What Does Hating Have To Do With Basketball?

I have a theory: I think society has so much pent up anger it’s itching to find anything or anyone to vent towards. And yes I’m building up to the way people hate Miami so much, and James in particular.

Waiter Rant, a wonderful blog by a waiter I had been following for years, puts it very well when he says that 80% of people he serves are normal, but 20% are ‘socially maladjusted psychopaths’ (as if psychopath isn’t enough).

Sometimes I think that all those Heat and James haters are that 20%. Think about it. You are aching to vent your deep seated, directionless anger and here comes along an athlete of such incredible talent it’s impossible to ignore him. Plus he happens to look arrogant, or in the vernacular for better effect ‘astang mayabang‘. Clearly he’s no good.

The fact that he’s a celebrity and therefore ‘out of reach’ gives haters an extra cushion of assurance that whenever they speak ill of him it doesn’t matter as he’s fantastically rich and therefore couldn’t care what we small people think. And finally add the fact that even less of society can recognize a good basketball game or player and you have all the elements needed to be hated.

Of course, you don’t even need to be that level to be hated. You just have to be anonymous, hence the hate, arrogance and stupidity that waiters, call center agents and other people in the service industry have to endure on a daily basis. And you don’t even have to be an athlete either, as Justin Beiber knows very well. You just have to be out there, forced to be polite to everyone because society and personal upbringing dictates it, but getting little love in return because you are famous and therefore ‘deserve it’.

The sad fact is people have become more like sheep than ever before, joining the hating bandwagon because it’s the fashionable thing to do. Media Relation companies, the first people who recognize that image seldom has anything to do with reality, will forever be in business, shaping people’s opinion via campaigns that consistently prove people will think what they want them to think.

Take Michael Jordan for example. That man is clearly just as arrogant, just as single mindedly obsessed about personal success as James is in every way and probably even more so. Yet everyone just loves him, even when he’s clearly shown his fantastic ego has kept him from being able to work with others in getting his NBA teams off the ground. Jordan however, rode the cusp of pioneering sports marketing efforts in the 90’s that worked to make athlete a celebrity (and therefore, an effective endorser) many times over.

Want to know what I think?

I think LeBron is a young man who is making the best out of his God given abilities and the opportunities that appear in front of him because of those abilities. I think that when he made the Decision, it was because he wanted to do the best for his family, the people around him, and his friends. I don’t think money made such a difference for him, considering each offer was already substantial.

I do now know what the circumstances were at Cleveland that would’ve made him decide to leave, but if the scathing and hurtful letter the Cavalier’s owner wrote after he left was any indication, James appears to have made the right decision. I also agree that LeBron’s long, drawn out ‘decision’ day and Miami’s stupid celebration was exactly that – stupid and ill-timed, but I’m willing to bet James wasn’t the one who thought and planned those things. He said yes to them true, and participated in them, but I’m willing to chalk that up as a mistake and forget about it. We all do regretful things. Celebrities’ mistakes just seem bigger because they’re, well, celebrities.

And finally, I think all this hate has nothing to do with basketball, and that it’s unbelievably regretful for fans to participate in the hate.

Many years from now we all will read records of this time in history books like I often do, and realize how stupid fans were then. Let me tell you, I already think fans are stupid now.

Hating on someone you do not know personally is stupid.

Hating because someone ‘looks mayabang‘ is stupid.

Hating because you think it does not affect them anyway because they’re rich and famous, is stupid. And it also belittles yourself, because you think your opinion is small because you think you are small. That is also stupid.

Wanting someone to fail because you are rooting for another team, is stupid. Rather, you should want your team to play well in order to win, not because the other team failed, but because yours is better at playing the sport.

Assuming someone is a better person because they happen to be good in sports is stupid.

A basketball team wins because it is better at playing basketball than the other team. Assuming a team wins because of ‘karma’ is stupid. Assuming a team or player succeeds because God had anything to do with it (I love this) – is majestically, fantastically, stupendously, wonderfully, amazingly, stupid.

And finally, hating is stupid.

There is no place for hate in basketball or in any sport. If anything, sports celebrate the equality of man, seeing men not for their race, creed, color, gender or preference of gender, but in how well they play the game.

The game is pure because of this. The court stands there with little respect for a person’s name, where they come from or previous achievements if any. The court only loves you if you love it back. It will only reward you if you play it well.

It is precisely because of this why I love basketball so much. It breaks my heart to see people who profess they love the sport assume they participate in it by wanting someone who plays it so well to fail. Someone they do not even know. Someone who deserves an even opinion from the people who assume they know how to give one. Therefore, sports teaches you NOT TO HATE. There is the great irony. You can therefore come to conclude that the people who hate know the least about basketball, because if they really knew anything about it, hate has no place in it.

If you love the sport you will appreciate the players who play it well with an even hand and without bias, for they are the ones who are the best practitioners of it. Like the sport, you will judge them fairly, forgive their mistakes and appreciate their success. All even-handedly, fairly, and sans emotion. Only then can you be a true lover of the game. Anything else, really, is just a blatant showcase of ignorance, and is therefore stupid.

5 thoughts on “What Does Hating Have To Do With Basketball?”

