Friday, July 9, 2010

this little light of mine

Talent breeds contempt I have discovered, not through utilizing my own, they're too meager to invoke the kind of vitriolic hatred that only ever accompanies true greatness. Whenever any mortal pries him/herself away from the herd and ascends to the pinnacle of their given vocation, somewhere in the distance you will find a vociferous minority casting stones and aspersions in the general direction of that brave individual.

LeBron James is a basketball player. Possibly and even closer to probably the best basketball player on earth. Today he decided to change teams. He played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, his home town team. He now plays for the Miami Heat, and Cleveland are none too happy about it. There's incredible public outrage (in Ohio at least, and also generally amongst most NBA fans): women sobbing in the streets, the burning of LeBron's jersey in the streets, missed days at work. Utter mayhem. It's a sad commentary on society, these tribal affiliations we develop around our sports teams, this success or failure by proxy, when we hitch the wagons of our self esteem to whether or not they win or loose (but that's a story for another day).

"The King", as he's been dubbed, gets to join his buddies Chris Bosh and Dwayne Waid, two other uber exceptional bball talents in a move that will all but guarantee several championships during the next decade. People criticized LeBron for not being able to win a title in Cleveland --his team mates there sucked--and now they'll criticize him for going to some place where he'll win many.

Some people accuse me of being Marxist. Yeah, I'm part of the proletariat, but I don't just want to overthrow the bourgeoisie, I want to be the bourgeoisie. For some reason to sports fans, sportsmen are working class heroes. Sure they get paid millions to ply their trade, but on a certain level there just like us, the common man, slaving away for The Man. Well, today I think something significant happened. The players seized power from the owners for a brief shining moment. They worked the system and found a way to stack one team with 3 of the top 10 ballers in the NBA.

I love it. My favorite part is that these are three young black men who have taken over a game run by rich middle aged white guys (when I was younger I kind of wished I was black, something I've never quite grown out of). If you look at it that way it's easy to cheer for them. This is a new and possibly the greatest victory by proxy for the working man I can think of, but let's be honest these guys are going to be the most hated team in basketball. They're just too talented, people wont stand for it.

What happens when the rebel alliance overthrows the evil empire? Do they become the empire?I don't know. Ask apple. Everyone seems to hate them these days, but hey, they still move a ton of product. Wilt Chamberlain, a former NBA star and 7'1 monster of a man, said it best "nobody roots for Goliath." I suppose we all see ourselves as underdogs and we want other underdogs to succeed because they represent us struggling through this unjust existence, if they can win out once in a while maybe we can to. Problem is if they make a habit of being too successful too often, our cheers can turn to jealousy and resentment. How dare they stand out. Hey it's not their fault they've got talent and know how to use it.

Haters are gonna hate and players gonna play. I know I'll be watching and cheering. Stick it to The Man boys, stick it to The Man.

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