November 16, 2009

The Bengals Get Just a Little More Likeable

Outside of my geography-based sports loyalties (Patriots, Celtics, Trojans), I base my favoritism upon a team's character. Quality character. Strong character. Distinguished character.

Second-favorite NBA team? Denver Nuggets.

Second-favorite college team? Kansas Jayhawks.

Second-favorite NFL team? Cincinnati Bengals.

If there appears to be a discrepancy between the three previous squads and the description of the qualities that I look for in a team, let me explain.

When I look for a high quality of character, I'm searching for substance. Is this team unique in its appearance, or simply an empty shell fulfilling its professional duties, a la Tim Duncan? All three of these teams fit the description of thugs. Not only are the Nuggets an emphatic-dunking, gang sign-brandishing (see picture on right) art exhibit (Van Gogh ain't got on these walking palettes), but they maintain this persona whilst embarrassing less skilled and vastly less entertaining opponents.

Why Kansas, you ask? It's partially because I've inherited Wilt's fanship, but mostly because they're also a bunch of hooligans. Intra-school brawling between football and basketball players? Check. Biletnikoff finalist who was suspended for the first game of the season because of some sort of misconduct? Check. Preseason All-American whippin' his junk out and rubbin' it all ova a beezy like a BOSS? Fuck and yes. Don't let Dorothy fool you - Lawrence, Kansas is ruthless.

Lastly, a team that needs little introduction - the Bengals. You name a misdemeanor, there's a 103 percent chance that its on the criminal record of someone in a black-and-orange striped uniform. Ochocinco is also a God. And now they add Larry "Smirnoff Sprinkler" Johnson? Be still my beating heart!

It's a bit harder to prove that these teams are strong and steadfast in outwardly accepting their respective identities, mainly because in doing so, each organization's PR department would implode (although any PR department willing to accept and promote these reputations, HIRE ME NOW!!!!). However, K-Mart appeared in "Urban Ink," the Jayhawks appeared on "ESPN the Magazine" with the story's angle portraying the team as bad boys, and The Worldwide Leader can't seem to get enough Ocho.

If you've come this far and a.) haven't spat on your keyboard in disgust and shown this post the one finger salute or b.) blocked the url, then you probably understand why these teams are distinguished. There really aren't others like them. They are hated, scorned, criticized, mocked and verbally demolished by a basically everyone who views their negative actions as condemnable. They make for good stories and their players don't conform to the "upstanding citizen" reputation that most people expect from them.

In short, these players really don't give a fuck what you think, and that's precisely what makes them great. If you're still not convinced, next time you watch some non-game basketball action, would you rather have this or this:

I thought so.

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