Stephens-Davidowitz says this makes the unlikely story of LeBron James as much of a social phenomenon as it is an athletic one.
In fact, Stephens-Davidowitz argues that poverty is an inhibitor to success, athletic and otherwise.
“Poor children in contemporary America,” he writes, still have substandard nutrition, holding back their development. “They have higher infant mortality rates and lower average birth weights, and recent research has found that poverty in modern America inhibits height. In basketball, the importance of every inch is enormous. I estimate that each additional inch almost doubles your chances of making the N.B.A.”