Sun Falls Down

Take any of the following worth a grain of salt. My sick cat disappeared on Friday, there are coyotes around, and my best friend (sorry Silverbird) might be gone.

This will be my backward version of a link dump, where I respond in scathing fashion to other shit on the internet without linking to it. No links both out of disrespect and because certain bullshit doesn't need any more help of Ballhype (more on that in a second).

Going in backward chronology, I first want to touch on the LeBron/Yankees things, which I don't think anyone's really thought through yet. As much as I want to claim that LeBron's been reading FD and absorbed our Liberated Fandom philosophy, it speaks to something far less glamorous. At the risk of offending someone, African-Americans have been known to adopt out-of-town teams. Especially those associated with a place they might rather call home, like New York, or with a folk hero-esque player like Iverson or Jordan. If someone wants to say that, once again, FreeDarko has been caught playing Norman Mailer, fine. I would argue, though, that these allegiances are real and not nearly as contingent as mine.

More race stuff that no one wants to talk about: Ziller pointed out that Isiah is essentially crying conspiracy. Which, if you think about it, both boots him out of the mainstream once and for all and makes an appeal elsewhere for credibility. It's telling that this got said to Sharpton, who had to say "I gave him the benefit of the doubt." That's because Sharpton's brand of activism often depends on the existence of conspiracy, sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly. It's also worth noting that Sharpton didn't invent this brand of paranoia, and that it comes out of centuries of often-justified wariness. I am not sure what Isiah is trying to do, but please don't chalk this up to insanity or desperation. This is shrewd and slick and just might work.

I am incredibly enamored of Ballhype. As a resource, it basically cuts hours of needless searching out of my internet day. But I want a version in which all Celtics-related sites are disqualified, where people can't hype themselves, and where a certain bloated ass-ring of a collective has been black-listed. I really, really, don't need a wondrous creation blighted by shit that's artifically made important, inflated through a half-assed echo chamber, or has no business existing in the first place. I don't blame this on the site's creators, but on the many worthless fiends who exploit and abuse a system that could help us all.

Finally, one of the sites alluded to above recently ran a feature asking which female blogger we readers would rather bang. One of the contestants was my good pal Miss Gossip, who was accused of both faking her race and also of having an avatar that stood for white-hating shit like Common. I guess it's cool if everyone wants to objectify each other, even if the male-female ratio makes it seem more like a gangbang than "turning the tables on ladies with a shtick." But damn, learn a thing or two about race before making a bad joke about it. And for fuck's sake, pick a rapper WHOSE AUDIENCE ISN'T ALMOST ENTIRELY WHITE!!!!! Note: While I probably didn't give PIAB enough credit at one point, there's no doubt in my mind that this Common reference wasn't a very, very clever joke.

I hate all of you.



At 10/08/2007 5:18 PM, Blogger Leee said...

I'm sorry to hear about your difficulty, Shoals, though I have two points to make, one that disagrees, the other that hopefully informs.

African-Americans have been known to adopt out-of-town teams.
I must be missing a crucial part of the argument or some withering sarcasm, but adopting non-local teams is an inextricable part of following sports/fandom that isn't limited to or defined by race.

But I want a version in which all Celtics-related sites are disqualified
I'm pretty sure this is feasible, though with certain caveats:
1. Requires Firefox (or similarly customizable browser)
2. Someone who knows enough Javascript who can write a Greasemonkey script that'd filter out all items tagged with "Boston+Celtics" or something. That someone is not me, before you ask.

At 10/08/2007 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spitting fire, I like that.

I'm curious as Lee about this "blacks adopt out-of-town teams" thing. Have you got any backing for this? I've seen the folk-heroes (though lord knows Jordan isn't really one of those) draw whites and blacks in equal droves. I think I see what you mean about how LeBron, raised in relatively whitebread Ohio, might wish to be in New York, where the black population is higher. Or maybe "blacker" teams would be appealing? Of course, that seems like a hornet's nest I don't want to strke.

At 10/08/2007 5:48 PM, Blogger T.A. Negro said...

