UPDATE on Feb. 11, 2019 - The roster has been deleted from the Wizards’ Dutch language Wikipedia page as of Feb. 7, 2019. It remains to be seen if the roster or other information get updated by passionate Wizards fans from Belgium, the Netherlands and/or Suriname. But we’re glad to see that the change was made nevertheless. The original post is below.
The NBA is America’s most popular sports league worldwide. You can go to almost any country in any continent, say that you like NBA basketball, and people will know what you are talking about, at least at a high level. As Wizards fans, sometimes people who aren’t the biggest basketball junkies may not know all the stars like they would on the Warriors, but that happens here in America too.
Wikipedia is a great resource to learn about any topic and the Wizards are no exception. A high school teacher or college professor may frown on you using the site as a source, but most of the information on the site overall is very accurate. Like 99.5 percent accurate! Look at the Wizards’ Wikipedia page below:
There are over 300 language sites on Wikipedia. The English site is the largest one based on the number of articles and active users. So given how international Wikipedia is, the Washington Wizards have pages in many other languages, including Spanish, French, and Polish. All three are quite robust, though not quite like in English.
Some of the sites are abbreviated like this one in Korean and the Czech site stopped updating seasons after 2015-16 though Tomas Satoransky is their star. But is there a Wikipedia page of the Wizards that is sorely behind the times?
Yes, that site is in Dutch. Take a look at the snapshot below.
WAT EEN CATASTROFE!
The right sidebar and the introduction paragraph are accurate, but take a look at the roster. John Wall is there which we would expect. But the head coach is the late Flip Saunders. And familiar faces like Satoransky, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, and Trevor Ariza are nowhere to be seen.
Instead, we see what looks like the Wizards’ roster from Wall’s rookie season in 2010-11. Most of Wall’s then-supporting cast are there, like Andray Blatche, Nick Young, and Jordan Crawford. Yi Jianlian is also there. And even Mike Bibby, who played TWO games for the Wizards is on the roster!
The one player who is absent from this list is JaVale McGee. His name was deleted in 2012, but here’s a historical link when he was there.
There is no one primary reason why the Wizards’ Dutch language site has a roster from nearly a decade ago. But here are two possible reasons:
- Basketball is not very popular where Dutch is spoken compared to other European countries - Most of us would be familiar with Dutch as the official language of the Netherlands, which includes both the European country and its Caribbean islands like Aruba. But Dutch is also one of three official languages in Belgium where nearly 60 percent speak it as their native language including Mystics forward Emma Meesseman. Finally, it is the official language of Suriname in South America. But there are no current NBA players from these three countries unlike nearby European countries such as France and Germany. The next NBA player from the Benelux is probably Belgian point guard Manu Lecomte. He plays for the G League’s Agua Caliente Clippers. But Dutch is not Lecomte’s native language though he can speak it. And to tie this back to Meesseman, her Dutch language Wikipedia page wasn’t created until 2017!
- Most Dutch speakers are really good at speaking English - According to the European Union, 90 percent of people from the Netherlands can speak English at a conversational level or better. Meanwhile in Belgium, 38 percent can do the same, but this includes native French speakers. A Financial Times story cited a study that over half of native Belgian Dutch speakers can speak English. So native Dutch speakers, especially those from the Netherlands will probably just read NBA content in English without checking sites they do for local content in Amsterdam, Groningen, or Eindhoven.
Should we give Dutch language Wikipedia a hard time for having a Wizards roster that is sorely out of date? As fans, why not? But these things also go both ways. There’s probably a ton of English Wikipedia articles on Dutch, Belgian, or Surinamese topics that are out of date or non-existent while their Dutch language pages are very robust.
Speaking about English language Wikipedia and the Wizards’ page, could someone make a quick typo edit here?
Enjoy the rest of your weekends everyone.