straight up ballin'

Nevada Republican Is Blacker Than Black Opponent Because Basketball!

Will the NCAA take away his son's victory, too?If there’s one thing black people like, it’s basketball, right? I mean, that’s what we hear, on the streets, or from our sources that we send to collect data from the streets, because we don’t go to the streets ourselves, it’s scary out there. Anyhoo, we all just assumed that Republican Danny Tarkanian would win all the African-American votes in the Nevada Congressional district where he’s running, because his dad (pictured) was a famous towel-chewing UNLV basketball coach (basketball!) and Danny runs a basketball clinic (BASKETBALL!) and so why wouldn’t the blacks love this? Sure, his opponent Steven Horsford might in a strict technical sense be descended from Africans and have dark skin, but is he really a black person? How many basketballs has he basketballed? BASKETBALL, DON’T YOU GET IT?

Tarkanian and Horsford are squaring off in Nevada’s newly created fourth Congressional district, which is 16 percent black, so obviously that is a constituency both candidates want to woo … with basketball. Basketball!

Tarkanian, who played for UNLV under his coaching father, runs a nonprofit basketball academy in urban Las Vegas that caters to many of the community’s children, including those from black neighborhoods. His father was known for taking chances on recruits from inner-city areas, including future NBA star Larry Johnson.

“My dad’s worked in that community for a long time. And my mother has,” Tarkanian said. “My basketball academy, which is very close to the district, has a lot of players and families in that district that are in our academy now for 10 years.”

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Horsford and a bunch of other black Nevada politicians thought this was kind of patronizing, because they’re pretending not to like basketball to make a point, we guess? This led Tarkanian to be sad and wounded:

They didn’t say what the racist comment was — I’m still trying to figure out what it was … Should we not work within the black community? … We could be like Steven Horsford, who’s not doing anything with that community — and you know, pretend we’re black and maybe try to get some votes if that’s where it is. It’s that extent that they’re going to.

That’s a delicious chunk of word salad, and we can see why some people are interpreting it to imply that Horsford is only pretending to be black, as proved by his refusal to play basketball constantly and instead serve as the state’s Senate majority leader. But we’ll be more charitable and instead take it to mean that Tarkanian is firmly — and correctly — disavowing any intention to put on comical “Amos & Andy” style blackface and pretend to be black in order to win black votes. Why should he need to do that, because, come on, basketball, right? Basketball?

Other fun facts about Danny Tarkanian: he’s probably about to go bankrupt, and he lost badly to beloved dingbat Sharron Angle in the 2010 GOP Senate primary, which is a sure sign of a political career on the rise. [Las Vegas Review-Journal/TPM/Las Vegas Sun]

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About the author

Josh was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, leaving him with a love of chicken wings and a tendency to say “pop”. He taught ancient Greek and Roman history to undergraduates before fleeing from academia in terror; worked for a failed San Francisco dot-com that neglected to supply him with stock options or an Aeron chair; lived in Berlin, where he mostly ate Indian and Ethiopian food; finished in third place on his sole Jeopardy! appearance (the correct answer was “Golda Meir”); and was named 2007 Blogger of the Year by The Week, for obvious reasons. Josh is the creator/editor of COMICS CURMUDGEON (which you should read) and does geeky editing and writing about geeky things such as "the Java programming industry for JavaWorld." He lives in Baltimore with his wife Amber and his cat Hoagie.

View all articles by Josh Fruhlinger

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73 comments

      1. DaveJ

        "How high, Mr. Koch? Keep in mind that owing to my genetic background I am cursed with what several gentlemen on the basketball court refer to as "The Disease," so you should expect no more than 5 vertical inches."

    1. Caelan Aegana

      Elephants can, in fact, jump*. The problem tends to occur after they land.

      *This is not intended to be a factual statement.

  1. FakaktaSouth

    Nothing shows inclusion and one-ness of spirit MORE than calling members of society "THAT" district, or "THAT" community – whilst talking about your "academy" deigning to acknowledge them.

    1. bikerlaureate

      I'd like to have heard what sentence immediately preceded that "THAT" one, though. Benefit of the doubt and all that.

      "We could… pretend we're black," though – yikes.

      1. FakaktaSouth

        Some of my very favorite people these days are DEFINITELY THOSE people from THAT community. The community of no straight talking, honest, no bullshit, no agenda people is my favorite place to be.

