Everyone’s talking about the Los Angeles Lakers disaster from last night; namely, LeBron’s red cap. Here are some of the problems with LeBron‘s cap:
- It is a fake MAGA hat in 2020. That is the fundamental problem. It’s not just that it looks like a Trump hat – that is somewhat concerning at first glance, but it’s not really within the realm of possibility that LeBron has decided to shut up and dribble for our beautiful POTUS. MAGA hats are nothing more than a provocation. It’s what aggressive guys with goatees in wraparound sunglasses wear at airport bars just hoping that a libtard will try them. Just like when a movie studio offered him the starring role in a “Space Jam” reboot, LeBron has foolishly taken the bait.
- Then there’s crossing out “GREAT AGAIN.” MAGA hats have been around since 2015. Fake MAGA hats have been around nearly as long. Maybe even longer. You don’t need to cross out the “Great Again” part because everybody recognizes this format. What you end up with is way too many words for a cap. Even “Make America Great Again” is too many words for a baseball cap, but lecturing middle school racists with PR teams on aesthetics feels like a lonely road. LeBron essentially put a Notes app message on his hat. There’s no need for that swerve. It really presumes that most people read very slowly – “Make… America… Great…Wait WHAT? Oh, you got me, LeBron!”
- I don’t believe that LeBron‘s desire for justice for Breonna Taylor is anything other than completely genuine. But, this format of starting a normal sentence and then surprise! You’re demanding they arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor? It was hacky two months ago on Twitter, and I’m sorry, but memes and tweets do not translate well to baseball caps. They’re also maybe a little glib as vehicles for life-and-death political messaging. Has modern political semiotics left me behind? Hard to say.
- Bad design, too many words, confusing branding – that does this remind us of? The worst fan sign in basketball history, courtesy of a Warriors fan during the 2016 NBA Finals. It reads: “LEBRON…take the “HIGH ROAD” back to CLEVELAND WITH YOUR 2nd YEAR LOSING TO THE GSW! You are no longer known as “KING JAMES” – you are “LOSER CRY BABY JAMES” (with your feelings “HURT”). And then there’s fake snot coming out of LeBron’s nose. Clearly the hat is not as bad as this sign, perhaps the most disastrous thing to ever appear in the NBA stands, by which I include a soda-covered fist-swinging Ron Artest. But both the cap and the sign share a “How dare you, sir!” energy that normally you only see on a Twitter account replying to every Trump tweet with a gif of Ruth Bader Ginsburg doing a leg press captioned “YAS KWEEN!”
- Fundamentally LeBron failed because he failed to respect his first-round opponent. I’m not talking about the scrappy Portland Trail Blazers and their myriad players who bomb from deep against the Lakers’ mediocre perimeter defense. No, I am talking about Portland, Oregon, the city, where ironic hats are as common as Kobe murals in Los Angeles. (Ed Note: this feels like an oversimplification.) Then again, going out in the first round to an inferior opponent would be a fitting tribute to much of Kobe Bryant‘s career.
- But the real person Bron underrated was his banana boat compatriot, the man who owes him a life debt, Carmelo Anthony. Many have questioned Carmelo Anthony’s usefulness in the NBA in 2020, myself included, though he has proved the haters wrong. But no one has or will ever doubt Carmelo Anthony’s commitment to wearing ridiculous hats. You wear a novelty baseball cap when you’re going into a pitched battle with the NBA’s preeminent hat connoisseur? LeBron, you brought a cap to a hatfight. That’s why the Blazers are up 1-0.