It’s August, a dead time during NBA season, but NBA blogger Ethan Sherwood Strauss managed to write a super intriguing piece about the success of second generation NBA players. Specifically, Strauss notices that almost all second-generation professional ballers are great shooters. Steph Curry, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, etc, these guys could all stroke it from deep.
The conventional thinking is: these guys got good genes! But Strauss digs deeper. He theorizes that second generation NBA players are such elite shooters because of wealthy family backgrounds, which meant the Steph Currys and Klay Thompsons had access to professional training facilities, training equipments, and coaches from day one.
Whereas a Gary Payton had to work on his jumper in the broken-down parks of Oakland, young Kevin Love was probably working on his jumper inside a NBA-sized gym with ballboys fetching rebounds.
This theory, that wealth/privilege breeds more success is hardly new — Malcolm Gladwell’s wonderful book, Outliers: The Story of Success touches on this exact topic. Gladwell’s theory goes beyond just wealth — though that is a major part — but also luck. Would Bill Gates have become the revolutionary computer mastermind he is today if he didn’t happen to be at a campus with super-advanced computers? That’s the type of shit Gladwell explores in the book.
I’ve had a similar theory about Hong Kong people for years. This is a weird town, in which the divide between expats/English-speaking Chinese and local Canto Chinese is so wide it covers not just language, mentality, and tastes in music, but also looks and success.