Yes, the Heat are the champions, again…woopdie-doo *sarcastic tone*. I said it before and I am inclined to reiterate a similar point this year. I watched game seven of the NBA finals last night from the booth of a DC “U Street” Bar. The room battled with cheers and boos as the Spurs and Heat became a metaphor for love, hate, freedom, oppression, and conquest. I just think that through all the parades, accolades, cheers, haters (you already know there will be many), and celebration, when do we stop to think about what actually matters?
When the newspaper comes out in the morning and Miami’s big three adorn their faces on the front page, will anything change in the world? Did anyone’s problems go away? Did black and Latino youth get more of a voice? Did anyone get freed from poverty? Has the incarceration rate gone down? Has educational equality come to pass? Was wealth redistributed? The answers are obviously and repeatedly “no.” Nothing changed, yet so much emotion has been exchanged in one night. Regardless if you hate or love the Heat, for whatever reason at the end of the day, I just don’t think it is THAT important. Each of the ten basketball players that started each of the last five games in the NBA finals will most likely return to their million dollar homes for the summer, and the marginalization that occurs in this society will be just as pertinent as ever.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but anytime a discourse is revolving around ultimately insignificant topics, I like to add some balance back into the conversation. To add a small disclaimer to my main point— I went to high school in Cleveland Ohio, yes that is right, the city Lebron James choose to abandon in the name of “taking his talents to South Beach.” Stereotypically some think I should be burning a number 6 jersey right now, but quite the contrary, I am a Lebron James fan and get uncomfortable anytime mostly white audiences tell a black athlete what he can/can’t do and where he can/can’t go. So I am happy that the Heat won, but unhappy that we can pay so much attention to a game, and ignore so many individuals who are dying, every minute of every day.
I might be radical, but when I walk down blocks of communities that are filled with boarded up houses nailed with the tears of a generation, I cannot fully participate in the celebration of a game. I might be extreme, but when I count the disproportionate amount of black men incarcerated in this country I cannot fully enjoy a pseudo-championship or rivalries between people playing in an athletic contest. This might be drastic, but when people are still marginalized I can never truly and fully be ecstatic in the name trivial activities.
So as we send our hater-ations and congratulations to South Beach, lets take even a tenth of that energy and think about social issues home and abroad that can substantively better those who are hurting. While so many are thinking about basketball, I stand in protest, and spend this time to think about those who have been denied voice, agency, identity, livelyhood and personhood.