Maybe it's a joke. But it is a joke, and i think in this case that means something.

The most earnest crime here is sexism, which is as much a part of sports as winning and losing. It is your industry, love it or leave it.

As for the racist caricaturizing ... I don't know, I don't get scorn on this. The Common joke is just a reach for a "soul name", who cares? And it's her avatar, not her. The avatar is a cartoon. Being racist in-and-of itself is not a punishable offense, or so we should all hope.

I've had drinks with both these girls, consider them friends, and its laughable to think this would "hurt" women of their caliber. They are both "total packages" (gasp!), and what women like that isn't subject to this sort of treatment?

If a mainstream site does a bracket with hot sports (male or female) bloggers, is that horrible? If Chris Rock decided to get involved and made race caricature jokes, should we complain? Maybe the post is lazy, or not up to a certain *standard*, but "gangbang?"

To go the other direction, is this not a desired result if you're doing tube/tank top *fun* AOL videos? Now these ladies just have to keep moving on up to getting Shoals and MJD to do it, adding lots of creativity and depth to the setup. Then maybe Leitch. If they keep coming strong. Eventually, someday, the grand prize: Stuart Scott!! half-hour special on ESPN!! OMG!! OMG!! We gotta tivo that ish. And we'll all remember fondly how we objectified them way back when ...

At 10/08/2007 5:54 PM, Blogger T.A. Negro said...

Shoals, you preside over dog/person weddings? That is the hottest news this week, easy! Pictures!

At 10/08/2007 6:02 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

TAN--i know sports are sexist, and it does consistently bug me. and i'm hardly gung ho about feminism. and i know gossip herself isn't getting as annoyed over this as i am. and i know that racism is everywhere. it's more that the post is shit, "lazy" like you said, and doesn't hit any of the notes it would need to be to be "edgy."

i spend all fucking day staring at my computer, often at sports blogs. when shit like that is done well, like on KSK, i laugh and salute my inner dick joke. when it's like this, it makes me fear for the future of the internet.

also shit like this does reflect on other bloggers. it makes me worry just what i've gotten myself into, at least.

i guess i'm 1) in a bad mood 2) find bad writing doubly offensive when it's dealing with slightly sensitive issues.


that claim about race and far-off teams shouldn't have been categorical, even if it was kind of sarcastic and was mostly a comment on bron's roc-lovin', midwest-residing, greatness-since-birth self. i know race is a factor in there, and i can think of examples of this outside of him, but i probably could've articulated all that better.

so what the fuck do i know?

At 10/08/2007 6:04 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

those ratings are X-rated and involve a strict confidentiality agreement on my part.

At 10/08/2007 6:15 PM, Blogger T.A. Negro said...

If we're to indulge the race/far-off teams premise, I think we'd have to tie it to a general "will to power" impulse. one which might be more ostensibly on display with those who have been especially oppressed etc.

But LeBron isn't wearing a NJ hat, even though that's the team of the roc. Or is it the team of the roc? Even Jay might be on the fence there, which just underscores the Big Apple point. big city dreams are for everyone. NY and LA are the only teams relevant even when they suck.

At 10/08/2007 6:15 PM, Anonymous Sean said...


What Celtics-related sites are you referring to? I'm not a fan of Perk is a Beast either, but Celtics Blog seems alright.

At 10/08/2007 6:19 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

with like one exception, they all have exhaustive links posts every day that all link to the same celtics articles and to each other. with almost nothing written about the links.

At 10/08/2007 6:24 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Oh, okay.

At 10/08/2007 6:46 PM, Anonymous db said...

Perhaps a better way of looking at it is to examine the kind of attachment that gringos have to their teams, a form of abstract patriotism and identification which (as we know from all the chief mascots) is one of the main ways to displace an indigenous presence, or any other kind of history.

That African-American culture (rather than specific African-Americans) might support a different kind of attachment to place (and thus fandom) isn't a bad assumption, but I think it requires a bit more deconstruction of the white "norm" you've implicitly set up here if you want to make the concept do anything.

Anyway, worth a shot, and sometimes grouchiness can result in a level of unguardedness that gives us some new openings into the FD world....

