I Don’t Trust Black Men Who Hate LeBron James

Illustration for article titled I Don’t Trust Black Men Who Hate LeBron James
Photo: Mike Ehrmann (Getty Images)

Of course, Golden State’s NBA Finals victory over Cleveland has delivered joy to many different (and occasionally overlapping) groups of people, including but not limited to:

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  1. Warriors fans.
  2. Fans of teams such as the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Philadelphia 76ers and any other place that might have a decent shot at landing LeBron since this Cavs team was so thoroughly outmatched.
  3. Light-skint Christians who shop at Talbots and Williams-Sonoma.
  4. Oakland, Calif.- and Washington, D.C.-area barbers. Since Kevin Durant is now a two-time Finals MVP, more endorsements might happen. And perhaps he’ll take this opportunity to (finally) vet and retain some top-notch barbering services.
  5. Restaurants with missing and/or stolen dumpsters. Now that the series is over, they can just hire Jordan Clarkson to replace them.

With each aforementioned faction, their happiness is based on, well, happy things, like success and opportunity and more efficient uses of Jordan Clarkson’s talent. There’s another group of people, though, who are even happier than the rest. They’ve been on cloud nine since Friday night, but their joy is based on failure.

They’re not hard to find. They’re on Twitter and Facebook. They’re at barbershops and cookouts. They might even have been in your house Friday night, eating your chips, sitting on your chairs and breathing up your air with their hate-filled nostrils.

And the reason they’re filled with Christmas-morning glee is that the team LeBron James happens to be on lost, which means that LeBron James lost.

Now, there are myriad possible reasons that (some) people take particular pleasure in watching LeBron fail. Many stem from conversations about historical legacy. If he fails, it weakens his case for being considered better than the two people he’s compared to most: Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.

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Of course, while LeBron passed Kobe, like, five exits ago (sorry), there are very valid arguments to be made about why LeBron hasn’t surpassed (and may never surpass) Michael. And there’s nothing wrong with believing that he hasn’t. But for some people, the dismissal of and delight in LeBron’s defeat has surpassed mundane sports debate and become almost pathological. It’s like they’re John Wick and LeBron killed their dog.

And as the homie Joel Anderson articulated the other day, these vehement LeBron haters all seem to have something in common.

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In the tweet, he’s referencing comments made by sentient frozen rabbit piss David Clarke about James and Jordan. And while using the conscientiously shitty Sheriff Clarke might seem like an extreme example for this point, it’s actually not. Anti-Bron brothas are like anti-vaxxers. They treat shitty opinions like Lay’s potato chips: “Betcha can’t believe just one.”

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Seriously, think of the vehement Bron haters you might know—those who search for opportunities to minimize and insult his accomplishments. Would you trust their opinions on anything? Politics, feminism, potato salad ... whatever. I wouldn’t trust those niggas with a straw.

I guess this is less about LeBron and more about the type of person who hates him this way. Perhaps their embrace of confirmation bias and obsession with nostalgia and noise naturally lead them to certain beliefs, and hating LeBron just happens to be one of them. Either way, it’s almost like the first question in the LeBron Hate Club new-membership packet is: “Do you enjoy being on the wrong side of history?”

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(Admittedly, I was tempted to remove the “black” qualifier and just say I don’t trust any man who expends energy hating LeBron. But I already don’t trust most white men, so that would have been unnecessary.)

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

DISCUSSION

kccomplainsalot
KC Complains A Lot

A lot of these dudes lapped “a defense of Michael Jordan and his legacy” a long time ago and moved into a full-time job of hating him for being great just because.

It’s partially rooted in the Jordan thing, but it’s also very much rooted in the fact that a lot of these realize that their time has come and gone. Lebron represents the passage of time and the fact that their memories of what was once great are now, for the most part, obsolete. They’re getting older. Their kids and their kids’ kids will never experience Jordan’s greatness outside of video packages and retrospectives.

And so like most scared, insecure men, they’re bashing on LeBron because he represents the thing they fear the most. LeBron represents the end of their time, of their version of the game, of their memories being culturally relevant, of their experiences not being nostalgic but just a bunch of stories some old heads tell about the guy who owns the Hornets now.

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. These dudes hate LeBron and they’re suffering because it’s robbing them of the ability to just sit back and experience one of the greatest athletes of all time.

ETA: Basically the Venn Diagram of dudes who hate LeBron James and dudes who are irrationally upset at Star Wars: The Last Jedi isn’t quite a circle, but there’s a lot more overlap there than you’d think.