Miami’s Tyler Herro is the first white US-born player to win an award in a decade


Tyler Herro (right), the NBA's sixth Man of the Year

Tyler Herro (right), the NBA’s sixth Man of the Year
photo: Getty Images

Tyler Herro is a cold white boy.

The Wisconsin native and University of Kentucky product won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award this season in runaway fashion when he became the first member of the Miami Heat to receive this honor after earning more than 274 total voting points than Cleveland’s Kevin Love (second place) and 360 more than Phoenix’s Cam Johnson (third place).

But did you know that? Mr is the first American-born white player to win something in a decade?

You’ll have to go back to 2012 before you can find an American-born white player to have won any awards in the NBA, as Houston’s Ryan Anderson won the Most Improved Player title that year. The stat is polarizing, especially for a league so diverse. In 2021 the NBA was at least there 109 international players from at least 39 countries. The reigning MVP is even a white player, he’s only from Serbia, not South Boston.

The numbers are even more interesting when you look at each category and see how things have changed over the years. For example, an American-born white player hasn’t won MVP since 1986, won rookie of the year since 2001, or won defensive player of the year since ’95.

Here’s a breakdown of how US-born white players have fared over the years:

  • Larry Bird: 1984, 1985, 1986
  • Bill Walton: 1978
  • David Cowens: 1973
  • Bob Pettit: 1956, 1959
  • Bob Cousy: 1957
  • Michael Miller: 2001
  • Larry Vogel: 1980
  • Alvan Adams: 1976
  • Ernie Di Gregorio: 1974
  • Geoff Petrie & Dave Cowens: 1971
  • Rick Barry: 1966
  • Jerry Lucas: 1964
  • Terry Dischinger: 1963
  • Tom Heinson: 1957
  • Bob Pettit: 1955
  • Don Meineke: 1953
  • Michael Miller: 2006
  • Bill Walton: 1986
  • Kevin McHale: 1984, 1985
  • Bobby Jones: 1983
  • Ryan Anderson: 2012
  • Kevin Love: 2011
  • Don MacLean: 1994
  • Scott Skiles: 1991
  • Rony Seikaly: 1990

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