Many an NBA player has been challenged by a nobody. But, as they’ve destroyed us, forever documented on the Internet, we should not to be too quick to judge the outcome.
Pop quiz, hot shots.
You have a bank account the size of a house, valued with waterfront views overlooking Atlantis; you possess the bouncy legs of goat, seemingly purpose-built to headbutt the Mir space station… What are you?
Yes, you play in the NBA.
If you are one of these people, it is fair to assume that your blessings have also been your curse. You love basketball and you love that you get to play the game you love for a living, but outside of the game, there’s a problem: short nobodies. Those who are bitter about your success, because of both perceived loss of income and the fact that their genes, inadvertently swapped by a lax attitude to birth control, were not deemed enough for them to regularly participate in sport.
So in every casual shootaround of that game you love so, there’s always one. One who tries to bring you down in front of a bunch of nobodies. One with a lip curved with smug desperation. So you reconcile the fact that it’s a bunch of nobodies, who cares etc, but again, your job description is to play in front of millions of nobodies you have never, or will ever, meet. Is a crowd a crowd, even if they haven’t paid for the privilege?
The coarse skin of the ball in your hand shakes off the existential dilemma; you have an aura to upkeep. You’re a professional basketballer; your challenger, is not. You’ve cleared hurdles, sacrificed sleep, evenings and the more meaningful things in life to gain something that they’d never been bothered to attempt. And they hate you for that? Hell no, to the no no.
Humiliation is out of the question, so what do you do?
The only thing you can do…
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 27, 2016
Those who still don’t think the NBA players are the victims here, witness the Washington Wizards’ John Wall have to deal with an uppity high school scrub, under the glare of a crowd, a camera, and twelve million viewers, all for a game that doesn’t mean anything, but means everything:
Whilst even Wall himself says, “This is what I do, man”, pressuring him to perform outside of work hours to prove it is akin to waking up David Attenborough with a stick, forcing him to narrate the dull adventures of your overweight Jack Russell-cross. You wouldn’t do it (though some of TBS’ favourite people could try similar – Ed). You know Attenborough can Attenborough, so why do you want to bring him down? While John Wall’s NBA contract was not at risk, losing to an ex-high-school player would be a label forever flung by detractors, coated in the Tarzan-grip of infinite smugness (Internet – Ed).
So, fair readers, if you see an NBA player, or indeed any professional sportsman out in the wild, let them be.
If you can’t, please don’t challenge them.
Force photos, autographs and attempt to chisel their partner away from their hip? Yes. Ask them to work for free?