For starters, there seems little doubt that his “70%” figure alludes to black Americans’ prevalence in the league. According to USA Today, 76.3% was the official black player count for 2012, a number slightly too close to Garofalo’s tweet figure to be coincidence.
The congressman suggests that if these players were not in the NBA, national street crime would rise. This purports a special link between black NBA players and criminality that frankly doesn’t exist. Since the beginning of 2013, only nine arrests of black NBA players have been made – two of which involved the same player (Ty Lawson), and one of which targeted an inactive free agent (Lamar Odom). Considering there are 445 active NBA players, this figure is approximately half of the most recently documented national arrest rate, which counted 12.2 million arrests out of a 313.8 million-person population – a rate of approximately 4%, compared to the NBA’s 2%. Assuming that black NBA players are any more likely to commit crimes than anyone else is simply inaccurate.