Re: Why is the United States so much better at basketball than the rest of the world?
One is the priority of sports in their communty and the access to a legit court before becoming a teen helps tremendously.
Brazil has a soccer ball in their flag... so they will likely play soccer growing up and its more of a traditional thing to do. If you are tall you might get later exposure to basketball but its usually around 16 years of age. To me Varejao and Noah would be mirror images if they grew up on the same block. Noah dribbles a little better and is better offensively because of early exposure to good competition and the coordination of the sport.
As far as athleticism goes, African Americans (Both Brazilians and North American Blacks) seem to dominate the fluid sports - soccer, basketball, fighting and track - much more so than Africans (or anybody else for that matter). So nutrition, exposure to the sports and general history would have to play a role. And nearly half the time, Brazilian Africans are from a different set of Africans than US Africans but share a common history, but they have different exposure to different sports.
While in Salvador Brazil a group of about 12 Norwegian men in their 20's were in the same hotel as me. I asked them if they were a sports team and they said they didn't play sports and that the trip was just a college outing. They were all over 6'3 svelte and muscular. So nutritionally, I don't know if America has an advantage on European nations.