Well, at least not the media slurping of him.
Freeman calls into question some media members — Dick Vitale — who often characterize Hansbrough as the “toughest guy in college basketball” and one who plays “with more desire than any player in the history of college basketball.”
To his credit, Hansbrough is an outstanding college player. Recently named Sporting News player of the year, the junior is consider not only the best player on the No. 1-ranked team in the country, but along with Michael Beasley, is considered the top player in his country.
Notice the emphasis on “college” While I’ve watched my share of UNC games this season, I think Hansbrough is great in the college game and that’s were it will end. At about 6-8 or so, the things he does in the college game will be null and void in the NBA.
Here’s where I agree with Freeman. To take Hansbrough’s toughness and hustle — all of which he does — and elevate him to the toughest player in college basketball is ridiculous. There are 300-plus Division I basketball programs in the country and I’m sure each and every player plays with “desire” and “passion” just like Hansbrough.
So why the lovefest? Is it a racial issue? Freeman thinks so.
From the column:
“I thought the media hadn’t gotten beyond the “black guy-talented, white-guy-tough” silliness, but the coverage around Hanbrough demonstrates maybe we haven’t.”
I can’t speak for Freeman, but the issue is not Hansbrough, it’s the constant slurping we see of the white athletes from the media. I agree with the quote above. Not that it never happens, but more often black athletes are characterized as athletic and cocky as opposed to smart and tough.
It’s one of those stereotypes that is not specific to a certain sport. You hear it too often and hope one day it changes.