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Davis, California

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Drinkin’ that Haterade

With the recent crowning ring ceremony for “King” James and the Miami Heat, I can feel my soul slowly being shattered into metaphorical pieces.

My friends and family all pretty much know of my long-standing disgust for Mr. James. Anytime someone has the gall to make statements that make it sound like the world revolves around them, I generally lose all respect for that person.

This has happened multiple times in the illustrious career of James, such as the 2011 interview he gave to GQ.

“Even my family gets spoiled at times watching me do things that I do, on and off the court,” James said.

Do you understand why I hate LeBron now?

Well this isn’t completely true. My hatred is partly because I despise his character and partly because he is good. If LeBron James was a scrub who couldn’t dribble a basketball, I wouldn’t care about him. But because he is so good, and the bane of my team’s existence, my disgust for James exists.

My hatred for the “King” bleeds over to his kingdom: the Miami Heat. Though I am a Lakers fan, I would much rather see the Celtics — the archrivals of my beloved Lakers — win the championship than Miami hoist up the trophy for another year.

Some might call this dislike “idiotic” and “petty.” And they may be right. Some might say “LeBron is a nice person,” and “It’s just basketball.” They too may be right.

But you know what? This is what makes sports great. Having heroes and villains in sports makes the rivalries between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees mean something. This is why Lakers fans hate the Boston Celtics, and more importantly, why sports fans love the game.

From the time we are young, we learn to see things in black and white, good and bad. There is Batman and there is the Joker. There is Ash and there is Team Rocket.

How I wish this extended to the real world. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. As we grow older, we realize things aren’t always as clear cut as we once thought. Things aren’t always innately good or innately bad.

Yet, for sports, they can be. The beauty of sports is that they manage to capture childlike qualities which are long-lost from most aspects of our lives. It is socially acceptable to yell and cheer for your teams, berate someone who doesn’t do their job well and probably most importantly, hate teams and players because they rival your favorite team.

For me, my hatred of LeBron fuels my love of basketball. Don’t get me wrong, if LeBron James never were to have played basketball, I would still manage to love the game. What my dislike for “King” James does is make me more invested in teams that I would normally not care about.

The Bobcats against the Heat? Let’s go Kemba Walker.

Bringing this back away from my hate of LeBron — which is enormous and can span multiple columns — this “hatred” which many hardcore sports fans fall victim to is something which shouldn’t be looked down upon. We shouldn’t be labeled “crazy sports fans.”

If anything, this fanatic hatred of opposing teams builds anticipation and drama, which ends up producing a better sporting event for everyone. These fans help make the events special.

This type of rivalry and dedication is the norm for collegiate athletic programs such as Duke, Alabama and even UCLA.

I’m not saying that Davis doesn’t have this. In fact, I believe that UC Davis can have a thriving athletics program with intense fans. However, I believe those who are interested in sports — and I acknowledge that not everyone is — aren’t as invested in UC Davis athletics as they could be.

If more students could get behind the rivalries like the Causeway Classic or the Battle for the Golden Horseshoe, I believe UC Davis might have the same type of intensity in its athletics program that many dream of.

I know that I have always dreamed of going to a Duke versus North Carolina basketball game. The intensity of the event leaps off the television screen every time I see a Blue Devil versus Tar Heel game.

Maybe one day, people will have that same feeling about a UC Davis/Sacramento State game.


If you too regularly drink “King” James-flavored Haterade, contact KENNETH LING at sports@theaggie.org.


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