Friday, June 3, 2011

EVERYBODY CAN'T BE THE ONLY PERSON ROOTING FOR THE HEAT

Dear writer of whatever stripe,

Look. If you want to root for the Miami Heat and Lebron James, go right ahead. If you want to pretend that a man worth hundreds of millions of dollars who receives untold adulation and material compensation beyond the wildest dreams of Craesus because of his affinity for putting an inflated bit of leather through a metal hoop is somehow worthy of pitying, party on. If it's important to your purpose in life to act as though a fanbase that won a championship all of five years ago and can't be bothered to consistently fill the arena is somehow long suffering, gravy. Do it up, buttercup.

But this is simply true: you are nothing like the only person rooting for the Miami Heat or Lebron James! I don't even believe you're in the minority by rooting for the Miami Heat or Lebron James. This constant pose, from literally hundreds (hundreds!) of sports writers, bloggers, pundits, and talking heads that they are the only people in the world rooting for the Heat or Lebron James is the most asinine, self-serving, demonstrably untrue stance I can imagine. I get it: you want to be an iconoclast. I get it: you want to show your independence and that you're better than the average basketball fan. I get it: it is always easier to argue that Straw Man X is bad than to prosecute an actual affirmative argument of your own. But surely the idea that you are the only person arguing in favor of the Heat or Lebron is undone by all the other people arguing that they are the only person arguing in favor of the Heat or Lebron. I'm inspired to write this by this Slate piece by Robert Weintraub, which is the nadir of this pathetic little subgenre-- yes, Robert, we get it, you are so much more advanced than everyone else, because you are celebrating the success of tall men running back and forth on hardwood-- but really, I could pick any of dozens, hundreds of identical arguments.

Does Google not exist?  Do you all write in total ignorance of the broader context? Is there no time when you think to yourself, perhaps I should check and see if anyone else is voicing this argument that I am insisting no one else is voicing? Did you not think to perform a reality check? Are there no standards anymore?

Just look at ESPN and you will find a host of writers and analysts who have defended and rationalized the Heat, Lebron, and "The Decision" since the very day it aired. Who was ESPN's chief analyst and reporter on all of this? Chris Broussard, a paid-in-full member of the athlete worship school of journalism and devout Heat defender. The airwaves were filled from day one with analysts taking the side of Miami. There's no way to be sure, but I'm quite convinced that there have been more on-air personalities supporting Lebron and the Heat than criticizing them on ESPN. The website is just as bad, where the Daily Dime Live crew never misses an opportunity to root for whatever team is the most filled with celebrity, the most generative of spectacle, and the most conducive to hype. And ESPN has found in Henry Abbot (TrueHoop) a one stop apology shop for Lebron James and the Heat, as Abbot has taken defending them to previously unseen levels of hectoring and bullying, as he rails piously from his position of power at the dominant sports media company. Look around before you write.

Like Lebron and the Heat? Cool. Say so all you want. But please, recognize that you are one of literally millions of people who share that condition. Stop the phony contrarianism. It's so tiring.

cordially yours,

Freddie

5 comments:

thebabelblog.com said...

I was thinking the same thing. When I was a kid I was convinced if I wasn't there to watch the game my team would lose. Maybe we've just been brainwashed to think our support is vital to the players who have absolutely no idea we exist.

Mysterious Man from the shadows said...

Great post. It occurs to me that "stop the phony contrarianism" could almost be the motto of your blog.

JahSonora said...

Odd Future, Tyler the Creator and basketball in successive posts....

I am thoroughly enjoying the diversity in subject matter.....


Thanks Freddie!

Michael said...

Word.

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