When an NGO packs up the “World Champs” t-shirts that were printed for the losing side in a major sporting event like the NBA Finals and ships them off to Sierra Leone or wherever, that’s one thing. But what happens when someone prints up gear to capitalize on the insanely regressive feelings of entitlement and victimhood resulting from a certain segment of a certain fanbase’s warped relationship with a certain basketball team?
How is an original purchaser of one of these “OKCLE” shirts going to feel about his wardrobe if the Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder for the next NBA title?
The greatest athlete to have ever come from Northeast Ohio, one of the greatest athletes in world history, rises from poverty to unprecedented superstardom, in large part due to the support he received from the Akron community in which he was raised. This superstar is then cherished for seven years by the Cleveland Cavaliers fanbase before clumsily exercising his rights to leave the employ of a gilded slumlord/loan-shark who, along with everyone else around the superstar, could do nothing but bend over for him at every turn for seven-plus years out of fear of running a gravy train off the tracks, and couldn’t in seven years find the superstar a teammate any better than Mo Williams.
So the superstar from Northeast Ohio then goes on to reach the pinnacle of his sport two seasons later. But you went in, and rallied to bring your whole town in, with the guys from Oklahoma City — the “moneymen whose hobby is funding anti-gay referendums,” who lied through their teeth for the better part of two years to pull an Art Modell on the City of Seattle, who are only in a position to play for the title because they tanked so hard for so many years to be able to pull of the heist from Seattle in the first place. You did that because even though LeBron James has apologized again and again for the way he left the Cleveland Cavaliers as a twenty-five-year-old in what was the most anticipated athlete free agency in world history, you still think he owes you something. Or else you’ve just been swept away in the tidal wave of latent racism and general ignorance and intolerance that was deliberately cultivated by those who perceived an interest in reducing the complex reality behind LeBron’s decision to an absurd dichotomy. And now you have a stupid t-shirt. Someone should make a Fathead of you and sell it for $17.41. No, that would be stupid, too.
So since an NGO isn’t likely to pull together and collect these OKCLE t-shirts if the Heat win, and especially since we shouldn’t be infecting the third world with such awful shirts anyway, nor any part of the world even with ashes from them, let’s build a giant catapult to shoot them all straight into the sun.
Alright, go basketball. Go free agency. Go peace and tolerance in Northeast Ohio and everywhere.