Internet memes are ideas that travel throughout the World Wide Web and become extremely popular. Memes can range from pop culture references to parodies or imitations to even just words or phrases. One of my favorite Internet memes is the “Haters gonna hate” meme where, according to knowyourmeme.com, the original GIF animation of a kid strutting with the thought bubble saying “Haters gonna hate” came from an artist named Omar Noory in November 2008, with the premise being that “haters” are going to hate, no matter what you do.
I bring this up because the weekend of June 21 I attended a bachelor’s party where the topic of LeBron James was brought up and there was a clear “haters gonna hate” moment.
The question asked was which player in any sport should be deemed the most athletic ever? My vote was for Bo Jackson, the first athlete to be named an All-Star in two major American sports (baseball and football). Bo Jackson played left field, designated hitter, and running back. In college he won the Heisman Trophy in 1985.
“What about LeBron James? He’s pretty athletic as well,” my friend Brian pointed out. As soon as the name LeBron James was brought up, the bachelor, Justin, with his eyes wide open as if he were shot in the back declared that LeBron sucked and that he was a terrible human being. “He’s terrible! How many rings does LeBron have?” (Of course, the typical “rings” argument) I answered “One. He won it yesterday.” “Well Kobe has been sitting on five, FIVE rings.”
In his defense, he has been drinking a lot that day, and by the time the topic of LeBron James was brought up, Justin was plastered. This doesn’t mean he didn’t believe everything he said, rather the way he said it was intensified because of the alcohol. Brian and I knew Justin had too much to drink when he started to yell about how Shaquille O’Neal was a terrible basketball player because he couldn’t make his free throws.
Even though alcohol was involved, this doesn’t deter from the fact that in sports, there will always be haters. It’s our job as sports fans to look through the hatred and try to ignore all bias when trying to explain what goes on both on and off the field.
Going back to LeBron James, how can you say he’s a terrible basketball player if he is the first player in NBA history to average 30 points per game, nine rebounds per game, and five assists per game in multiple postseasons. Those are crazy statistics, and yet the hate continues.
Speaking of hate, let’s get to the topic of Skip Bayless real quick. I used to watch First Take back when they had news along with the occasional debating with Bayless and other analysts. I can’t watch it any longer. The idea that players have to have this “clutch gene” in order to succeed is ridiculous. You mean to tell me that there is a linear sequence of nucleotides along a segment of DNA that determines whether or not a basketball player is able to not only take the game winning shot but make it as well? If that were the case, then isn’t that clutch gene, in a biological sense, hereditary, meaning it can be passed down from generation to generation?
Am I speaking too literal? If so, then someone please inform Skip of the insanity he speaks. I’m sure I’ll hear the “he’s talking about the mental game of sports” argument, to which I’ll reply with the simple “oh, I didn’t know Skip Bayless has a degree in Psychology.” Look, I’m not going to pretend to even guess what goes in the mind of all of these athletes during the games, so why should I make up words to explain their play? That’s all the “clutch gene” is, a made up phrase to dump hate on an extremely talented player in LeBron James.
My job is not to hate. My job is to not only appreciate the beautiful games I watch but to try to explain logically why some players, teams, coaches, etc. are better than their opponents. So when I hear people like my dear friend Justin or TV personalities like Skip Bayless hate on certain athletes, it doesn’t bother me anymore. I just walk around like that ever so popular Internet meme guy thinking haters are simply going to hate.