Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Looking at the Lakers Roster you see a couple of things jump out at you on the page. Being that I focus on the lighter side of rosters I noticed that assuming Coby Karl is placed on the active roster for the finals the Lakers will be one African American Father away from being a half Caucasian squad.
+ Vlad Radmanovic
+ Sasha Vujacic
+ Luke Walton
+ Coby Karl
+ Jordan Farmar (1/2 + Jewish = 75% White)
5.75 White Players
This 5.75 White Players could be the largest number in a very long time. The Spurs championship teams always had several white players including Manu and Brent Barry as well as Kerr and Will Purdon't in the past. But never reached above 5. The Pistons, Heat and Lakers 3-peat never even came close to this number. The 2nd batch of Jordan 3 peats hit 5 with Longley, Kukoc, Kerr, Wennington & Buechler but never hit the 6 man mark. The Rockets didn't come close to hitting the mark. The Bulls first 3-peat had Will Purdon't and John Paxson but not much else. The Bad Boy Pistons had Brawlin Bill but only a bench warmer or two. The Showtime Lakers of 1987 and 1988 had Kurt Rambis and Mike Smrek but that was it.
You have to travel to the mid 80s to arrive at a roster consisting of more white ball players than the 2008 Lakers. That roster was the 1980s Boston Celtics of course. In 1986 when the Celtics dispatched the Houston Rockets their starting lineup consisted of eight Caucasian ballers. Larry Bird, Danny Ainge, Kevin McHale and Bill Walton were all integral parts for the 1986 title. In addition the Celtics had a bench that would make Scalabrine blush. Jerry Sichting, Scott Wedman, Rick Carlisle, and Greg Kite were all modest contributors but active cheerleaders on the pine. The Celtics African American players included starters Dennis Johnson and Robert Parish and bench warmers Sam Vincent and David Thirdkill.
The most amazing part of this all is that the Waltons played a similar role during both playoff runs. They both averaged under 20 minutes player per game. They both were sparks off the bench. They both averaged slightly under eight points per game. Now Luke looks to join his father 22 years later in the hallows of contributors to white American basketball.
All Research Was Done Looking At Basketball Reference's List of Playoff Stats for NBA Champions