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.