  1. Hey, G,

    Great, albeit long, post. 🙂 You will forgive, of course, that this comment may be equally long. 🙂

    I never really liked LBJ, but I didn’t dislike him either. Back when he was in Cleveland, I admired him and I respected him. I was (and still am) in awe of his great physical ability and his conditioning and the overall top-rate level of play he gives to his teams day in and day out. How can you not admire greatness? It’s just like seeing a wonderful work of art and saying, “Nah?” You’ve got to be blind not to see how good that guy is.

    So, I was never a fan, but I didn’t think he was a bad guy. He’s just a guy who wants to play ball, after all. And the game is, after all, just a game – entertainment. The great portion of the male Filipino population that like/love the game have, at one point in our lives, imagined how it must be to be playing at a highly competitive level. The fact that the 2K franchise is such a big hit is probably because of the MyPlayer portion of that game. (BTW, I’m now starting SG on my team, and am averaging 40 pts, 8 and 7 – sharing lang 🙂 )

    The “Decision”, however, left a bad taste in my mouth primarily due to the way that he left his team. I don’t see anything wrong with a man wanting to make a living and wanting to win, and win big, but I think the way that LBJ went about the whole process was wrong and it was laced with a hint of betrayal and duplicity, and ultimately perhaps cowardice. Would it have been so hard to have gone to Dan Gilbert in private and said, “Thanks for everything, but I don’t think I’ll play for you anymore”? I think any organization that has made you their sole focus for the past seven years deserves a bit of respect. The way that happened seemed like LBJ was throwing every relationship he developed in Cleveland out the window, and that he valued only himself. In the way that he did it, LBJ looked like a selfish coward.

    I think people are reacting to that selfishness more than anything. Psychologists have pointed out that the strong negative feelings we have are often negative manifestations of our own personality that remain latent. People can be selfish, and that selfishness is either sublimated or refocused to something else, depending on the education and experience that these people get.

    Most of the time, people sublimate their selfishness because they want other people to be unselfish towards them, kind of the golden rule working. LBJ moving to MIA in such a ceremonious (or unceremonious, depending on your division) manner seemed to smack this social convention right in the face.

    Thankfully since I am not stupid, I don’t hate LBJ. But because of the way he did what he did, I formed a general dislike for him.

    But I didn’t root for Boston or Chicago because they were against Miami, though (didn’t think Atlanta had a chance). MIA – BOS was right along LAL – DAL, and I was hoping for another LAL – BOS matchup; MIA – CHI was, after all a matchup of the big 3 against the MVP and his underdog team.

    Now, I’m rooting for Dallas because 1) it’s always been my 2nd team after the Lakers, 2) Dallas has to win to give the sweep of the Lakers meaning (I mean, you sweep the defending champions and send the best – THE BEST – coach in NBA history into the sunset, you’ve gotta be THAT good) and 3) I don’t think money should be the sole factor when it comes to winning big. The Lakers proved that in 04, albeit with two aging superstars, big names don’t necessarily equate to championships.

    Teamwork, loyalty and hard work should count for something too.

    1. thanks Noni. Wow 40pts!

      I can’t have an opinion whether what he did was right or wrong partly because clearly I’m not privy to inside info (no one is other than the parties involved) and also because I don’t really care that much to find out.

      I’m just amazed at the hating phenomenon really. Senseless, perverse and sickening anger directed towards what’s actually just a manufactured image of a guy made by media professionals, likely very different from who he really is. I’ve been wondering why it has become fashionable as it can’t be good.

      I’ll try to keep it shorter next time. 😛

  2. LBJ making the “Decision” effectively turned him into a “heel” – WWE parlance for the antagonist in their convoluted story lines. Intentional or not, NBA’s got its drama and entertainment factors up 300,000 percent.

  3. oh man i have to admit i’m a bona fide hater.

    i used to like, really like, thought-of-him-as-a-hero like, LeBron.

    and then he did stuff i didn’t agree with. stuff i didn’t want him to do, hoped he wouldn’t do

    and i gave in to hate.

    not really his whole person, just that bit i see on the hardwood. to me many of his choices just represent so many of the things i hate, so it just followed that i hated him.

    i let myself drown in that hate, in the drama of everything. i let go of objectivity so i could release my skewed and insane perspective. some people agree with me, some don’t.

    in my mind, it’s all part of being a spectator, a fan, in this day and age where we can let everything out as freely as we want. we’ll see stuff we don’t like, or, oh no, hate, but we’re all free to do so.

    i don’t feel stupid for hating lebron, though some people probably think i am (along with the other people, numbering millions, who hate him too). and they might hate me for it too. funny how that works 🙂

    and man how i want the heat not to be champs. but that’s just me. my opinion. for everyone who tunes in to hear. and then they make their own opinions. it’s a free-wheeling thing, which is magnificent.

    and this here is your opinion on haters like me. and i love it. it made me think, question why i feel this way, this deeply, for lebron. and then it made me feel what i feel all the more.

    unbridled hate for this man who could very well be the champion. if not this year then some year in the future. surely.

    will i ever like him again? not closing the doors there. but here, now, i’m happy to have the freedom to express what i want about lebron without being judged for it. but then again, i’m judging him too. funny how that works 🙂

    so thanks 🙂 thanks for showing me that i don’t have to express my opinions “a certain way,” that i can use emotion, be biased, be flawed, be human, about all this.

    ummm… go mavs?

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