Special to NNPA Newswire
STATELINE, Nev. – Twenty-three of the 86 celebrities scheduled to tee it up in the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe this week are of African descent, which makes sense because much of the field is made up of active and retired stars from professional basketball and football.
Some of the most prominent African Americans in the field are Steph Curry, Charles Barkley, Jerry Rice, Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Larry Fitzgerald and Marcus Allen.
That percentage, 26.7, is nearly double that of the U.S. African-American population (13.6), according to the 2021 census numbers.
But comparing it with the percentages of African Americans in the big four sports is bit of a moving target.
The percentage of African Americans in the four major sports – NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL – ranges from less than 5 percent in the NHL to roughly 74 percent in the NBA, with the NFL (58) and MLB (8) falling in between.
The annual 54-hole tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course is expected to draw more than 50,000 fans.
It begins Friday and will be televised on NBC and the Golf Channel. It can be live streamed on the NBC Sports app. The first round is Friday, and the 54-hole competition concludes Sunday afternoon.
Curry is among the contenders to win the event, listed at 12-1 by Caesars Sportsbook, but he’s only had weeks to get ready since his Golden State Warriors won the NBA Championship last month.
His father, Dell, the former NBA standout, and is brother, Seth, are also in the field, which also includes Emmett Smith, Kyle Lowry, Anthony Anderson, Charles Woodson and Vince Carter.
Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and former top American tennis player Mardy Fish are the co-favorites to win the tournament, which offers $600,000 in prize money.
The tournament has raised over $6 million for national and regional charities.
Barkley, the former NBA star turned analyst who has been known more for his struggles on the golf course, has seen his game improve a bit in the last year.
He still has the longest odds listed, at 7500-to-1, but Caesars is taking bets on whether he finishes in the top 70.
Barkley nearly finished in the top 70 last year, coming in a tie for 76th. It was the first time in 26 appearances that he did not finish among the bottom five.
U.S. African American population: roughly 14%
NFL African American population: roughly 58%
NBA African American population: roughly 74%
MLB African American population: roughly 8%
NHL African American population: < 5%
American Century Championship African American population: 26.7%