At 10/08/2007 6:55 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

fine, an example: when i lived in philly and listened to WIP all the time, a disproportionate number of the local cowboys fans who called in were african-american.

At 10/08/2007 6:58 PM, Blogger Martin said...

Shoals- somewhat off-topic but it looks like empirical evidence on your take on last season's Warriors/Pacers trade.


At 10/08/2007 7:07 PM, Blogger roland major said...

Is there any chance that Lebron's hat was a protest against the city whose 'classy' nightclub beat down shannon brown. That's about the only relevant justification in my book. It seems like a pretty uncharacteristic PR blunder.

By the way 1st anonymous, Akron and Cleveland are both closer to Chocolate Cities than NYC (statistically). I'm pretty sure that Lebron roots for the Cowboys too, and I've never heard him talk about any Larry Nance posters on his wall as a kid.. Cavs fans want to believe that he'll stay in town because he loves the city and wants to be its savior but i don't think his people feed that fire.

At 10/08/2007 7:10 PM, Anonymous badly drawn boykins said...

TAN - Until 2004, Yankees and Nets were a single entity. Make of that whatever you will.

Also, as a former Charlotte Hornets fan, I've kinda been slow to accept the BobJohnsoncats as my team, but a running team with Felton at the wheels will go a long way towards unlocking the padlock on my heart.

WV: pryfadm - Pray for Adam Morrison

At 10/08/2007 7:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roland Major: Wow, I'm surprised I'm wrong about this one. Good call, I just assumed and didn't bother to look it up.

I've never been in Cleveland, so I'll shut my mouth before postulating about the culture there.

On another note, does anyone feel like LeBron's legacy will be tarnished if he jumps ship on the Cavs? Magic, Bird, and Jordan all felt an obligation to win a championship with the team that drafted them, and all (please don't remind me of Jordan's wiz days) retired with their teams. LeBron seems a little more mercenary, and I hear he's willing to flee to NY just as soon as he's able.

Of course, that's like trading in a '93 Tercel for a '94 Geo, but I guess if he wants the spotlight, that's the place to get it.

At 10/08/2007 8:02 PM, Anonymous chone said...

-Tom Brady got photographed wearing a Yankees hat and it was front page news on both newspapers in Boston. Unlike LeBron however, he claimed to support both teams when he started taking shit for it. I think the true LeBron (not shoe commercial, SNL LeBron) is brimming with swagger, the kind that makes people hate talented athletes with similar talent.

-I agree with the statement that adopting a certain team is probably an expression of wanting to live in that place or idealizing it. Choosing to pick someone like the Yankees, Lakers, or Man United says a lot about a person, though I'm not sure exactly what.

-As for Celtics blogs, the fact that there's so many distills a lot of the info. I like Shamrock Headband, and for the most part, the articles do get discussed on CelticsBlog, but it happens in the forum. There's too much "taking this way too seriously" type reverence that doesn't happen on other great basketball blogs though.

At 10/08/2007 8:03 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i'm not buying the census as an indicator of what a city means. i know there's some point to be made here about the rise in hip-hop regionalism, and how it's broken the bounds of the east/west dichotomy. and how this is a fairly recent development.

At 10/08/2007 8:43 PM, Blogger roland major said...

shoals, i think you underestimate the legacy of bone thugs and harmony.. no but really, is it too easy to chalk it up to the emulation of african american hip hop and pop culture icons? (when it comes to ball cap/team affiliations)

At 10/08/2007 8:55 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i think that when you're talking about the appeal of a city (not just its team), who's from there certainly makes a different. and how much that places is represented as a form of identity. i guess the logical extension of this would be that hip-hop regionalism would keep lebron from being a yankees fan, but that does seem a little pat.

At 10/08/2007 9:56 PM, Blogger T. said...

In the tradition of speaking for an ethnic group I don't belong to, I don't see black americans as more willing to switch civic identities any more than non-black americans. In fact, I'd say they're even MORE conscious of where they come from - witness Bodie being absolutely shocked that Baltimore stations have a limited broadcast range . . . and continuing to listen to NPR all the way to Philly.

