By: Darius Williams
Just admit it, they are better than you. Between the four of them they have amassed 37 championships. Your teams have none. Their names resonate power in the world of sports and pop culture. Your teams name bring laughter and pity. Fortune 500 companies line up for miles to be endorsed by them. You pay those same companies money to endorse them. Their brand sits atop the shelves at the store. Your teams brand requires bending at the waist and reaching down to get. As many people tune in with hopes of their failure as those who watch to cheer them to victory. The slight mention of their name can bring on an onslaught of spewed venom by you. Just walk into any bar in America and scream out Cowboys, Lakers, Yankees and Lebron James, then sit back and watch the hating begin.
For the better part of six decades, stemming from as early as 1950, the “Poster Kids” for success in American team sports have been the Cowboys, Lakers and Yankees. Whether it was their fortunes on the field and court or the Madison Avenue appeal from a marketing standpoint, a staunch group of haters soon followed these franchises. With hallowed names like Ruth, Mantle, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Chamberlain, West, Baylor, Abdul-Jabbar, Magic, Staubach, Lilly, Renfro, Hayes and Dorsett having donned the uniforms of these teams, it was very understandable how others could upset. Often seen as privileged and cocky by their counterparts, it was almost like they expected to always beat your less fortunate team.
Maybe you are an old disgruntled Milwaukee Bucks fan, still upset from when Kareem left that wasteland of a town in 1975 for the glitz and glamour of Rodeo Drive in Hollywood. Is that why you hate the Lakers? Or are you an old Charlotte Hornets fan, still pissed off that your team traded away the rights to Kobe Bryant in 1996 in exchange for Vlade Divac? Talk about diminished returns, Divac spent two showerless (Vlade wasn’t too fond of soap and water) seasons in Charlotte while Kobe went on to win five more titles for the Lakers.
‘Curse Of The Bambino’? You are a life long Boston Red Sox fan and that’s why you hate the Yankees huh? Traded away Babe Ruth in 1919 to the Yanks for what amounted to a bag of beans. Took you 85 years to win another title after that trade. In that same time frame, they go on to win 14 championships. I guess that would be just cause to hate a team.
Do the words “America’s Team” make your flesh crawl? If so, then you must be a Philadelphia Eagles fan. A city that once served as one of the nation’s capitols during the Revolutionary War of the 1700’s doesn’t get the “America’s Team” title but the team in the city the killed President John F. Kennedy do? In the Super Bowl era, Dallas has won 5 of those trophies. You on the other hand are best remembered for throwing battery filled snow balls at Santa Claus on the field. I can see why your hate is so prevalent.
Lebron James. One man, not franchise like the aforementioned, has somehow managed to equal them in hate. I’ve followed him closely since his sophomore year in high school and I can’t see what it is not to like. He is well spoken, image conscious, a family man and you never hear of his name being linked to any illegal doings. Guess that’s enough for some to hate him right there. I see a lot of people making it their business to not cheer for his opponent, but cheer for his singled out failure. How did all this arise? Was it because as a senior at St.Vincent-St.Mary High School, he drove a brand new 2003 Hummer while you were making blocks in the neighborhood in your 1983 Buick Regal? I mean he has met and exceeded all those lofty expectations he had coming into the league as an 18 year old kid. With accolades too long to recite, lets just say he takes a backseat to none with what he has accomplished already.
That old saying of “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” doesn’t apply to the Cowboys, Lakers, Yankees and Lebron James. “If you can’t beat ’em, hate ’em” is more like what they get. When assessing your own shortcomings, it’s perfectly okay to appreciate the success of others. I recently wrote about the jealousy trait being one the rest within us all. Having a team or player better than the one you hold allegiances to seems to bring out the dark side in people. I never understood the concept of watching someone or something I didn’t like in hopes that they fail. If I didn’t like something, I wasn’t wasting precious time on them. There was nothing I hated more as a kid than the television show M*A*S*H. Whenever it came on, I just got up and changed the channel. I didn’t sit there and watch with hopes of the character Hawkeye misreading a line or Captain Hunnicutt stutter over a word. I just didn’t watch it. Those four ‘brands’ in America are instant hot topics that bring out the hate in the masses. I’m just glad Lebron James doesn’t play for the Cowboys, Lakers or Yankees.