News Blacks1

Published on January 21st, 2013


Why Black People Are Good at Sports

We have all noticed it when watching NFL, NBA, or track & field, the lion’s share of athletes are of African origin. In contrast, Asians are almost absent in the world of sports. Popular Social Science has taken a closer look at why this is the case.

The facts show that East Africans own every distance running record. In most of the sports people of African descendant dominate. Why have black people dominated sports? Are they somehow physically better? Research shows that it is not just being black that matters. Where in Africa your ancestors come from makes the huge difference.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. White people dominate sports that require expensive equipment, such as golf, sailing, hockey, etc. And, just as “white men can’t jump”, it is also the case that “black men can’t swim.”  One of the reasons for the latter fact is that black people have denser skeletons and lower levels of body fat, a physical trait inherited from the tropical areas of Africa.

In the U.S., sports are dominated by men and women of West African descent. The same reason, namely the low body fat, provides blacks of West-African origin with an advantage in sprinting, as well as in football and basketball. When it comes to long distance running, East-Africans excel due to their lack of a fully developed Gastrocnemius, also known as the lower calf muscle.

Asians are generally smaller and are thus underrepresented in the sports where especially blacks excel. However, they do well in sports that require quickness and agility.

According to Jon Entine a huge amount of research show that elite black athletes have a phenotypic advantage. They have bodily characteristics that evolved over tens of thousands of years of evolution. While people of African descent have spent most of their evolutionary history near to where they originated, the rest of the world’s populations have had to modify their African adaptations after migrating to far different regions and climates.

It is important to point out that the evolved differences are also mediated by environment and culture. These factors can amplify or diminish genetic variations. Entine proposes a biocultural explanation stating that cultural conditions can amplify smaller but significant differences in performance related to heredity. Inherited physiological differences may therefore prove meaningless without rigorous training.


Further reading:

Entine, Jon (2000). Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk About It. New York: BSS Public Affairs.


*Cover photo by Zennie Abraham, sprint photo by Sawyer Law



Tags: , ,

22 Responses to Why Black People Are Good at Sports

  1. SportsPhysiologist says:

    “Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.”

    Like triathlon, road cycling, track cycling, tennis, badminton, diving, ice hockey, rowing, speed skating, figure skating, canoeing, swimming, judo, wrestling, taekwondo, karate, weightlifting, boxing (!), athletic throws, high jump, decathlon, gymnastics… just few exceptions that I can remember.

    • Ser says:

      You clearly are offended by the article, that’s why you need to say the obvious to contradict this in some way (end).

      This article indirectly reaffirms the humans are all humans and it was the different climates and regions which make them different somehow Like the eye and hair colours, which just were different mutations and/or reactions the human bodies had to their environments.

  2. adam smith says:

    These same studies that show Blacks better at certain sports also show that Whites are more intelligent, possibly explaining why the White race has historically dominated the planet. But do you really want to make those comparisons? Is race really that important? I think people researching this sort of thing force the human race to be separated by ethnicity and it shouldn’t be.

    • Raj says:

      Probably the article just wanted answer a question that a lot of people have just from turning on the television and looking at their sports teams. There really isn’t any harm in the study.

      Moreover, “the same studies” also prove that the differences in intelligence quotients are predominantly caused by nurture and not nature. In other words, empirical evidence suggests fixed IQ is an illusion and poor whites, living in areas with bad schools, complicated families, and skewed morals tend score lower on IQ tests than blacks living in wealthier areas. Of course, it is unknown whether these facts are correlated or casual, but it doesn’t truly change the implication of the conclusion.

      Don’t be offended by a simple observation. There’s nothing wrong with recognizing differences. Problems only occur when people try to say that because of said differences, one race is altogether superior to another.

    • ? says:

      Whites did not historically rule the planet…….

      • andri662 says:

        Yes they did according to white history. We discovered Australia just geologically recently. People might argue that Australia was there for hundreds of thousands of years, but to the Europeans it was discovered. And what we did discover, we conquered. Again, naming Australia, we did not invade them, we just conquered. The industrial revolution was the making of the white man. The information age is the making of the white man likewise. I can attribute this to the hardships the white men suffered at the hands of nature and to the vast cultural baggage they carried on through the centuries to allow such total domination. White men, as you call us, were prepared while the other cultures weren’t. Just look at China (which is named China because of white men) or Japan which fully embraced the white culture. Then take a look at African states which still keep the tribal paradigm. White culture as you call it is the product of *many* generations of hardship and enterprise.

    • John McConnell says:

      The white race has historically dominated the planet? Where did you get that idea? White people were still living in huts not even wearing clothes while brown arabs were inventing ways to farm and creating civilization. Julius Caesar described white people (Gauls and Celts) as if they were brainless animals, and that was in the 50′s BC… One could hardly count the dark ages as “dominating.” So that leaves white people dominating the world for about 500-600 years depending on what date you believe the dark ages ended. I’m white also, you have to acknowledge truth no matter what.