THere's millons of examples of this - from Cuttino Mobley's shoes (Philly Cat) to virtually all of Carmelo (B'More) to Marbury's tats (Coney Island's Finest) - hip hop and black america (no I'm not equatign them) seem to me to "rep where they're from") just as much as anyone.

I think LeBron is just a front runner.

At 10/08/2007 10:06 PM, Blogger Carter Blanchard said...

First off, couldn't agree more on points 2-4. Let's just say that when you're using a Gym Class Heroes audience as your barometer of what black audiences are into... I don't really need to finish that thought, do I?

On the LeBron point one however, I'm not sure it's that complicated. There may well be a truism out there about how race affects selecting your team of choice, but LeBron likes the Yankees, Bulls, and Cowboys. I think front-running is a pretty universal trend.
I do think the point in that post about what makes LeBron's brand of front-running unique is interesting: he has nothing in common with the underdog story. Rooting for the most dominant team is probably the only thing that makes sense to him. (I'd be interested to see a more elaborate study on the connection between elite athletes and front-running).

At 10/08/2007 10:25 PM, Blogger T.A. Negro said...

carter -- that is an interesting correlation potentially. it would also dovetail with people in general rooting for the underdog. if it checks out we could invest more in dominant/human infrastructure, drawing a line of demarcation between the superhuman and mortals. No more anthropomorphizing Lebron, we know nothing of how gods think.

At 10/08/2007 10:58 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

okay, i'll buy carter's explanation. plus the more i think about it, the weirder it is that i'd take lebron's life as exemplative of any wider trend.

what it implies, and what i find even more fascinating, is that from a very young age nothing but victory made sense to him. that's pretty fucking awesome.

t.--i want to draw some distinction between repping your neighborhood and wholeheartedly embracing a city, which is what a sports franchise stands for. especially when the city writ large is fucked-up, boring, hostile, whatever. i'm not sure that works, though.

At 10/08/2007 11:09 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

you know what i like about freedarko? someone could've easily pointed out how dumb and inappropriate it was that i made that claim. but instead it turned into a discussion of why there might be something valuable to glean from it. thank you all.

At 10/09/2007 12:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a theory: some strain of white guilt is responsible for rooting for one team, and one team only, regardless of performance. Maybe living in America as a black man or woman makes frontrunning seem less like...frontrunning.

wv: cnsfitqy Cannot Stand Finding Irony Throughout. Quit, yes?

At 10/09/2007 12:36 AM, Blogger Nate Jones said...

I don't know if this has been said already, but the reason you probably had a lot of black Cowboy fans in Philly is that many black families originate from the south and have Texas ties. In a lot of ways the Cowboys are the team of the south. So people that are from that region usually have an affinity for the Cowboys. I know in my family, people haven't lived in Texas in over 30 years, yet they all love the Cowboys because that's where the family is from. I grew up going to Raider games in L.A., but yet my favorite team has always been the Cowboys, because that is who everyone on my mother's side routed for. Same thing with my girl's grandfather and all of his kids. He loves the boys from big D but has lived in upstate NY for almost his entire adult life. But those southern black routes all point down to the boys in blue. I could be completely off, but this has just been my experience.

At 10/09/2007 12:50 AM, Anonymous db said...

Great insight from Nate. There's definitely a different kind of displacement involved in supporting a team where your family's from versus identifying with it as something which in a more abstract way might embody a set of values or future for oneself.

(My experience growing up playing basketball outside the US in the 1980s was that it only made sense to root for the Lakers or the Celtics because that's who you got to see on television... and race and eastcoast/westcoast bullshit were determinants even from afar).

Yes Shoals, the reason I love FD is that today on ESPN Henry Abbott is getting killed by commenters complaining that he shouldn't bring race into a post on Indiana's market researchers showing Pacer fans hate hip-hop. At least here there can be some discussion instead of repression, and an attempt to try and grapple with reality, and not being too hard on people trying to write about some real shit that is hard to write about in a public forum. good work.

