LeBron, Curry and... Lil B.
Out of the three biggest stories from this year's NBA Playoffs, two of those names make perfect sense. Both are the superstars of their respective teams, LeBron had been chasing history to stake his claim over Jordan as the greatest of all-time, while Steph Curry has emerged as a beloved and deserving league MVP, a Finals champion, and one of the greatest shooters of all-time, with a mounting argument for best ever. The third, Lil B, stands approximately 5 foot 6 and once tried out for the D League Santa Cruz Warriors, yet has remained just as relevant a media focus. Over the last few weeks, Lil B has gotten more air time on ESPN than Durant, Harden and the majority of actual players on the Warriors and Cavs.
(cooking materials digitally added)
The sheer outlandishness of what we're dealing with here is key. A Bay Area rapper, who's primarily only a "rapper" because it's too hard to come up with another more accurate label for him, claims that NBA superstars are slighting him, so he's cursed them to failure despite the fact that he's an outspoken proponent of peace and positivity. Oh, and the curse HAS ACTUALLY WORKED SO FAR! Even typing that up made me feel crazy. It's amazing this story has gotten so much coverage. If you asked ten people to name a Lil B song recorded in the last five years, there's a good chance ten of those people would have no answer. If you asked ten people to name a single Lil B song ever, maybe one or two would be able, and yet he's undeniably one of the three biggest stories of the NBA Playoffs. It's incredible but it's true - NBA superstars really are stealing his moves and really are sitting at home while Lil B's courtside at Oracle Arena.
Let's recap how we got here. The BasedGod curse surfaced years ago, though prior to this season it was limited only to Kevin Durant (and by extension, the Oklahoma City Thunder as a whole). Durant mentioned his distate for B's music in a tweet, after which B caught wind and decided to strike down with all the fury and power of his revered BasedGod persona. The curse took on a life of its own, ignited by the sheer ridiculousness of itself, and yet seemingly legitimized through a series of events that's seen OKC plagued by injuries, playoff heartbreaks, and one of the best players in the world dodging a game of 21 with this guy. It was glorious in its hilarity, at least for fans outside of OKC, but had remained untested outside of KD. Was it a result of Based powers at play, or did the Thunder just have shit luck? Logic said of course it was bad luck, but what fun is logic?
Once the the bearded superstar started using his celebratory cooking motion in the playoffs, the one very similar to the Lil B "cooking dance" seen above, the curse reached new heights.
What happened next was basically the perfect storm of well-timed playoff exits, coincidences, dug up Tweets, memes, gifs, Vines and Lil B wardrobe choices. It was the Internet at its best, and more. It's everything you want as a fan, the element of deeper meaning and higher powers at work, combined with one of the most interesting personalities in pop culture. The Atlanta Hawks Twitter got involved. James Harden lied. Kreayshawn rose from the dead. There was this incident with Mareese Speights, proving even speaking ill on His Basedness will expose you to the curse, regardless of any public callouts by the God himself. There are more strange elements and plot twists at play than are fit for this article. Even LeBron only narrowly escaped from the same fate as KD and Harden (though assumingly only through the divine intervention of one Iman Shumpert). It took Lil B appearing on ESPN's SportsNation dressed like somebody's Auntie just to officially confirm LeBron was not cursed, and as we saw last night, in the end even he couldn't save him from The BasedGod's wrath. (Side note: due to how Lil B referred to his alter ego in the segment, I can only assume that while he is The BasedGod, even he lacks full control over its wrath or mercy.)
Now that we've crowned a winner, and Lil B's hometown team has defeated Lebron and the Lebronettes the Cavs, we can only look back and reflect on what a fantastic ride it's been. The BasedGod curse has proven to be completely ridiculous and yet incredibly and frighteningly reliable. Millionaire NBA players, billion dollar NBA organizations, billion dollar media empires, Olympians in training, other huge rappers, they all bowed to the BasedGod. We love sports for the underdog story, and Lil B as a centerpiece of playoff coverage is the most underdog story of them all.
Taking this back to the beginning, it's painfully ironic to remind yourself that the Kevin Durant tweet that sparked this entire narrative existed solely to question Lil B's relevancy:
Fast forward a few years and Lil B's relevancy is off the charts. Remember, this is an artist who's biggest look musically is arguably a 2011 guest verse on a subpar Lil Wayne mixtape, and yet he's still popular in an age where music from last month may as well be ancient. Even with the Young Thugs and the Makonnens of the world, Lil B transcends another level of oddness. It's hard to deny that the man is extremely entertaining. Much of his catalog is almost unbearable to listen to, but Lil B isn't really a musician, the music exists as another outlet out of many for him to channel his Based powers. 2015 will forever go down as the year Lil B took control of the NBA Playoffs, and how far his influence can extend is now one of the most interesting subplots of the 2016 season.
Is a Pay-Per-View matchup of 21 between B and KD too much to ask?