      • lauren says:

        The whole dark ages thing is a myth that the UK didn’t have enlightenment is not true the real ways of life may have seamed more primate than the Romans but it was very advanced and mud huts were the most appropriate structure in the colder climes plus they didn’t have hierarchy in the way the roman or egyptians had to have slavery and empire they were pagan or druid

      • Smedley Butler Jr. says:

        First off, the Romans were Caucasian. Second, sub-Saharan Africa was a primitive dung-hole when the first Portuguese arrived 600 years ago. They found people with no technology living in mud huts, and no written language, which is perhaps the most important hallmark of an advanced civilization.

        Despite the fact that Rome fell, along with all of her technology and art, as well as barbarity, Caucasians once again climbed up the ladder, albeit slowly, to regain and improve upon what had come before. Conversely, sub-Saharan Africa continued being the sewer that it is today.

        African nations have all been liberated, some for many decades, and the place is still a sewer, with rampant AIDS, slavery in some parts, social unrest and, for the most part, crappy or non-existent infrastructure and basic services. As one example of many, South Africa, after 22 years of independence, is the rape capital of the world, in which primarily Black men rape other men, women, children, the elderly and even infants.

        Frankly, delusional Liberals like yourself are not only self-extinctive lemmings, but are a harm to society as a whole.

      • Charles Cogswell says:

        Italians aren’t white? or are you saying the Romans weren’t white? because both are pretty inaccurate descriptions, it would be like saying people with caramel colored skin aren’t black.

    • Aubrey says:

      Sorry Adam, you are wrong, there is no white man intelectual superiority to black man. Studies found that the people with lowest IQ were the people fro the sub saharan africa. The peope with the highest IQ were from eastern asia and western asia. What does your inteligence tell you about that? White people are always wrong about black people. Consider Jack Johnson and Joe Louis.

    • CL says:

      It was hardly intelligence that allowed whites to do that. It was moral ineptitude.

    • AJ says:

      Clearly it is as your comments suggest this… If intelligence is brain washing and dictatorship then yes you’re right. Maybe if it wasn’t almost forced upon the black community to strive in these areas then maybe their intelligence levels would shine in other areas? From young black children are encouraged to take up these sports and for many it’s a way to guarantee achievement with brown skin. It’s so sad that in 2016 the world is still so divided by these issues.

  3. Greene Knight says:

    socio-economics are the reason a certain group dominates athletics.
    For about 100 years it was the Irish, simply because they were discriminated against and were poor. Blacks have filled that gap as they continue to not join the economic opportunities available to them due to dependence upon Big gov’t.
    Now, thanks to Obama and the destruction of the US economy we are seeing a lot of fast “white boys” in college and now the pros. As black folks do better in the economy we will see more of the “new black” can’t run, can’t jump. :)

  4. Ikechukwu says:

    Look, nobody has any genetic advantage what so ever on anyone else. It really is up to how you use your time and what your passions are. Black people can swim if they really wanted to swim. They could play golf if they wanted to (maria stackhouse) they could excel at tennis if they wanted to (Serena Williams) the list goes on. all these scientific studies aren’t the least bit valuable at all because they don’t track the source of their “findings”; they fail to realize that its the conditions that make a person.

  5. Ronaldo says:

    This is an interesting topic. I have also observed that Asians are nowhere in the world of sports, and the Blacks are the king in sports. Nice blog!

  6. emmanuel chipipa says:

    I don’t know but I find this to be really racist towards black

  7. I’m not blind and when I was watching men and women qualify for the 2016 Olympics it was obvious to me that there were almost all African Americans competing. I wanted to know why and what made these people excell.The explanations were very informative. I look at this as a very positive. Thanks

  8. Otis says:

    Here’s another answer to the question yes Africans have the denser skeletal structures as well as the type 1 and type 2 muscle fibers but more so specifically why black Americans are so dominant in sport. For a period of almost 400 years blacks were bread like prize hordes or prize dogs to create stronger more athletically inclined offspring for work purposes of course. It’s only been about 150 years but the effects of the selective breeding are very present if you look at your average black American as to your African counterpart.

  9. Oko Nola says:

    What about other Black people who originate from other continents apart from African Continent. Do they still inherit the genes from Africa that can make them excel in Sports or Athletics ? Even though they didn’t originate from Africa they can still excel in many fields.

  10. Bongani Nxumalo says:

    Athletics are the only endeavor that is judged without filter of personal perspective. Faster stronger or better they can not deride it as not good as white person version.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Back to Top ↑