Earlier today in Deadspin’s staff chat room, our editor Tim Marchman and I floated the idea of a “Fuck The Warriors” post, which would fully acknowledge everything great and fun and astonishing about these Golden State Warriors but also air out the completely irrational hatred he and I both feel toward them in our capacity as sour, resentful cranks. Our coworkers pretty much unanimously reacted as I imagine they would if we pitched them on a video of me burning down an orphanage. Fuck them, and fuck the Warriors.
It’s partly your fault, Internet. Partly what I hate is you. Get off their jocks, you front-runners! In last night’s win (of course it was a win, they always win because they have broken the sport of basketball, God I hate them), Steph Curry extended his arms above his head, opened his hands, hopped maybe six inches, and caught an offensive rebound that came directly to him. Three Miami Heat players were standing in the general vicinity of the ball, but none of them even reacted until Curry already had his hands on it. My seven-year-old son could have made that play. My five-year-old son would have botched the catch and gotten a bloody nose and blamed it on his big brother, but he’s five and I don’t think comparing him to Steph Curry is very fair.
“Steph Curry adds offensive rebounding to his list of super powers,” SB Nation’s special Twitter account for .gifs tweeted when it tweeted out a .gif of the play. (This play, again, was one in which a 6-foot-3 professional athlete extended his arms and caught a ball that came right to him.)
That is not the Warriors’ fault, crazy person, is what you are thinking. They’re just a really incredibly good basketball team; they’re not in charge of how people respond to them. I don’t mean to be rude, but that’s stupid nonsense. Of course it’s the Warriors’ fault. Who the hell put a gun to their head and made them go 51-5 while also playing the most fun basketball in the NBA? Nobody. Fuck them. They can go to hell.
The thing is, you’re supposed to like the Warriors. Everybody likes the Warriors; fine, whatever, they’re certainly good and fun enough to justify it. Like the basketball they play, which is fluid and gorgeous and savage and so algorithmically airtight that I genuinely believe they might just have solved the current iteration of the game of basketball until the next rules change, liking the Warriors is rational, logical, self-evidently correct. You’re supposed to like the Warriors; of course you are; the reason to have the word “like” is just in case the universe ever spits out something as unimpeachably good and enjoyable as the Warriors; if you like things that are good, then you must like the Warriors. You can’t not like them.
The thing is, what if you just don’t? What if you don’t have any good reason for it? What if they just fuckin’ irk you?
The other night, late in the fourth quarter of what had been a relatively tight, hard-fought game (for the Warriors, who never do not win, the goddamn assholes), Steph Curry hit a hard-as-hell contested three from right in front of the Atlanta Hawks’ bench, in their building, to nail their coffin shut. He then turned and shimmied his shoulders at them as he ran back to the other end. He was rubbing their faces in it.
Steph Curry likes to rub his opponents’ faces in it, which is fine and unsurprising. One does not become the best shooter of basketballs who ever lived (Curry [whom I hate] is that, and even that is laughably inadequate to describe his relationship to all others who have thrown basketballs at hoops, like calling the atomic bomb the most powerful firecracker ever made; he cannot be compared to other shooters without insulting him) unless one is driven to dominate and defeat others the way Ahab was driven to, uh, do whatever that was all about, I never finished Moby-Dick. The point here is that Steph Curry is a dude who places a lot of value on other people, people like the players on the comparatively sad-ass Atlanta Hawks, knowing he has laid waste to their nuts. This is a fine attribute for a professional athlete to have in his capacity as a professional athlete, and Steph Curry has it, of course he does, or else he would be his brother Seth, who is bad.
He was showing off. Of course he was showing off. He was showing off, and showing off is fine! It’s even bad-ass, or as close to bad-ass as a silver-spooner Golden Child born with one foot in the NBA like Steph Curry can get. You can think he was showing off, and even think that’s what’s cool about it; what you really can’t do is deny that he was showing off.
Or can you?
Per usual, there was never the slightest intimation that Curry was showing off or defiling the game. If anything, in the same way that his love of the game is infectious, the object here is something larger than his own ego. Curry’s religiosity is well-documented and you could use his faith to bracket this entire discussion. The language of conviction, confidence, miracle-making, and even implied superiority can be traced back directly to not Curry, but to his belief in a higher power.
That swagger doesn’t come from Steph, it simply flows through him.
That is Bethlehem Shoals, basketblogging titan, founder of FreeDarko, one of my favorite basketball writers ever, writing for SB Nation and telling you that actually, Steph Curry was not showing off when he very plainly and flamboyantly and unapologetically showed off right in front of you and everybody else, but rather was performing an act of religious devotion. He was a vessel for the Swagger of God.
