Why can't white men jump?

Sorry if this was post already, the search wasn’t working. I know this is extremely general, but why can’t white men (and other ethnic groups for that matter) jump high as compared to black men? I recall reading a journal on pubmed on rats and the muscles associated with jumping, the findings stated their was no correlation with jump height and the development of particular muscle groups among rats doing different workout routines. Keeping this in mind, I doubt their are any real physiological differences among humans. I hope I haven’t offended anyone, but this question has baffled me for some time now.

What evidence is there that your premise is true? White men can’t jump is a saying, not a scientific observation.

Unless I miss my guess, of the 16 Olympic High Jump gold medallists since WW2 only 1 (Javier Sotomayor of Cuba in 1992) was black. Sotomayor is the current world record holder with 2.45 metres, but of the next 16 highest jumps in history, 14 have been achieved by white athletes.

For the same reason that black men can’t swim and left-handed people can’t whistle. :smack:

I’m white, and until I hit 30, and blew out my knee, I could jump. It wasn’t always so. I grew up playing basketball, baseball, and football, but sometime around my 16th birthday basketball became my sport, and I spend almost every night playing either in a practice, game, or open gym somewhere in my town (I grew up in a small town in IN). The summer when I was 17, after spending a year basically running and jumping my legs to complete failure day after day, I began to see my vertical leap explode. Before long, I was a 5’11" white kid who could grab a 10’ rim with both hands. My black friends talked about me being one of the few white kids who could actually get up. One day at the park, a bunch of us were talking about this very issue, when a younger black kid (12 or so), whose older brother was a starting Big 10 point guard, and could almost dunk already himself, piped up," the reason none of yall can jump in is the parking lot"… a couple of people looked at him weird, and he said" we all (the poorer, mostly black kids) have to walk or ride our bikes all over to get to baseball, basketball, whatever practice, and then ride them home, year after year, and yall have your parents pick you up, or now you just ride here and back home.

And everyone can say that this is just a meme, but the fact is that anyone who has played basketball knows what the OP is asking. On any given team, if there are 6 white players and 6 black players, 1 or 2 white kids can jump, but 5 or 6 of the black kids can. I really, really believe it’s just the environment the kids grew up in.

It made as much sense to me as anything else.

Is it your contention, then, that the overrepresentation of black athletes in the NBA and the underrepresention of asians is due to lazy and unmotivated whites and asians (or whites and asians with better things to do)?

In my area young whites and asians (and any other individual) seem to be encouraged by their parents from a young age to take up sports, including basketball. They have access to the best coaching, the finest gyms and the summer camps of their choices. The best all compete to get scholarships in the hope of getting a free higher education. Their secret dream is to be good enough for the NBA and all other career paths are considered only when that one is closed. Most of them seem to have an excellent work ethic with very high motivation. Their problem is that when they get to a level of ball where black athletes compete, they aren’t as good. On average black kids out here in the suburbs–with the same environment as whites and asians–are overrepresented (relative to their numbers) on the basketball court.

In past years in this country only whites were allowed to play. As soon as the NBA opened its doors to all athletes, black athletes became overrepresented, even with crappy parenting, lousy role models, crummy gyms, limited opportunity and minimal encouragement.

I really really think it’s genetic. It makes as much sense to me as anything else.

There was a study that showed black and white men had different ratios of muscle fibers. It concluded that "These data suggest that sedentary male Black individuals are, in terms of skeletal muscle characteristics, well endowed for sport events of short duration. " abstract here: http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/abstract/61/5/1758
Its not definitive but it points to a physiological reason.

We don’t need to.

I’m happy my question was taken seriously by a few.

My apologies, you’re correct. I made a general observation as opposed to presenting a fact which could be answered. I was not referring to the saying coined from the movie, but I’ll take care to ask better questions in the future.
Although I understand high jump requires a particular amount of athletic prowess, much more goes into the event than simply jumping high, e.g. form. I was in track, and while participating I noticed the majority of high jumpers were tall, extremely flexible, and often had a particular approach to the bar as opposed to simply having a high vertical and jumping over. In short, I realize you make an extremely valid point but when considering a persons standard vertical I consider the Olympic Sport of high jump a poor way to evaluate ones ability to jump high. I should have clarified beforehand but I assumed the less specific the question, the greater variety of answers.
So true.
Thank you for clarifying my question to other readers. My story is much like your own, athlete for a long time, started playing basketball more often, BAM…able to jump. Not sure if it is the environment or not (I’m in the suburbs), but I really do appreciate the answer.
Chief and puddle:
Thanks. I think that was the answer I was was trying to find. a valid assumption reinforced by an article. I admit I’m surprised physiological differences would be the answer though. What about the exceptions, are they just brilliant athletes, or is jumping high some kind of latent ability anyone can unlock?

Take a look at this guy - a world class high jumper.


He seems to have a pretty good vertical leap.

…awstruck. Your point is duly noted.

I’m trying to find where I said anywhere that anyone was lazy. I’m talking about high school athletes, who practice and work out daily. The ability to jump is due to fast twitch muscle fibers. Obviously, certain exercises and activities do more to stimulate their growth than other activities. In my personal experience, my leaping ability to jump exploded when I began to completely push my legs to complete exhaustion.

After practicing 2 hours, the richer kids who hop into cars and drive home aren’t lazy…they just aren’t pushing themselves as far as the kids who leave and walk or run home, or ride a bike.

If you believe that black people are genetically predisposed to be greater leapers, do you also believe that white people are predisposed to be better decision makers, and thus most quaterbacks are white?

I’m not sure how one would measure “decision making ability,” but it seems that whites do quite well in pure throwing sports, such as hammer, shot put, discus, and javelin. So perhaps there is some advantage in upper body strength which also helps in quarterbacking.

I think the answer is simple, regardless of race: work ethic and motivation. Sports is a traditional avenue out of poverty and humble origins, but the slots are view and the competition tough. If you can’t jump higher, throw farther, or run faster than most of the competition, you’re going to be just another person with a failed dream. Poverty is a great motivator (but not the only one), and most of the black NBA athletes come from inner city backgrounds. If you’re only average, you’re not likely to get a college scholarship or get noticed by scouts.