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How to Spot a 'Basic' Sports Fan

Matt HaupertFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2014

How to Spot a 'Basic' Sports Fan

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Everybody knows someone who qualifies as a “basic b---h,” though it can be hard to define exactly what it is that makes her “basic.”

    • She follows all the trends just for the sake of following the trends.
    • She watches too much Sex and the City.
    • She’s more interested in Instagramming her beverage from Starbucks than she is in drinking it.
    • She is, as defined in the video linked above, an “extra regular female,” existing not as an individual but as a faceless member of an undesirable group.

    Sports fans, too, can qualify as “basic,” and they can be just as difficult to pinpoint.

    • They care about being seen as a fan more than they care about the actual game.
    • They buy merchandise for their favorite team because it looks cute, not because they care.
    • They have opinions about all the hot sports topics just because everyone else does.

    Nobody wants to be a basic sports fan, but if you’re not careful, it could happen to you.

    That's why I'm here to help.

    Take a look through the following slides for some simple advice on how to spot a basic fan from a mile away and make sure you don’t fall victim to the trap.

Lives in LA, Cheers for the Clippers...This Year

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    While the lowly Lakers sat at home throughout the playoffs, Clippers fans filled the Staples Center—covered from head to toe in red, white and blue—to cheer on the most beloved team in Los Angeles.

    But where were all those fans last year? Or the year before? Or at any other time during the team's 30-year tenure in LA?

    Where was all the Clippers love when Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal were orchestrating a three-peat for the Lakers not so ago?

    Ah, that's right—they were all in purple and gold, laughing at the fact that another team bothered playing in their city.

    Put it this way—if the Clippers played the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, you wouldn't see a whole lot of Blake Griffin jerseys.

    If you're living in LA and switched your allegiance from the Lakers to the Clippers as soon as they got good, you're a basic fan.

Miami Heat Fan...Since 2010

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    J Pat Carter/Associated Press

    Funny, isn't it?

    Starting in the arbitrary year of 2010, the Miami Heat were suddenly the most popular team in the NBA! For no particular reason, basketball fans across the nations were suddenly claiming that their hearts had always been in South Beach.

    In totally unrelated news, this was the exact same year that LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade to form the Heat's Big Three.

    What a crazy coincidence, right?

    If you became a fan of the Miami Heat the exact day that the superteam formed, I hope that the Spurs win the title this year just to spite you, because you are a basic fan.

Wears Her Favorite Team's Apparel...In Pink

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    Anonymous/Associated Press

    Somewhere along the line, someone decided that women needed their own special apparel for their favorite sports teams.

    Girls can't wear baseball hats—they need pink baseball hats!

    Girls can't wear football jerseys—they need cute pink shirts with hearts on them!

    A sports fan is a sports fan is a sports fan. If you want to show that you care about your team, get an authentic jersey and some face paint. I don't care how cute you think you look in those Yankees yoga pants. 

    If you're worrying too much about looking cute before going to a game, you're a basic fan.

Owns a Tebow Broncos Jersey but Not a Tebow Patriots Jersey

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Will the real Tim Tebow fans please stand up?

    Everyone loved Tebow Time when he was making magic for that one golden season on the Denver Broncos. His fans adored him, his haters were entranced by him, and he was the king of the world.

    Tebow jerseys were the hottest item on the market—in fact, he set an NFL record for rookie jersey sales over draft weekend.

    People soon figured out, however, that he wasn't actually good at quarterback and that the Broncos' success had nothing to do with his abilities.

    He went to the New York Jets, and fans started to lose interest.

    He made a failed comeback attempt with the New England Patriots, and the world moved on.

    If you bought a Tebow jersey when he was drafted but stopped wearing it as soon as the magic wore off, you're a basic fan.

Used the Term 'LeCramp'

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Basic sports fans love to criticize professional athletes at any and all moments of weakness, and LeBron James' painful finish to Game 1 of the NBA Finals was no exception.

    Let me be clear: When he missed the last few minutes of that game, it wasn't because he wasn't tough enough or was in too much pain. It was because severe leg cramps literally prevent you from walking.

    When Michael Jordan played with the flu, he was physically capable of moving.

    When Kobe Bryant shot free throws after tearing his Achilles, he was physically capable of standing.

    LeBron may have looked like a big baby and inadvertently cost his team the game, but "LeCramp" didn't have much of a choice. Basketball is hard to play when you are rendered immobile.

    If you ripped him apart for riding the bench as his team lost control, then unless you have successfully played an NBA basketball game with demobilizing leg cramps, you are basic fan.

Trolls Internet Articles

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    Jeff Schultz/Associated Press

    Everyone's a lot tougher behind a keyboard.

    Some of the most basic fans in existence spend their time trolling articles online, doing whatever they can to push other readers to extreme levels of frustration.

    Urban Dictionary provides a pretty clear definition and example of what constitutes trolling:

    Trolling - Being a prick on the internet because you can. Typically unleashing one or more cynical or sarcastic remarks on an innocent by-stander, because it's the internet and, hey, you can.
    Guy: "I just found the coolest ninja pencil in existence."
    Other Guy: "I just found the most retarded thread in existence."
    Troll on, my friends, but remember: If the best part of your day is getting someone on the Internet really pissed off, you are, by all accounts, a basic fan. 