  2. sbj1964

    Why don't blacks dominate in Bowling?Think about it;a big black ball knocking over a bunch of white pins with red necks.Every black man should be bowling 165,or better.

  3. Gratuitous World

    if Tarktanian wins, it's probably b/c of the "basketball x's + o's" he learned from his father and not "how to cheat on an epic scale," another Tark specialty.

    no, it will probably be the cheating.

    1. chicken_thief

      I always liked the Shark – run and gun, baby. Put some points on the freakin' board! Much much better than Dean Smith's "let's get a 4 pt lead so I can have Michael Jordon, James Worthy, et al SIT ON THE FUCKING BALL".

      Besides, the guy – Tark, was hounded by the NCAA for years, and what did they really find?

  4. CrunchyKnee

    Wait a minute, there are African Americans in Nevada? We truly are living in a post-racial society.

  5. weejee

    Tarkanian's word salad is dribbling on the floor. Mehbe, he should try baseball, the classic double play "Amos to Andy to Chance."

  6. hagajim

    Why isn't Sharron running? Actually Danny Tarkanian would is a nobody with a somebody last name. Now if Jerry were running the fix would already be in. Tark the Shark knew how to win, no matter how much he had to cheat to do it.

  7. noodlesalad

    I get it, he's black because he plays with basketballs. Just like Paul Ryan is an intellectual because he plays with numbers, or Mittens is a person because his operating system has occasionally executed humanemotion.exe

  8. comrad_darkness

    I'm not following this article's point, I have to admit. I just clicked because I thought the man was eating a sandwich and it's lunch time.

  9. UnholyMoses

    This must be why Michael Jordan keeps getting 10% of the vote in Illinois, despite never running for office … or even living in the state.

  10. elviouslyqueer

    Tarkanian has the advantage in name recognition. His mother is Las Vegas City Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian; his father is former University of Nevada, Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian.

    Paging Jonathan Van Meter: here's your next celebrity profile. No word if Tark likes coffee, but he sure sounds spunky!

  11. Tundra Grifter

    According to that link, Danny Tarkanian and other family members guaranteed a $17,000,000 bank loan. Now the FDIC is moving to collect on that guarantee.

    He's got bigger problems than running for Congress on the GNoP ticket. Or basketball. Also.

  12. smashedinhat

    To all Rethuglicans. FU. In 7 days I go to Moscow to pay my utility bills and then I go to Ischia to sunburn the top of my dick. For the rest of you, my condolences.

  13. NorthStarSpanx

    Let me go back to a comfortable analogy for me – sports… basketball. I use it because you're naïve if you don't see the national full-court press picking away right now: A good point guard drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her eye on the basket… and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can WIN. And I'm doing that – keeping our eye on the ball that represents sound priorities – smaller government, energy independence, national security, freedom! And I know when it's time to pass the ball – for victory.
    http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/11/20

  14. SorosBot

    By this logic, Bill Bradley should have gotten the vast majority of the black vote and likely won the nomination in the 2000 primary; it didn't work that way.

  15. fartknocker

    Tarkington is another nimrod who signed up to Grover Norquist no new taxes clubhouse. His fiscal skills are truly amazing.

  16. Mumbletypeg

    I can't help it. Seeing Shark with his towel-pacifier revisits such fond memories I'd nearly forgotten. Added value for entertainment, then, in a sport suffering endless hubris and sapped of excitement now. Tarkanian and Dennis Rodman are the rodeo clowns left behind in terms of colorful characters, giving us audiences an appetite for the defiant anomaly while the rest of the showcase grows redundant and underwhelming as an ant farm.

      1. FakaktaSouth

        I still irrationally hate Christian Laettner (late-ner, whatever his name is) and I loved the Shark when he was a coach. I am sad his son is a dickbag. I blame the mother.

  17. Katydid

    His father was known for taking chances on recruits from inner-city areas, including future NBA star Larry Johnson.

    Because, you know, no other NCAA coaches take a chance on recruits from "inner-city areas," because, you know, they don't have the work ethic that Newt Gingrich would be proud of. Do I have to say that every fucking college coach takes a chance on every fucking kid? I am SO tired of "this "inner-city" crap.

    I will not click to see which fuckwad wrote that.

  18. ttommyunger

    Little known fact: after lunching on towels nervously during games, the Coach was known to shower afterwards and dry himself off with a Reuben. This, however, does nothing to explain why his Danny Boy turned out to be such an ineffectual twit.

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