“Why are you such a basketball snob?”
My girlfriend asked me this last weekend while I was trying to articulate my disgust for people who think Deron Williams is a better basketball player than Chris Paul. (Actually, disgust is a bit too strong of a word. Disdain is more appropriate.)
Anyway, she couldn’t understand why I felt comfortable making blanket judgments about a person’s (lack of) basketball acumen and intelligence just because they thought that one great point guard was better than another great point guard, and she called me a snob. I was intentionally taken aback by that suggestion, but I had to admit she was right.
I know more about basketball than anyone reading this, and not only do I know more about NBA basketball than anyone any of you know, I’d wager that I’m more knowledgeable about basketball than you are about anything. While I’m quite polite to those who know they’re not basketball mavens but wish to have a superficial (or educational) basketball-related conversation, if you do fashion yourself to be knowledgeable and you attempt to debate me, I will be as condescending, snarky, patronizing, disdainful, and dismissive as possible if you suggest something that shows you’re not worthy of my engagement. Be warned, and tread lightly, bitch.
I’m sure you don’t give two sh*ts about my snobbery, but that’s not the point. I don’t care if you don’t care. My snobbery has integrity, and even though I’m aware my relationship to basketball probably isn’t that serious to you, it’s more than just plain old “serious” to me.
It’s first falling in love with the sport when my dad took me to see the Harlem Globetrotters play at the Civic Arena on my 6th birthday.
It’s remembering watching the Rockets play The Celtics in the 1986 NBA Finals and (correctly) sensing that the Rockets were grossly over matched, even though I was so young (seven years old) that I still couldn’t quite pronounce “Akeem Olajuwon”.
It’s getting bored with always getting perfect scores when playing the “Name That College” game—being able to recall off the top of your head which university a random NBA player attended—and deciding to play “Name That High School“ instead.
It’s being able to tell what part of the country a point guard is from by watching the way he executes a left-to-right crossover dribble.
It’s playing so much pick-up basketball at so many different parks that you’re now able to identify who can and can’t hoop before watching anyone actually play just by paying attention to what they’re wearing (Note: The guys who play ball in store bought college and NBA jerseys are usually the worst players)
It’s knowing that the dribble move known by ballplayers as “The Shammgod” was actually first done on national TV by Penn’s Jerome Allen in an NCAA tournament game against Antonio Mcdyess’s Alabama in 1995.
It’s being able to tell when a player intentionally throws a slightly off-target pass to an open teammate, throwing his rhythm off and intentionally increasingly the odds he’ll miss the shot, and it’s understanding why someone would do something like that.
It’s being fully aware of the fact that while men are inherently bigger and more athletic, the main reason why high-level men’s players are usually so much better than high-level women is that women typically just haven’t put in as many hours working on their games. (and it’s being confident enough in my basketball knowledge to say something so seemingly sexist without hesitation)
It’s sensing that, even though the stats and game logs might not reflect this, Stephen Jackson always gives Lebron James fits, and it’s watching Kobe get shaken out of his shorts by Tracy Mcgrady in a 2003 game against the Magic, and anticipating that Kobe would do everything in his power to dunk on the entire team the next time he got the ball (He did, btw)
It’s shooting 200 shots a day every day from May to August when I was 11 years old, while my dad rebounded for me and charted my makes and misses. It’s dribbling my basketball through gang-infested neighborhoods and getting a “pass” from the thugs because I was “that little hoopin nigga“. It’s attending a Boys and Girls Club basketball camp in 1991, and first meeting the kid who’d grow to be my closest and oldest friend. It’s not getting a chance to play when taking a team trip to Italy because I tore the ACL in my left knee two months earlier. (But, I did get to hit the nude beaches) It’s crying when first hearing about Hank Gathers, Reggie Lewis, and (my friend and college teammate) Richard Jones, and asking God why a game that’s been so good to me could be so cruel.
Considering the negative connotation attached to the word “snob”, I was initially shocked by my girlfriend’s suggestion because I didn’t want to be seen as one of those people; those insufferable, egg-headed, know-it-alls who don’t miss an opportunity to let you know exactly how much more they know than you do.
But, I’ve reconciled with and accepted my snobbishness in all it’s glory, proudly rocking my snob stripes whenever possible. So, when my girlfriend asked that question, I responded the only way I know how:
“Because I’ve earned it”
Anyway, although my relationship with basketball may seem unique (and a bit obsessive), we each have something we’re unabashedly snobbish about. Whether it’s food or foreign films or pop culture or penis size, every single one of us reading this has a topic we think we know more about than everybody else, a subject that kind of brings out the highbrow and haughty asshole in us when we’re discussing it.
People of VSB.com, what exactly are you a bit of a snob about?
Remember, we’re all family here. Don’t be scurred.