming the first non-American team to win the N.B.A. championship.
“It’s Canada versus everybody,” said Nasir Tahir, 13, as he held a basketball with the Raptors’ black-and-red colors, the team logo long ago erased by the asphalt. “They’ve got it.”
“Hopefully,” he added, in a note of caution.
“Basketball has always been a big part of our lives,” said Nasir, whose parents immigrated from Pakistan.
The sport, said 13-year-old Shayan Rajput, Nasir’s cousin, is “multicultural, it includes everybody.”
Which is of course why there are so many South Asian superstars in the NBA like … uh …
Hockey may be the reigning monarch of sports in Canada, but basketball also has a grip on the country’s imagination. This season, it has been given a lift by the spectacular showing of the Raptors.
The team is on the verge of winning the N.B.A. championship. The Raptors are leading the Golden State Warriors three games to one, and could take the series when they play Game 5 at home on Monday night.
In Toronto and its suburbs, where about half the population consists of people of color, and many are immigrants, it is not just about the basketball. The ethnically and nationally diverse Raptors reflect Canada’s largest city in the 21st century.
“You only see white people playing hockey,” said Andrew Nguyen, 19, whose parents came to Toronto from Vietnam. “But basketball is more like what the nation is like.”
Jeremy Lin is averaging 1.1 points per game for the Raptors in the playoffs, so there’s that.
Anyway, the point is that Toronto is Diverse and the Raptors are about 80% black, so the Raptors aren’t boring and homogenous, they are Super Diverse. Perfect Diversity, of course, would be if everybody in the whole world were a black whose name begins with D and includes an apostrophe. Vibrant cultural diversity will prevail. Some individuals’s favorite things will be basketball followed by hip-hop, while other individuals’ favorites will be hip-hop followed by basketball.
But that utopia of diversity (D’Versyti?) is not yet achievable due to White Males, about which something must be done.