My topic for this week is on basketball. In Steph Curry…The “Male Machine Gun Molly”?: Gender and Styles of Play in Modern Basketball, Cat Ariail discusses how men’s professional basketball players are often compared to other men’s players and not women’s players, and that Stephen Curry’s success is a result of an implied feminization of the game of basketball, as it has become less physical and aggressive than it was years ago. She also talks about how many people try to compare Curry to lesser-known male players, but that, instead, he should be compared to a woman who played professionally in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, Molly Bolin. She and Curry were similar because they both overcame restraints on their talents, became better as a result, and played to the strengths of the systems they were placed in, not to mention both of their quick and skillful shooting abilities and releases. However, unlike Curry, who has a stable and unlikely to fade in the near future league he gets to play in, Bolin had to play in multiple leagues before being forced to not really play in any professional league at all, due to poor management and the likes. Men and women’s basketball today is shifting towards a more androgynous style of play in which honed skill over raw athleticism is being more and more emphasized, and both sectors of the game are benefitting in one way or another because of it.

    In God’s Work: Hakeem Olajuwon, Islam, and the Role of Religion in American Athletics  Alex Parrish talks about Hakeem Olajuwon’s success in the sport of basketball that seemed to come once he started practicing his childhood religion of Islam. Olajuwon, much like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Muhammad Ali, was looked down upon for practicing his religion, one of which is seen by many Americans as only the extremist sects of it and, therefore, violent and anti-West. However, much like Kareem and Ali, Olajuwon found success in his faith, as once he started practicing he won two NBA championships and multiple personal accolades, whereas beforehand he lost in college championships, one NBA championship, and a marriage. While Olajuwon and many others will probably always be looked down upon for expressing their political or religious views publicly, it can be refreshing to those who believe the same things as those athletes to know that it can be possible to succeed in a world that may seem to be actively against them.

3 Thoughts on “Week 15

  1. Hi Chase,
    Although I didn’t read this section I like how you structured the two articles. Steph Curry has changed the modern way basketball is played and I think that also may play a role in why he is compared to lesser known players. While we have sen many great shooters his success from distance is unprecedented. Just watching this last years draft you can see the change he has brought to the game, guys that are undersized and not real physical are going early simply because they can shoot. As far the Olajuwon I think this is a very valid [point. There is something to be said for embracing who you are and playing happy can absolutely lead to success. The only thing I would suggest is maybe you could bring the two articles together with a central theme. Overall good post.

  2. Hi Chase, I enjoyed your summaries of these two readings. I especially enjoyed your first summary of Steph Curry. While I agree with the article that basketball has become more skillful, I would still argue that pure athletic ability is more important and more sought after. Just look at players like Giannis and Lebron James. Skill can be taught but size, speed, and raw power or born with.

  3. Hey Chase. I thought your analysis of the articles were extremely interesting and informative. For me, I had absolutely not idea about the basketball player Molly Bolin, and it caused me to think about the lack of WNBA players I personally know the name of and how much their achievements have been unacknowledged and diluted, despite how much NBA players with lesser success are continually thought of as house-hold names and “cultural icons”. I think this is highly reflective of a cultural system that fails to value the contributions of women and instead highlights male dominated sports as the “main event”.

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