At 10/09/2007 1:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shoals: Did you live in Philly when the Cowboys had Michael Irvin? He's down with the real brothas.

At 10/09/2007 3:40 AM, Blogger Carter Blanchard said...

If it weren't for message boards and comment sections, I think I'd completely lose touch with how seriously fucked up racial views in this country continue to be. Not that I wouldn't know that type of ignorance exists without reading jackasses on the 'nets, but I do appreciate that the tubes (sorta) make it tangible and help remind those of us who typically stay secluded from that type of idiocy what we still have to deal with.

At 10/09/2007 4:09 AM, Blogger T. said...

further to db's point - I saw something in the coverage of the Celtic's visit to Rome and del Piero (the Italian soccer star) visting the C's practice, del Piero admitted he was a Lakers fan growing up in the 80s because all he saw was Lakers/Celtics.

One other point of interest - the Chinese big men of the late 90s (well, Wang and Yao) are both huge Olajuwon fans.

Um I don't really have a point.

At 10/09/2007 6:37 AM, Anonymous db said...

Interesting, T. Certainly, I think the overseas reception of the 80s Lakers/Celtics rivalry can shed a lot of light on the *contemporary* racial politics of the NBA, if anyone has more time than me to explore it further. Let's just say the stoic rightway/whiteway ruthlessness of the celts didn't really hold too much appeal for anyone I knew, even in the largely white environment of suburban Australia. You put on those yellow and blue converse hi-tops and made no look passes all afternoon, wishing you were a foot and a bit taller. And even though it was before the Internet, when you finally saw Run-DMC on late night music TV some of that looked kinda cool because even though it wasn't rock or anything on your own streets, you already had the sneakers. And 20 years later you're in Merrick Boulevard and thinking, shit, J was shot around here, why is that even important to someone who was once an undersized white point guard from down under.

Yeah, in Pudong a few months back I saw a kid rocking a Rockets Chuck Hayes jersey, for real. Trying to think about what that all means (and I think it means more than first appearances) is probably only happening on this blog.

At 10/09/2007 9:24 AM, Anonymous badly drawn boykins said...

To kinda add to db's comment, someone recently pointed out to me the conservative ethos in the conventional sports narrative. It's really undeniable; from the subtly racist "right way" talk to the "honor the contract" talk you hear any time a player holds out (but never when a team cuts/restructures a player), to the homophobia, conventional talk about sports leans heavily towards the right side of the spectrum.

But that's strictly American, I think. In other countries, especially in soccer, sports is about individual expression and bad boys are embraced, not ostracized.

Jogo Bonito is the right way to play soccer, and you'll hear English fans and pundits complain constantly about English football's lack of imagination and the tendency to go Route One. Carlos Tevez, who is more gangsta than S-Jax, is a folk hero in Argentina and West London.

With some exceptions, sports narrative outside of North America is fairly progressive and anti-establishment.

Which would explain why the Showtime Lakers would resonate in Europe, while the parquet floor and Celtic Pride didn't translate all that well.

At 10/09/2007 11:19 AM, Blogger Bongo said...

I grew up in Philadelphia and will second Shoals' claim that there are a significant amount of African-American Cowboys fans in Philly. I just always assumed there was something about front-running that was involved there, but now that the point of displacement is raised, I think that has a lot to do with it.

It's interesting though, Nate, that you say this carries down through multiple generations. My father was raised in New York and grew up a N sports fan. My mother's entire family has lived in Pittsburgh for generations and most of them still live there and are season ticket holders for the Steelers. I have never even considered rooting for anyone other than Philly teams though. Most of my friends whose parents are from other cities or regions are the same way. Anyone care to expound on why displacement seems to affect black fandom and white fandom here (this of course is totally anecdotal evidence, and in fact I could be completely wrong)? Great discussion going on here.

At 10/09/2007 11:29 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

My father has been a homer in like four different states. Though that might have something to do with having lived through the Dodgers' flight from Brooklyn.

Going on Nate's angle, which makes a lot of sense to me: Knicks=Cowboys of the Jews.

Oh, and to revisit the Iverson (maybe not Jordan) thing: the practice of rocking jerseys seems related to this.

