Basketball's Role In American Society

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The argument over which sport best emulates America is one of great complexity. Although there are a vast array of sports that Americans are entertained by, participate in, and even obsess over, not all represent certain essential American values and characteristics. While baseball is often regarded as the country’s “national pastime” and American football might have the television ratings to suggest it is the most popular, neither necessarily reflect the principles of American society. In actuality, since 1900, the sport that has best captured the essence of American society is basketball. Both this sport and the country as a whole are based upon individualism, have undergone an extensive period of democratization and increased inclusion,…show more content…
More specifically, the democratic principle of inclusion, which often leads to greater levels of diversity. In the United States, from the 1900s to present day, there has been a tremendous amount of positive legal and social change that has helped create a more inclusive environment and mostly liberalized country where people of all genders and races are welcomed. However, this transformation toward a more inclusive society was an arduous process, which faced powerful opposition such as the anti-suffragist movements and Jim Crow laws enforced until the 1960s. Much the same as the general trend in American society, basketball has gone through a similar transition toward inclusivity. But even more, basketball has been influential in the breakthrough of previously marginalized groups of citizens into an balanced community, serving as a unifying American game. One of the ways basketball has been a catalyst for change involves its role in helping bridge the racial divide in the country. Along with football and baseball, basketball has been one of the most popular sports in America since the 1920s. However, unlike other popular sports, basketball has had a “substantially better record of providing minority candidates with opportunities.” (Davies 345) Along with black coaches as commonplace in the college and professional game, basketball has seen…show more content…
Each has a unique role in shaping the essence of America, and each is clearly encompassed by one popular American sport. While many different arguments can be made to determine what sport best represents the country since the beginning of the twentieth century, there is only one “America’s sport”:
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