Knows Mike Trout's WAR but Doesn't Know What It Means

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    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    Sabermetrics has been all the rage the past few years, and it became prominent during Mike Trout's two near-MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013.

    Casual baseball fans across the nation were spouting out facts about his WAR and how it was more impressive than Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown.

    I think WAR is great. I think sabermetrics is brilliant. I think Trout should have won the MVP both of those years.

    But what do you think would have happened if you asked the average WAR-loving Trout worshiper what the statistic actually measured and how it was calculated?

    If you have used sabermetrics in a casual argument at a bar but can barely calculate a player's batting average, you, my friend, are among the most basic of fans.

Asks for Selfies Instead of Autographs

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    The celebrity autograph is a timeless artifact.

    It's a little piece of greatness in your own home, a personal connection you have to someone you have always idolized.

    It can be mounted over a fireplace, put in a trophy case or passed onto your grandchildren. It never loses its almost mystical aura.

    Lately, though, the autograph has lost prominence due to the rise of the celebrity selfie.

    These selfies are great proof that you met someone cool. They're less great, however, when you try to put them on display or pass them to your children's children.

    If you have given up on autographs in favor of cramming your own grinning face into a shot with your favorite player, you'll probably get a ton of likes on Instagram, but you are still a basic fan.

Leaves Game Early

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    To leave a game before it has officially ended is to stand up and say to the world, "I have no loyalty or trust or dedication to my team, I back down when the going gets tough, and beating traffic has become my No. 1 priority."

    Fans who leave early should have the word "basic" stamped on their foreheads as they enter the parking lot.

    Real fans don't give up. Real fans stick with their teams until the final buzzer. And as a result, real fans often get to witness improbable and exhilarating finishes that become lifelong memories.

    If you leave the stadium as soon as your team is in a little trouble, I hope you miss the most incredible comeback of all time, get stuck in 14 hours of traffic, make it to work late the next morning just in time to hear a co-worker talk about how happy he was to witness the end-of-game miracle and never forgive yourself, because you are a basic fan.

Catches Home Run...Throws Back Different Ball

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The way I see it, when you're sitting in the outfield bleachers at a baseball game and you catch a home run ball, you have three choices:

    1. Keep it as a souvenir.
    2. Give it to a little kid.
    3. Throw it back onto the field.

    The last of these, of course, makes you the ultimate badass and the envy of every other fan at the game. You're sticking it to the man! You're telling the world that a home run ball that hurts your preferred team has no business being a souvenir for anyone!

    If you do keep it, though, just accept the fact that you're a little selfish and not quite as rebellious as you might like.

    Because you really don't want to be that guy.

    You know, the guy who thinks he has outsmarted the system. He brings a spare ball in his pocket, catches a home run, keeps the souvenir and throws his spare onto the field.

    No, this does not make you a badass.

    No, this does not count as you sticking it to the man.

    No, this does not earn you the admiration of those seated around you.

    It does, however, make you a basic fan.

Fills out 25 Brackets, Brags About Every Prediction

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    Chris Chambers/Getty Images

    Filling out a bracket for March Madness has become an anticipated tradition for all sports fans and an absolute paradise for gamblers.

    Picking the perfect bracket is a dream that everyone hopes to accomplish at some point in life—a dream that is about as likely as getting elected to the Hall of Fame for all of the major sports in the same year—and yet many people fill out multiple brackets in March in an attempt to do it.

    These aren't the people I'm calling basic fans.

    I'm talking about the guy who has never watched a college basketball game in his life. The one who has never heard of the teams he is choosing.

    I'm talking about the guy who fills out 25 brackets, picks 25 different champions, puts all 65 teams in the Final Four at least once and then brags in your face about every prediction he gets right.

    Sorry, buddy, but nobody is impressed by the fact that your Final Four correctly included Florida on your third bracket, Kentucky on your 18th one, UConn on your 22nd and Wisconsin on your 24th.

    If you think this counts as accurately predicting the entire Final Four, I don't want to be in your office pool next year, and you are the most basic fan on all of my brackets.

Only Shows Up for the Playoffs

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    M. Spencer Green/Associated Press

    Oh boy, it doesn't get more basic than this.

    These are the most common, the most contagious and the most dangerous of all basic fans.

    These fans are akin to the guy who always skips work but never misses the Christmas party. The high school kid who never shows up to the club meetings but sits in the front row for the yearbook photo.

    The old pal who suddenly wants to be your business partner once you've hit it big.

    Yes, my friends, be careful who you keep as company—a fan who only shows up and cheers when the playoffs roll around is no fan at all.

    It's easy to fall into their trap. These fans are never disappointed by losses, they never have to put up with the trials and tribulations of a regular season, and the team they're cheering for is always successful. 

    These fans, however, miss the point.

    They don't feel the passion or understand the true sweetness of victory.

    These fans always have been and always will be the most basic of them all.


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