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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

ALEXANDER: We Need More Villains in Sports

When fans have the old-fashioned debate about who’s the greatest of all time between Michael Jordan and LeBron James, they always bring up the eras they played in. Many note MJ’s era being the time in which players didn’t view each other as friends, which often led to the game being more physical. Versus the era LeBron played in, where players often give respect to their peers, even doing jersey swaps at the end of games.

While I love the idea of athletes showing respect to their competition, there’s nothing wrong with some on and off the court clashes between players. Recently, we’ve seen athletes showing up their rivals with a lot more boldness than usual. Whether it would be Dillon Brooks and his endless beef with the Golden State Warriors, or Kyle Kuzma’s rant on Spencer Dinwidee on Twitter, these guys are letting the world know they don’t always like a certain someone.

But one athlete in particular that was really putting on a show was Angel Reese, a forward for Louisiana State University women’s basketball team. Reese and LSU recently won the NCAA national championship for women’s basketball, a game that 9.9 million people viewed. While some may credit those views to Iowa guard Caitlin Clark, who was must-watch TV during the tournament, it was Reese’s on and off the court actions that got much of the attention.

During the game, you see Reese doing the John Cena “you can’t see me” gesture to Clark towards the end of the gameShe was even pointing to her ring finger, alluding to her championship hardware she was bound to get. Fans across the country had something to say about Reese, with some even going as far as calling Reese “classless” or “unprofessional,” despite Clark displaying similar gestures earlier in the tournament and not receiving the same energy.

And my response to those people is this: Do y’all even like basketball for real?

Sure, sportsmanship is key to show during a national championship. But seeing athletes talk crazy to one another, while being able to back it up, is needed for the game. When we see those face to face interactions, we see a different side of our favorite athletes that makes the game even more desirable to watch. It makes it so real in an era where referees are quick to throw a player out for the slightest action.

And it hits different when you got a young player like Reese, who stayed true to herself despite critics saying she’s “too hood” for their liking.

As mentioned before, Reese isn’t the only who’s been criticized for her actions. The Memphis Grizzlies have often been disliked by fans because of their attitudes towards other teams, often taunting their opponents and letting them know they’re not scared of anybody. I love this attitude. If they’re not on your team, they aren’t your friend. It makes the game personal, it makes it intense, and of course, entertaining. I mean, seeing Brooks and Draymond Green getting into it is honestly pure comedy, would highly recommend.

All of these examples play into that “villain” role in sports. That one person who wants to win, but everyone has something to say about them because of how they portray themselves. And honestly, players like these are necessary for the game. People have often joked how sports leagues are scripted. If that’s the case, we need more villains in these “scripts.” Those players who are going to get their team hyped while the other team wants to tear them apart. It’s apart of sports that is extremely underrated but needs to be highly valued.

While the hero may usually win in comic book stories, I’d like to see the villains win when it comes to the sports world. I mean, look at Reese bringing in $1.3 million NIL valuation after beating Iowa in the national championship. Looks like not being humble can get you pretty far in the real world.

This story was written by Rashad Alexander. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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