Monday, April 14, 2008

Racism?

Check this out. The ESPN roundtable on this year's NBA MVP. It's Kobe in a squeaker....

This leapt out at me, though: of the white voters, five voted for someone other than Kobe. (Abbot, Ford, Hollinger, Legler, and Sheridan.)

Two white voters voted for Kobe. (Stein, Thorpe.)

Of the black voters, one voted for someone other than Kobe. (Palmer.)

Seven black voters voted for Kobe. (Adande, Brooks, Broussard, Hill, M. Jackson, S. Jackson, Rose.)

87.5% of black voters went for Kobe. 28.6% of white voters voted for Kobe.

You know, I've argued for years that the media's hatred of Kobe had more to do with Jordan than with the rape charges. Maybe I'm just a damn idiot. I don't know how else you get that kind of racial split on a matter of basketball unless it's Kobe and the white girl at the root of it.

It'll be fascinating to see how the final ballot goes. I may have to go back to that long post a few days back and offer up a big "Never Mind."

6 comments:

Dann Cutter said...

From a pure Statistics point of view, you can't make that leap. The conclusion is anecdotal based on a perceived bias.

15 voters all cast votes for Kobe in some way, shape or form. While he did not receive all first place ballots, he did recive 15 votes. This indicated that his play was recognized by all the professionals.

The group was not randomly selected, but a self selected group of 'experts'. This allows bias of ANY factor (notice I don't rule out race here, which in fact in may be a probable factor - and if so, is truly disappointing). However, because of the non-randomized selection of the group, and small number of participating voters, the most you can statistically say is that there is a non-insignificant racial difference in voting which may indicate an underlying bias.

Unfortunately, that bias may be something as simple as which games they watched personally, which teams they favored, what college they went to , etc etc etc. Racial divide may be entirely a coincidence based on the true effecting bias.

Which is why I hate the MVP. In any sport. Until a mathematical formula is created, it all too often is influenced by factors which make the award near meaningless.

MVT(team)... now that is an award I like. Gotta wait for the playoffs though. :-)

Joe Sherry said...

Mr. Moran,

Let's break down the white "Non-Kobe" votes a bit, though.

#1 - Abbot: Lebron, KG, Kobe, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard

#2 - Ford: CP, Lebron, Kobe, KG, Amare

#3 - Hollinger: CP, KG, Lebron, Kobe, Tim Duncan

#4 - Legler: CP, KG, Kobe, DH, Lebron.

#5 - Sheridan: KG, Kobe, CP, DH, Lebron.

While I think that racial bias should have a place at the table when we're discussing sport and award voting, in this instance, not only did all 5 of these voters have Kobe on their ballot, not one of these white voters had a white person on the ballot.

There may be racial bias, but given that these five individuals recognized Kobe as one of the top 5 players in the league and given that we don't see the white voters all sticking Steve Nash or Dirk as #1 over Kobe (or on the list at all), I am not sure that the racial bias has to do with it.

I know you're bringing up Kobe and the white girl, which could knock Kobe down to #2 or #3, I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say it is truly bias based on race and history. Kobe is without a doubt one of the greatest players of this or any era. But is he, necessarily, the single best player of each year of his era? Or the single most valuable? Can it be that the voters are simply saying that yeah, Kobe is great, but he isn't necessarily the most valuable to his team given that the Lakers haven't won a championship without Shaq? Kobe has to be in the conversation, but each year he could be the #2 player in the league for that year.

Just a thought from a guy who only half follows the game. :)

Dan Moran said...

Dann,

Yeah, I know how shaky the stats are underlying this observation. It's a striking differential, but it's a very small sample size and may well be meaningless. I'll be fascinated by the final MVP ballot...

Joe, there's not a strong white MVP candidate this year (though crossing years of MVP voting to see if there's a preference by white voters for white candidates, or black voters for black candidates, would surely be interesting.)

I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say it is truly bias based on race and history.

Me neither. This is an observation (a theory, if you like) not an assertion.

Rob said...

What Dann said--emphatic agreement.

Subrata Sircar said...

This article attempts to bring some statistical analysis to the debate:

http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=297

I'm not sure I agree with the conclusions, but I am interested in the methodology.

J.D. Ray said...

Dunno crap about basketball; I've said that before.

Nice set of pics. I like the one of you and Jodi and the fish. My sister and I are close like that.

Not that it really matters, but the photo of the girl on the Harley is reversed. The bike is a Sportster, and the aircleaner is on the right side of the bike.

In that first Final Fantasy pic (the full nude) it looks like she's got a slight tan line from a French-cut bikini bottom. If the modeler put that sort of attention into his shading, that's downright amazing.