I don’t understand it – I really don’t. I’m sitting here on my couch, glass of wine in hand, ready to watch a premiere NBA game on TV – the Warriors vs. the Thunder. Russell Westbrook vs. Steph Curry. Two of the top 5 players in the league vs. one of the best teams arguably of all time. I was primed and ready to hear all of these storylines, ready to hear Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson tell me why I should pay attention to the matchup at the point guard position or why Draymond Green was going to be giving Kevin Durant headaches all night. But that’s not what I got.
Instead, they broke comments made by NBA legend Oscar Robertson about Steph Curry. On ESPN’S Mike and Mike, Robertson basically called out opposing coaches for not covering Curry properly and said that Curry is doing all of these amazing things, like the one below, because of how the game has changed.
“He’s shot well because of what’s going on in basketball today,” Robertson said. “In basketball today, the game today, it’s almost like if you can dunk or shoot a 3-point shot, you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.”
Yep. Stupid defense. How dare you not defend that…
This commentary raised an interesting question for me. Why do we hate our most successful athletes? Why do we constantly need feel the need to drag them down, criticize them, try and diminish their greatness?
LeBron James is probably the most obvious example of a “hated” athlete. People will literally sit at home or at the game and root against him for the sake of rooting against him. It’s one thing for you to root against your rival. For example, I didn’t expect Jets fans to cheer for Tom Brady in the playoffs or for Seattle fans to hop on the Cam Newton train after he helped end their season. That’s a totally different thing.
But to root against one of the greatest basketball players of all time, just because you want to root against them – it doesn’t add up in my head. He seems for all intents and purposes to be the perfect athlete and role model. He donates to charities, is very involved in his community, helps children who can’t afford a higher education pay for it, and even changed the length of his shorts to help give off a more professional demeanor.
Don’t get me wrong – the man has his flaws. I’ve called him GM LeBron numerous times. It’s very likely he is a large factor in why David Blatt is no longer coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers.
However, last time I checked there’s no sex tape. Or assault record. Or allegations that he shoved his junk in a trainer’s face while in school. Or evidence that he trips opposing players. Or someone who’s beaten the crap out of their girlfriend and then somehow still got to play a professional sport. (Sorry that needed to be repeated.)
The same thing with Curry. So he gets a little cocky and dances around when he hits a big shot. He – like LeBron – doesn’t have a rap sheet or allegations swirling around his head. He’s still trying out to prove everyone who’s doubted him throughout his career wrong.
These are two of the best players to ever step on a NBA court. We get the opportunity to see greatness – two different types of greatness – during the same season. We get to see two prolific athletes light up the court every night and warm the hearts of their fans.
Shouldn’t we appreciate this? Shouldn’t we take time to marvel in all the good that they do both on and off the court? I don’t know if it’s motivated by jealousy, pure hatred or just stupidity, but enough is enough with the hate. Go watch LeBron. Watch Steph and Warriors. Stop hating for a minute and watch the greatness unfold.
And oh yeah. It’s really fun to watch.