A SNEAK PEAK at the new SlimBook by @haddonanderson. “Sports Under the Microscope.”

Brian Scalabrine is fun, there’s no denying that. If you’re a Chicago Bulls fan, you’ve inevitably gotten excited the past couple years when the “White Mamba” has hopped up from the bench and checked into the game.   There’s something entertaining about rooting for the guy on the end of the bench, especially when he’s the token white guy with red hair.

Before we analyze the legend of the White Mamba, let’s briefly examine the stages of Scalabrine’s hoops career. He went to the University of Southern California (USC), where he averaged at least 14 points per game over three seasons. In 1999-2000, he poured in 17.8 PPG (on 53.1 percent shooting, including a 40.3 percent mark from long-range), while also hauling in 6 rebounds per outing. 

In 2001, the New Jersey Nets drafted him in the second round. Often times, second round picks don’t even last a few seasons in the NBA, but Scalabrine’s career has lasted longer than a decade. He has never come near being an All-Star caliber player, but he has shown plenty of flashes of why he’s in the league, mainly in his stints with the New Jersey Nets and Boston Celtics (member of Boston’s 2008 title team). 

If I didn’t know anything else about Scalabrine but these basic facts, I’d be impressed, just as I am with any professional basketball player. I personally played small school collegiate basketball and I’ve known plenty of extremely talented basketball players who have come not even close to sniffing the NBA hardwood. This has put into perspective how gifted every single player in the NBA truly is. 

But for most fans, this perspective is thrown out the window when it comes to Scalabrine. There aren’t many who actually take Scalabrine seriously — like he really was a stud at the Division I level in college, like he really has been in the league for over 10 years, like he simply really is an NBA player.       

People disregard this when it comes to the White Mamba. He’s practically become a joke. Hop on Twitter and search his name and you will find tweets such as this: “Brian Scalabrine is a 39 on 2k ; my rating would be higher.”[1] 

It’s as if we assume the Bulls nabbed him at the local YMCA and it could have very easily been any one of us. We act like Scalabrine has no skills, no athleticism, no game, and no purpose being in the NBA. Many of us probably think we could even take him in 1 on 1.

Why has he become a comical figure who seemingly all NBA fans love?  Because this is what social media has made him.



14 December 2012 ·

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