Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Andray Blatche has been incredibly good since leaving the Washington Wizards. Wizards fans have always had an antagonistic relationship with Dray, but is it still justifiable now that he's not with the team?
"Grace doesn't try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries." -- The Tree of Life, 2011
"Judgement time." -- Judge Dredd, 1995
It's hard to put your finger on what exactly makes a celebrity hateable. If Twitter, MTV, and Urban Dictionary are to be believed, it comes from simple envy. That's probably not it. Writing for Psychology Today, Pamela Rutledge, Phd wrote that, "the defining feature of a (well-liked celebrity) is that they are exactly what the admiring fan needs them to be: perfect." She went on to explain that, when something shatters this illusion of perfection, an irrational backlash can take place.
Andray Blatche is not perfect, and the backlash from Washington Wizards fans is completely rational.
Tonight, Baltche will play his first regular season game at the Verizon Center since his less-than-glorious departure from the Wizards via the NBA's amnesty clause. Blatche had badmouthed the team and the fans on numerous occasions before his release (the best instance of this was when he publicly shouted "I hate this team!"), but openly mocking the Wizards for their rough start to the new season? That's just low.
This wouldn't sting so much if Blatche weren't having such a successful year. Say what you will about him, but the guy's resurgence has been incredible. Brooklyn's stumbled quite a bit over the last few weeks, but at the end of the day, they're a solid team, and there's a legitimate case to be made that Dray is one of the most productive players on the team. His statline per 36 minutes is jaw-dropping for a player who was paid to get out of town less than a year ago, his PER of 22.4 is second on the Nets to Brook Lopez, he's second on the team in wins produced and the Nets; defense is 4.6 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court.
He also gets to do all of this for one of the most high-profile teams in the NBA while playing half his games in a brand new arena in New York. Next year should be incredible for him financially, too, as he's still being paid almost $8 million by Washington and will likely be rewarded for his comeback with a similar $5 - $10 million a year deal.
Yes, Andray ****ing Blatche will probably make about as much as Kevin Durant next year.
You can't knock a guy for getting paid, and on some level, it's always good to see a person's dreams come true. We'd all be better people if we could find it in ourselves to forgive and forget.
That said, where's the fun in that?
When Blatche takes the court tonight he's going to get one of the loudest standing whatever-the-opposite-of-ovation-is' in recent memory. People are going to boo. People are going to curse.
And Blatche? He understands:
"To be honest with you, they can boo as loud as they want. They supposed to now because I don't play for them so that's not going to affect me at all."
Tonight, Blatche is the enemy. This should be interesting.
What kind of reception do you think Blatche will get?