Immigrant labor in Philly

The Philadelphia 76ers selected Nicola Vucevic with the 12th pick of the NBA draft yesterday. Vucevic played college ball at USC where, as a junior last year, he averaged 17.1 points per game and 10.3 rebounds.

You can't teach height. Or wingspan.

That’s a nice addition for the Sixers, though I’m not sure it will have much of an impact as far as changing their status as a team destined to sneak into the playoffs and then get knocked out in the first round.

But this post isn’t really about the 76ers or Vucevic or basketball.

This post is about immigration.

Nicola Vucevic is from Montenegro, but he’ll be playing professional basketball in Philadelphia because he’s 7 feet tall and he’s good at basketball. And if you’re 7 feet tall and good at basketball, then it doesn’t matter where in the world you were born, the NBA will find you and bring you here. It brought Dirk Nowitzki here from Germany. It brought Yao Ming here from China, and Luc Mbah a Moute from Cameroon, Samuel Dalembert from Haiti, Dikembe Mutombo from the Congo, Hamed Haddadi from Iran, Zydrunas Ilgauskas from Lithuania, DeSagana Diop from Senegal and Pau Gasol from Spain.

That’s why the National Basketball Association is the best basketball league in the world.

That could change, easily, if David Stern retired as NBA commissioner and were replaced by, say, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer or Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal or Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley or any of the other prominent politicians who argue that restricting immigration and demonizing immigrants is the key to prosperity. Their brand of the politics of resentment wouldn’t stand for allowing foreigners like Vucevic to earn jobs that might have gone to native born Americans.

Put one of those people in charge of the NBA and their cramped nativism will wind up doing to the league the same thing they’re now doing to their states’ economies.

Update: The United States still has an NBA-quality higher education system, but as Matthew Yglesias points out, it’s getting to be less so.

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  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Nah, now you’re just taking a naively ignorant foreigner for granted. Schools are not required to give information about children to the freaking military. There’s no way that’s true.

  • Anonymous

    Do you think I’m obligated to answer EVERY question I’m asked? Do celebrities personally answer every e-mail they get?

  • Anonymous

    To close the achievement gap
    with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left
    behind. (Enrolled Bill [Final as Passed Both House and Senate] – ENR)


    `(a) POLICY-

    Notwithstanding section 444(a)(5)(B) of the General Education Provisions
    Act and except as provided in paragraph (2), each local educational
    agency receiving assistance under this Act shall provide, on a request
    made by military recruiters or an institution of higher education,
    access to secondary school students names, addresses, and telephone

    `(2) CONSENT- A secondary school student or the parent
    of the student may request that the student’s name, address, and
    telephone listing described in paragraph (1) not be released without
    prior written parental consent, and the local educational agency or
    private school shall notify parents of the option to make a request and
    shall comply with any request.

    `(3) SAME ACCESS TO STUDENTS- Each local educational
    agency receiving assistance under this Act shall provide military
    recruiters the same access to secondary school students as is provided
    generally to post secondary educational institutions or to prospective
    employers of those students.

    `(b) NOTIFICATION- The Secretary, in consultation with the
    Secretary of Defense, shall, not later than 120 days after the date of
    enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, notify principals,
    school administrators, and other educators about the requirements of
    this section.

    `(c) EXCEPTION- The requirements of this section do not
    apply to a private secondary school that maintains a religious objection
    to service in the Armed Forces if the objection is verifiable through
    the corporate or other organizational documents or materials of that

    `(d) SPECIAL RULE- A local educational agency prohibited by
    Connecticut State law (either explicitly by statute or through
    statutory interpretation by the State Supreme Court or State Attorney
    General) from providing military recruiters with information or access
    as required by this section shall have until May 31, 2002, to comply
    with that requirement.

  • Anonymous

    If you want us to take you seriously, you’re obligated to answer the question of what damage has been done by multiculturalism.

  • Anonymous

    From Fox News even.

  • Anonymous

    From Fox News even.

  • We Must Dissent

    Nope. It’s true.

    Schools also get money for each student they get to the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), which is presented as a test to give you ideas about what career might interest a student or in which they would probably be successful. However, it is an enlistment qualification exam and, before NCLB, a main way that the military got contact information for students.

  • Kish

    I’ll let you in on a little secret.

    You’re not a celebrity.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    LOL, so you’re a celebrity now? Pray tell your brand of shampoo so I can emulate you better.

    See, we’re actually engaging in a (stunted form of) dialogue, in which people address each other directly. You said stuff to people–in some cases directly challenged people to respond–and when they did respond, ignored it. Which you’re within your rights to do, but a friendly bit of advice: it makes you look bad. Perhaps you are operating with the maturity
    of a child and you like negative attention,  so this is fine with you. But, see, other people are reading, and you’re making your entire school of thought (as much as it is) look bad. So you’re actually doing a fine job of anti-evangelism for your various causes. Works for me!

    And now, I must boggle at the posts replying to my incredulity about the relationship between schools and the military.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Well holy crap.

    Although maybe the bill should have included an amendment for schools to also alter the military of kids who they suspect might be gay, so they don’t accidently get recruited.

    Out of interest, do public health bodies or, say, any group that is engaged in lengthening lives rather than ending them get the same level of access to the information of private citizens?

  • Anonymous

    Not to my knowledge. The amount we spend on prisons increases an order of magnitude faster than the amount we spend on education, too. Nobody ever accused this country of having its priorities in order.

  • Anonymous

    How could you leave out Manute Bol?

  • I think the speed of budget changes is roughly the same for those two branches of government service. One of them just happens to be in the negative direction. And it ain’t the prisons.

    And while Monoblade is obviously an idiot and a troll (the two aren’t NECESSARILY inclusive), there is a bit of research that suggests homogeneity of a population does actually correspond to lower crime rates. Unfortunately, virtually all of that data is tainted by other factors such as poverty levels (basically, whatever correlation might exist between homogeneity and crime rates, levels of enfranchisement are overwhelmingly more important).

  • Anonymous

    “Brazil is Crap”? Does the acronym BRIC mean anything to you? Clue: countries where the smart money is investing instead of the wonderful United States?

  • Oh wow. Even I wasn’t aware of that.

    I knew about the ASVAB, though. I had to administer the test. It wasn’t anymore fun that administering any other test. But I didn’t know about them having to give their student’s information to the military. If they gave that information to anyone else, they’d be violating the law.

  • Base Delta Zero

    “Nah, now you’re just taking a naively ignorant foreigner for granted. Schools are not required to give information about children to the freaking military. There’s no way that’s true.”Every boy already has to give their personal information to the military…