We've all been there. As you watch your favorite team play whatever sport they are associated with, there are certain players for other teams that you just do not want to see do well, especially against your beloved squad. The Dallas Mavericks. And if they do, you've inevitably uttered something to this affect, "Man, I hate (said player)." It's okay. I understand. I've growled that sentence thousands and thousands of times… only with more swear words.
Some do not understand this. Outsiders view this as a cruel thing to say, especially about someone who you don't know. But it's not real hate.
Allow me to explain, while wearing my Mavs goggles.
It's not that I actually hate J.R. Smith. Maybe I dislike how he presents himself, his unearned cockiness, and other parts of his game so much that it hurts that much more when he does something to the Mavericks, but I don't truly hate him. Saying "I hate him" is just easier than explaining that every time, plus I get to sound mean. There's a name for this kind of intense dislike.
As we hit mid-April, we enter the time of year that might as well be a Petri dish specifically designed as an environment to grow sports-hate.
That time is the NBA playoffs.
For some, Sports-Hate will be a new thing this year during the playoffs. Others are battle tested veterans of the sports-hate phenomenon. Either way, it's a confusing time in a fan's life and the hate can be too much for some. That's why I took it on as my duty (duty…haha) to get you DB.com readers sports-hate playoff ready and created a Sports-Hate Playoffs Guide for all MFFLs.
Playoffs are a time of high stress for Mavs fans and you can't go in unprepared. I've got your back brother (or sister).
What can cause Sports-Hate, you may ask?
1. Self Entitlement: Earned or not, self entitlement will irritate even the casual fan. The cockiness that comes with the immense talent it takes to be in the NBA is usually unavoidable, but when it comes out after a call against a player or a coach… sports-hate is born. You feel sports-hate via self entitlement when you see Tim Duncan (here) do his palms up stare towards a ref after a foul as if to say "Who? Little ol' me?" Yes Tim, we understand you're a legend. We understand you've got the rings. Guess what though, you fouled him.
2. Flopping: The Art of Flopping- Nothing enrages basketball fans more and there is nothing fans are less likely to admit that their own players do. When a feather brushes the chest of a 200-pound man and he crumbles to the floor… you bet there's Sports-Hate. The flop ( definitely here) has found its way into virtually every NBA game as the influx of international players has increased this decade. Trust me, I was once a soccer player. I completely and fully understand that the flop is perfected by the internationals. When you see flopping, it's okay to be mad. It is weak and it is lame. Here is a fair warning to Mavs fans, get ready to "hate" Rudy Fernandez and Andre Miller during this first-round series for this crime.
Side note: We understand that JJ Barea is one of the top offenders of flopping, but this is a Mavs-based Sports-Hate column… so shut up.
3. Appearance: You may have noticed an anti-Spurs vibe so far, but there will be none in this section since they usually straighten up and fly right appearance-wise. No, this section is reserved for the Chris "Birdman" Andersens of the world ( see here). Statements that come with the feeling of appearance Sports-hHate include "What's this guy's deal?" and "How is this guy beating us?" Here is a basic rule of thumb: If a player is at least a decent role player plus the combination of ugliness or outlandish appearance in general, you've got yourself some sports-hate.
4. Out-of-Nowhereness: This is the most frustrating brand of Sports-Hate because you never see it coming. It's so frustrating that I have to invent a new word for it. When a player has clearly established their role in the league, but they go above and somehow beyond their ability to crush your team's dreams… sports-hate. Last year against the, wait for it… Portland Trail Blazers, who saw Andre Miller dropping FIFTY-TWO points on the Mavs in one game, in Dallas no less. The guy is a career 14.4 ppg scorer and he somehow comes up with 52. It's game like that that leaves us shaking our heads and wondering what just happened. Out-of-Nowhereness Sports-Hate was never felt harder by Mavs fans than during the 2007 series against the Golden State Warriors… but enough about that.
Examples: 1/30/2010 Miller, 2007 Baron Davis, 2007 Every Golden State Warrior, 2/10/2011 Aaron Afflalo (Game winning buzzer beater, 19-point fourth quarter, walking on water)
5. When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong: There's no way of knowing which guys are actually tough in the NBA and which ones put on a show, but it's never more annoying than when it becomes the most important thing to them in the playoffs. When a guy being "tough" blankets his actual performance in the basketball game… Sports-Hate. Kenyon Martin was just so tough in the 2009 series with the Mavs that he became a Dirk stopper. How could Dirk Nowitzki ever overcome mean old, yelling-at-owners-and-fans Kenyon Martin? The national media took that and absolutely ran with it. Forget the fact that Dirk averaged 34 and 12 in that series, Kenyon was "tough" so he stopped Dirk and the Mavs with his pinky finger.
There it is. Your guide to Sports-Hate, how it develops, and why you see it. The playoffs are starting, so get ready to feel all of these emotions and more. We could even come across a new form of Sports-Hate! You may have impartial or hell, even positive opinions on the likes of Portland Trailblazers Andre Miller, Rudy Fernandez, Wes Matthews, and Brandon Roy. Wait for the Dallas-Portland series to start, because you soon won't.
It's sports-hate and honestly, it's all in good fun.
I'll leave you with this interaction between a couple friends and me last year to help you understand the beauty of sports-hate.
[Baron Davis had just hit a three in some random Clippers game on ESPN]
(My friend Brandin and Me): "God, I hate Baron Davis."
(My friend Sophia): "Um, that's a pretty ugly thing to say."
(Brandin and Me): "No, we don't actually hate him. He just destroyed the Mavs in the playoffs a few years ago with how he played and we're still crushed by it. Saying we hate him is just easier than explaining that every time."
(Sophia): "Oh! Okay. So when you say you hate Manu Ginobili or the Spurs, you don't really mean it."
[Brandin Looks at me]
(Me): "…Oh, no. I actually really do hate them."