Almost every player in the NBA, America's premier basketball league, has fathered a child out of wedlock - with the most wayward siring as many as seven, according to Sports Illustrated magazine. Since about 85 per cent of the NBA's players are black, the report, entitled 'Where's Daddy?', is bound to give rise to a prickly racial debate, not least within the black community. The players named as the fathers of more than one illegitimate child are exclusively black. The magazine names several players on its 'NBA All-Paternity team'. They include such household names as Patrick Ewing, Shawn Kemp, Hakeem Olajuwon and Scottie Pippen. Larry Bird, a white former player, is named too, although his transgressions would appear insignificant by comparison. Take the case of Kemp, a forward with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the standard-bearer for irresponsible fatherhood. Still unmarried, the 28-year-old has fathered seven children, born to six different mothers. His child support obligations, for which he has been taken to court, were so extensive that they caused him to have a very public 'meltdown' last year. He pays a monthly average of US$6,000 (HK$46,440) for each child, a burden which led him to ask for a trade to his present employers, who cushioned him with a seven-year contract worth $107 million. Another 'cad of the court' is Larry Johnson, who was forced in November to take a paternity test by a woman who claimed her child was his. Science vindicated her, and her three-month-old daughter became the seventh on the list of the player's known off-spring. Two of those children are by his wife, Celeste, to whom he is still married. One of the league's top agents told the magazine: 'I'd say that there might be more kids out of wedlock than there are players in the NBA.' The magazine said he 'spends more time dealing with paternity claims than he does negotiating contracts'. More than 70 per cent of black children born in the US are illegitimate, compared with 21 per cent of whites.