With the exception of 1989’s Do the Right Thing, there’s only one thing that comes to mind when you mention Spike Lee, and that’s the New York Knicks. Along with Jack Nicholson, he’s the most iconic superfan you’ll see at an NBA game. He’s the guy you cut away to during almost every lull in action, the guy who’s courtside almost every night regardless of how the team is doing or what else he could be doing that most people might consider more important. Hell, he skipped this year’s Oscars for a Knicks game. Dedication.
However, it’s not the dedication that makes him so iconic as an NBA fan. It’s the trash talk. The sheer villainy that has come out over the past three decades. You look back at the history of Spike’s trash talk and it’s simply unrivaled. You think back to the days of the Knicks-Pacers 90s rivalry, when Spike and Reggie Miller went at it in some fashion almost every time the two teams played. The taunting on both sides was fantastic, and brought out a side of Reggie that even the most diehard of Pacers fan rarely saw.
Spike’s notion for trash talk made you hate his guts. Pacers fans, Bulls fans, Celtics fans, we all can’t stand Spike. We love to hate him because it’s fun to watch his trash talk and taunts blow up in his face. For example, take a look at the video below from the 1995 ECF, the iconic “Reggie 8 points in 9 seconds” game:
See that? 2:15 left in the game and Reggie misses one of two free throws. Spike loses his shit and starts screaming “Reggie!” and waving at him over and over. He taunts the best player on the opponent’s team after, what I believe was, his only missed free throw of the game. And we all know how Reggie fires back merely moments later.
See, that’s the greatness of Spike. By bringing out the perceived worst in himself, he often ends up bringing out the absolute best in opposing players.
Here’s another example from the 1996 Eastern Conference Semis against the Bulls:
Jordan daggers a 3 with around three minutes left in game 5. As he backpedals down the court, he looks over at Spike and waves “bye-bye.” And the look of utter despair on Spike’s face is absolutely priceless. This man had the ability to add excitement to already exciting, tension filled games just based on his trash talk from the sidelines.
These days, Spike is still around, albeit slightly quieter than the 90s and early 2000s. This has made room for a new trash talking celebrity superfan, Drake. As a Toronto Raptors fan, Drake didn’t exactly walk into the most rabid fanbase when he became the team’s “ambassador.” While the team has flourished in recent years and grown a solid (see: bandwagon) fanbase, it’s still no where near a Knicks or Lakers situation.
Drake has been seen courtside at the majority of Raptors games in recent years, just like Spike has for the Knicks. Drake tries to trash talk opposing stars, just like Spike, but it just doesn’t have the same impact on games, a la 1995 ECF game 1. It’s more just…annoying, I guess would be the right word.
Let’s look at Bulls-Raptors from March 14 of this year. Late game inbounds play for the Bulls, up 3, and Justin Holiday is inbounding the ball. Drake stands right behind him and just starts saying a bunch of shit…for like 10 seconds straight. He’s trash talking Justin Holiday. I’m willing to bet there’s some casual NBA fans out there who just went, “who?”
See, unlike Drake apparently, Spike couldn’t be bothered with shit-talking role players. He went right for the big guns: Miller, Jordan, Garnett, Pierce, etc. Drake went after Justin Holiday…
And, I’m willing to bet that Drake thinks he had a lot to do with that 5-second call. If you look closely at the play, it’s absolutely textbook defense by the Raptors. That’s the kind of tape you show when teaching young kids how to defend an out of bounds play.
Here’s another thing: where the hell was Drake four years ago? I mean, he’s from Toronto and has been a staple in media for a decade at least, going back to the Degrassi days. Oh! I know! He was in Miami!
Come on, it’s no coincidence that he wasn’t anywhere to be found in “the North” until 2013. Hell, the 2012-2013 Raptors were 34-48. He’s a bandwagon superfan, something Spike Lee would never be.
Drake, a word of advice my man, sit the hell down and stop shit-talking Durant, LeBron, Paul George. I guarantee you have all their jerseys in your closet somewhere, just itching to be worn after you hop off the Raptors bandwagon if and when DeRozan and Lowry leave.
The 6! Get the fuck outta here with that. Spike would be ashamed...
Oh, and one more example for good measure. This, from last night's game against the Warriors:
He embarrasses himself.