At 10/09/2007 11:47 AM, Blogger goathair said...

My girlfriend lived in New Zealand for 5 months and said that everyone associated Illinois with the Bulls and Wayne's World.

At 10/09/2007 11:56 AM, Anonymous torgo said...

Honestly, this is just about the only sports site where I still read the comments. I used to love reading the Truehoop comments, but once he moved to ESPN, well, it's just painful. Instead of people going to his site to read the story, people can click on a front page link. Maybe it's better now, but the first month or so was enough to make me swear it off. Shame. And, of course, dear god, the fanhouse comments...
As for the sports thing, I can't remember where I read it, it might have been here, but with the LBJ hat thing, the idea that he's always been surrounded by winning, and never really had to endure losing so much, that he just naturally associated with the winners, the Yankees, the Bulls, and so on. I doubt he had a Craig Ehlo poster on his wall as a child, but then again, who did? Didn't Major League come out in his childhood? Would you want to back a team with Corbin Bernsen?
Seriously, I think it might have more to do with the mindset of some people (race not being an issue) that you never see backing a crap team. Maybe they're mercenaries, changing teams when the ship starts to sink, or they just won't let themselves pick a team that sucks.
I've never felt comfortable with that kind of person, to be honest. Aside from the concept of liberated fandom (which is fantastic if the quality of the game is transcendant, but it's the intensity of the fan that lets you sit through boring games and still be on the edge of your seat), I have doubts about the strength of fanness in someone who's never known a losing team.
Sorry to ramble, but what does this say about the Knicks? They refuse to rebuild, maybe because openly admitting that they suck would lose them all of these frontrunner fans, though clearly most of them are gone, I'd imagine.

At 10/09/2007 12:20 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

I picture Shoals as Sol on Soylent Green.

At 10/09/2007 12:24 PM, Anonymous Sweat of Ewing said...

I think the mercenary aspect of fandom is largely the result of growing into sports as an impressionable little kid, coupled with (at least now) nationally televised games. What games are shown on the Worldwide Leader, on Fox, on CBS, etc? The big ones, between good teams. So, as a little kid and given the option of rooting for a bad hometeam or the awesome nationally televised primetime viewership teams, who do you choose? The one who gives a few highlights a year even if you watch every day, or the option that is consistently dominant, on all the time, with amazing players? I think the choice is pretty clear. As a little kid I know I loved to watch the Knicks and the Bulls. I hated the Nets because, even though they were on a bit more in NJ, they were godawful boring to watch. And even though now that I love Jason Kidd for his game and his consistent amazing ability to take crappy teams places, and the Knicks suck and are awful to watch aside from Balkman and Lee, the Knicks are too fully assimilated into my adult psyche to be rejected outright.

At 10/09/2007 1:12 PM, Anonymous badly drawn boykins said...

"Sorry to ramble, but what does this say about the Knicks? They refuse to rebuild, maybe because openly admitting that they suck would lose them all of these frontrunner fans, though clearly most of them are gone, I'd imagine."

I think that has more to do with the size and the wealth of the market than the core fanbase. The bigger and wealthier your market, the higher the ratio between casual and serious fans. And there's no business community bigger or richer in America than in Midtown Manhattan.

Also, I'm reminded of a story I read about Rasheed Wallace, who got shit from Eagles fans because he was openly and loudly rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs at the old Vet.

That struck me as odd at the time, because I've always though Sheed of being proud of his Philly roots (and he's seen wearing a Phillies hat at times), and the Chiefs aren't exactly the sexiest NFL team.

At 10/09/2007 2:16 PM, Blogger Bongo said...

BDB: I think that Sheed is actually a Cowboys fan. I remember reading an interview where he said he always got a suite for the Eagles-Cowboys games in Philly and rooted for the Cowboys. Again, I'm a Philly head so this stuck in my mind. You could be right, but I'm pretty sure I remember it as the Cowboys.