Jesus fucking Christ. Look at what these body-snatchers, these Palo Alto pod people, have done to us. Liking the Warriors is not enough. We must revere them. We must exalt in them, swoon for them, flop around speaking in tongues before their majesty, stare in ecstatic awe at the blinding midday sun and see their logo in it. Look at what they’re doing to us!
Not convinced the Warriors are evil, revolting, techno-messianic Silicon Valley scum just yet? Consider this: Our own Drew Magary—Drew Magary!—was unconvinced this post was a good idea. Drew Mafuckin’gary—hater of, among other things, Charlie Brown, gift catalogs, baseball teams that deserve it, strangers who have children, Chipotle, college football teams that are good, college basketball teams that are good, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Canada, television programs for small children, the World Cup, people who don’t like turkey, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton, environmentalists, scarves, awards shows, baths, open relationships, Halloween stores, caring about things, the world, literally every team in his own favorite sport, and physical reality; a man who once wrote the following (as a defense of irrationally hating Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson) ...
Sports hate doesn’t have to make sense. I have cheered for scumbags and booed perfectly decent people. The athletes are characters in a drama that only makes sense in my own head. It’s like the movies. Sometimes you like the bad guy character more than some bland asshole nice-guy character. In real life, you gotta be nice to a lot of people: relatives, bosses, other people standing in line, etc. Sometimes it’s fun to let all that go, breach etiquette, follow your basest impulses, and boo the people you aren’t supposed to boo. So fuck Russell Wilson in the ear.
... in a piece literally titled “Yes, It’s OK To Hate Russell Wilson”; who once wrote the following about hating Steph Curry himself ...
He’s a brilliant player with a gorgeous family and a perfect life where nothing ever goes wrong because HE’S JUST SO GODDAMN SPECIAL, MY GOD, I WANT TO TEAR HIM TO PIECES BECAUSE MY LIFE IS SO EMPTY BY COMPARISON. The fucker. Always doing things the Right Way, are you? KISS MY ASS.
... in a piece literally titled “How To Hate Steph Curry”—thinks a post expressing seething, unfair, totally unfounded hatred of the Warriors isn’t necessarily a good idea! Did the Warriors infect Drew with brain-controlling nanoparticles like they did to Iman Shumpert? Probably!
How much domination is enough before it’s okay to just kinda want this aesthetically-pleasing, phenomenally successful team to get the shit beat out of it all the time forever? Is it not enough for them to eclipse (as they assuredly will, barring an asteroid) the NBA record for wins in a season? Is it not enough for them to breeze (as they assuredly will, barring an asteroid) to a second consecutive championship? Must they also extend their empire into our very minds?
Listen, dammit. Treasure these times. In my life only one other NBA team has seemed so completely, flawlessly, invincibly great: The 1995-96 Bulls whose historic 72-10 win-loss record the Warriors will surpass this season. Like the Warriors, they had the quality of making all the other teams in the NBA seem faceless and anonymous; they seemed for all the world like they didn’t even have to know which team they were playing against on a given night. Like the Warriors, watching your hometown team go up against them could sometimes feel humiliating even before the opening tip; you knew that as far as the world was concerned, the Bulls were there to demonstrate their greatness, and your guys were just the hapless props they’d use to do it. Like the Warriors, their best player had a way of making the first 42 minutes of the game, and all the valiant toil your overmatched shitheads put into hanging around, seem irrelevant with a few savage buckets—not right at the end, but just far enough before it that the game could still go down as a laugher. Like the Warriors, they were breathtaking to watch, albeit while playing almost the exact opposite style of basketball.
In all sincerity I say to you that one of the greatest gifts that team gave humanity was the fun of genuinely hating their fucking guts for no particular reason. I hated those Bulls so much it was like a fever. I knew they were great; I worshipped Michael Jordan; and I rooted against him like he was chasing my mother with a chainsaw. It made every single one of the Bulls’ games—or, well, the first few minutes of each of their games, the part with the not-obscene scoring defecit—into The Last Stand Of All That Is Worth Living For. It was the best.
Nobody needed a reason to watch the 1995-96 Bulls, and nobody needs a reason to watch the 2015-16 Warriors—the basketball is enough, man, holy shit is it ever. But if watching Steph Curry toss in a 40-footer like it’s a free-throw feels like seeing something special, if watching them whir and slice and snipe their way to 130 points in regulation feels like An Event, seeing them get laid out singlehandedly by a furious Dame Lillard feels like you just personally blew up the fucking Death Star when you needed it to happen, when all your faith in the world as a mysterious place full of endless possibility rested on the ludicrous notion that such a thing might happen and that you might get to see it.
Eat shit, Warriors!
Howard Beale screencap via YouTube