Why It’s Wrong To Root Against Lebron James

Like many young boys coming of age in the ’40s and ’50s, my dad had an almost unhealthy affinity for Westerns and cowboy culture. Actually, “had” is the wrong word. “Shane” is still one of his favorite movies, and it’s not uncommon to drive up to my parent’s house and catch my dad in the middle of a “Gunsmoke” marathon.

And, also like many young boys infatuated with Westerns, my dad wanted to be a cowboy. Since there weren’t many 10 year old Black cowboys in the 1950s, he pretended as best as he could; rocking tassels and holsters with plastic guns in them whenever and wherever he could. (I think he even wore them to school)

Yet, if you hear my dad tell it, these memories produce an uneasy ambivalence. While he treasures the memories of walking up and down his block, pretending to be a cowboy, he feels a certain way about the fact that, by playing “Cowboys and Indians” — a game where the the kids in the neighborhood pretended to be cowboys chasing down and killing Indians — and by rooting against the Indians in many of the shows he watched, he was playing for the wrong team.

As a kid he didn’t realize this, but as he grew older and learned about some of the things that really happened in the Wild Wild West and to the American Indians, he grew horrified at the fact that American culture had villfied the Indians and that he happily took part in that vilification.

I imagine the people still reading are probably wondering how exactly I’m going to tie Lebron James into this story about my dad. A few may even already be upset at the thought that I’d dare compare Lebron’s plight to that of the American Indian. If you are one of these people, relax. I know it’s not that serious.

What is (slightly) serious though is the fact that, like my dad rooting against the Indians, I believe that those vehemently rooting for Lebron to fail will be on the wrong side of history. 20 years from now, I have no doubt that even the most fervent members of the anti-Lebron fan club will be thinking to themselves “Wait…why was I rooting so hard against him again?”

“Being on the wrong side” of history doesn’t necessarily mean that these people are rooting against a person who will eventually become a champion. Whether the Heat beat the Thunder in the Finals or not has no bearing on my argument. My point is that in time, history will show that today’s prevailing narrative — Lebron represents everything wrong with sports/celebrity culture — was false, and we were fools to believe it.

His situation has created a paradox where people are rooting against what they feel he “represents,” while simultaneously rooting for others who exhibit the exact same qualities. For instance, I watched game seven of the Eastern Conference finals at a sports bar in New York City. Maybe 80% of the people in attendance were noticeably rooting for the Celtics. The Boston Celtics. A team that won a championship a year after three of the 20 best players in the league decided to play together there.

Let me repeat myself: These were the Boston Celtics. I was in New York F*cking City. If you’re familiar with sports at all, you know that New York and Boston have fierce rivalries in every sport. They’re about as close to a contemporary version of the Hatfields and the McCoys as you’re going to get.

Yet, despite the decades of animus between these cities, the majority of the patrons in this bar were rooting for the Celtics just so that Lebron would lose. They could have given two shits about K.G. and Rondo and Ray and Doc. One of the bartenders was so anti-Lebron that if Paul Pierce sent him a text saying “Man, your daughter got some good p*ssy.” he probably would have replied back “Beat Lebron and you can f*ck my wife too!”

Now, saying that it’s wrong to root against Lebron doesn’t mean that you have to root for him. You do not have to be a fan of him or his game. And, if you are a fan of Kevin Durant (more on him a minute) and the Oklahoma Thunder, you (obviously) want Lebron and the Heat to lose because you want your team to win. The wrongness comes when a narrative makes you want a person to fail, regardless of who would benefit from that failure.

Also, fans of the “OKC represents everything right with sports” narrative, listen up. The funny thing about sports narratives is that they tend to be completely arbitrary and usually false. 10 years ago, Kobe Bryant was touted as the “Anti-Iverson,” the representation of what’s right with sports and how to play the right way….and you see what happened to him. After Kobe’s star fell, Lebron became the Anti-Kobe, the one who played the right way and respected the game the way it should be respected…and you see what happened to him. Today, Kevin Durant is the new golden boy, the Anti-Lebron, the one who does and says all the right things and doesn’t even have any visible tattoos.

I’m not suggesting (or hoping) that Durant will be found to be the antithesis of what the narrative currently says. But, like with the Cowboys and the Indians, maybe the distinction between who’s “good” and “bad” isn’t as clear as we want to believe.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

“Why Won’t Kevin Durant Brush His Hair?”…And More Questions That Need Answered Right. Now.

Kevin Durant, making his own personal protest for not winning MVP

Earlier in the week, I joked that a degree in Black Studies is about as useless as thumbs on a roach. Now, I obviously wasn’t serious — I wouldn’t be arrogant enough to dismiss an entire field of study (I’ll let Naomi Riley do that) — but I do think that the Black Studies’ curriculum offered at most universities should expand their horizons a bit and include some things we really, really, really need to get to the bottom of, including…

Why won’t Kevin Durant brush his hair?¹

Is it a silent protest for not winning MVP? Do his naps give him power the same way Rick Ross gets his from his areolas? Did he lose a bet with a genie? Is he allergic to brush bristles? Is he actually just the grown up version of Dookie from “The Wire?” Are him and Russell Westbrook having a year-long contest to “out nerd” each other?

Seriously, I’m actually more interested in why Kevin Durant — a man who happens to be the second best basketball player on Earth — has apparently never brushed his hair than I am in any current unsolved mystery, including who really shot JFK, what the hell happened to Lark Voorhies, and what do vegans eat to make their farts smell like the tree frog from “Pan’s Labyrinth?”

Who invented the booty clap?

Look, while I have an active YouTube account, I’m no expert on bootyology. Despite this, I know that ratchet women weren’t clapping their ass cheeks together 15 years ago the way they all seem to be able to now. (Btw, the only way that link is safe for work is if you happen to work at Waffle House)

I concede the possibility that, 15 years ago, I just wasn’t in the type of circles where ass clapping was frequent, but I doubt this to be true. I get the feeling that if there was ass clapping to be found 15 years ago, I would have found it. I have a nose for ass.

Anyway, since all evidence points to the fact that it’s a recent invention, I’m curious to find out who the hell invented it. Very curious. In fact, I’d greatly appreciate it if somehow could put me in contact with her so I can, um, contact her for an interview.

How did we allow a typical hoodrat Puerto Rican from the Bronx become the most popular character on “Black” TV and the symbol for all that’s wrong with Black women?

Clutch’s Kirsten West Savali already touched on this subject much more thoroughly than I plan to, but really Black America? We have a show created by, catering to, and featuring Black women at their most ratchet, and we allowed a Puerto Rican from the Bronx — the freakin Bronx!!! — to hijack it? What’s up with that? 

(Oh, and for those who want to claim that some African ancestry makes her Black, I’m not claiming her ass. I just barely got over the fact that we need to claim Allen West. There’s no way I’m making room at the table for Evelyn too)

Did anyone ever find Toure’s cousin?

A couple years ago, Toure’ — the world’s newest negro ever invented — caught a bit of heat for suggesting that slaves occasionally seduced their masters. When the heat got too hot, he blamed his cousin for hacking into his Twitter account and making those remarks.

It’s been two years since this occurred, and not only has there still been no sign of this cousin, it seems as if we’ve just stopped searching for him. Perhaps he’s hiding in Kevin Durant’s hair.

Anyway, that’s it for me today. Can you think of any other pressing questions/mysteries that we need to get to the bottom of? Also, if anyone has any answers to any of my questions, please let me know.

¹Why do I get the feeling that the real answer to this question is on some uber-sad “He doesn’t brush his hair because he wants to honor the memory of his dead uncle, who was killed while only carrying a hairbrush”-type shit?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

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