Also, I wonder if maybe it's as simple as this: for Lebron, the two "subcultures" or cultural paradigms that he most relates to are basketball and hip-hop, as a lot of young black men do. For both of these, the Mecca is New York. When he was growing up in the mid-90's, every rapper out there was rocking tilted Yankees caps, including his idol and new best friend, Jay-Z. He also grew up in the And1 age, in which Rucker has become legendary again. It makes sense that, outside of Jordan, his basketball idol (why he roots for the Bulls obviously), he would see New York as the kingdom of both basketball and hip-hop, and thus identifying with their most successful team, the Yankees.

At 10/09/2007 2:54 PM, Anonymous paper tiger said...

this is a good one. i love that such a rant turned into such a good discussion. i'm super late-coming, but i just wanted to toss in about how liberated fandom/frontrunning, whatever you want to call it is changing in this information age. as many people have mentioned, fandom can often follow from access- euros picking between the lakers and celtics in the eighties, me growing up in cincinnati and loving the knicks because they were on WOR, etc.
so previously regionalism played a role in the sense of your region (or the region of your roots) determining access. but now that there's the internet and league pass, it's making socioeconomic status such a greater factor in one's ability to form lasting attachments. internet, because to really follow a team that way takes a not negligible amount of free time, which is a condition of comfort, and league pass cause it's expensive.
people not in a position to commit to either avenue are essentially left with a home team and the teams that are on tv. granted, there are now more teams regularly on tv (like maybe 10?) than during the eighties when it was basically just the finals (so celts and lakers), but it's still dependent on success. someone out of phoenix is able to be a suns fan without a huge committment now because they're on all the time. if nash retires and they go lousy and leave the airwaves, what happens to that allegiance?

wv srpkgdr: society really peaked in the GDR

At 10/09/2007 6:07 PM, Anonymous badly drawn boykins said...

FWIW, Sheed's NBA.com bio says he roots for the Chiefs.

But really, we follow the home team, not because of geographic coincidence, but through familiarity and/or by default.

I mean, I spent my formative years in Raleigh, NC and was a Hornets fan. The thing is, when you considered the physical and psychological distance between the two cities, it didn't stand to reason that someone in Raleigh would automatically root for a team in Charlotte. It's no more logical for a kid in Raleigh to like a team that's 250 miles away than for Lebron to support a team that's one state away.

But the Raleigh paper covered the Hornets as if it were a local team and a Raleigh station showed their games, so they just grew on me, which paper tiger gets to in his comment.

At 10/10/2007 1:25 AM, Anonymous eauhellzgnaw said...

I don't have any analysis to add to this interesting post, but perhaps my story might provide a little insight:

I grew up in a city out West without a sports franchise.

NFL: My family is from the South and roots for the Saints. I adopted the Oilers becasue of Warren Moon, one of my brothers liked the Browns because of LONS' Charlie Brown wore the gear, and the other brother chose the Cowboys and the Saints.

MLB: next...

NBA: we favored the Lakers over the Celts, and the Bulls before they started winning rings. We hated the Pistons. After the 80s repeats, though, we started favoring individual players and tandems like Payton/Kemp, Jordan/Pippen, Shaq/Penny, etc. To this day, all of us hate Boston, Utah, and Indiana: teams we associated with the establishment/the right way/white fans and media hype.

In general, people around my neck of the woods gravitated toward the Lakers and the Raiders, but this support was especially intense among blacks and latinos. The Lakers support was definitely about style and coolness; the Raiders support about attitude and dope unis--NWA knew what they were doing.

At 10/11/2007 9:45 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

I really like the idea of LBJ as demi-god, incapable of understanding or approving of anything but victory.

I'd offer a slightly different twist, however, one that may find a home in the heart of FD: LeBron can't understand or appreciate anything other than sublimity in the style of play. This is a something of refutation of the idea of the front-runner because it posits the existence of beings who care less about outcome than process. Under this theory, LBJ backs his teams not because they win but because of the manner in which they do it. One might argue that this is the true wisdom of the Old Gods: to honor the style of the fight and not the victory. In this prism, LeBron finds himself in league with those withered deities confined to musty tomes.

wv: ueqkuoit--little known Lakota god of Plains Basketball


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