Kyrie Irving And The Death Of The Ghetto Superstar

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 5 years ago '11        #1
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The Rhyming Ape 57 heat pts57
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Kyrie Irving And The death Of The Ghetto Superstar
 

 

While Black America debates whether or not we are “post” anything—black/bougie/modern/racial—what’s not up for discussion is whether or not we are post-ghetto. That answer is a resounding “HELL NO.” That debate isn’t even on the table, it’s not cooking in the kitchen, the groceries haven’t even been bought yet.

We’re six million miles from W.E.B. DuBois and the popularity of the “Talented Tenth” concept. The a.ssertion that “the Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its ‘exceptional men’,” was shortsighted. It’s not reasonably possible that a nation of millions should be led by a contingent of well-heeled, moneyed folks (though considering how many people bow down to celebrity culture in this era, that kind of already happened, but let’s save that for another column).

Because DuBois promoted cognitive development over vocational skills, detractors like Booker T. Washington claimed that he was setting up African-Americans for generations of failure and a perpetual second-class citizenry. It wasn’t tangible; people argued that we aren’t gonna “out degree” mainstream America, so we had better learn how to fix the plumbing and install the air conditioners. But DuBois knew better and saw it as a way to lead the misguided out of small-mindedness and combine the cumulative resources of the Jim-Crow-dominated black communities of the early 20th Century. Creating a leadership class consisting of the best the community has to offer made sense, even if it wasn’t perfect.

The problem is, we basically did the opposite.

* * * * * * * * * *

One of the most unfortunate legacies of the Crack Era is that it conditioned two or three generations after it to honor the drug game. And more pointedly, to honor the best-case and worst-case scenarios brought forth from it. Young heads might not recall the ’80s (consider yourselves lucky), but it came with the force of a natural disaster. Reagonomics, AIDS and men wearing mascara were bad enough.Then Crack hit. It upheaved whole neighborhoods and took lives with no regard for culture or circumstance. And it went on for years. Imagine Hurricane Sandy dropping by once a month for eight years. Imagine raising kids in that environment. Imagine being a kid growing up in that situation. The scar tissue goes deep.

The era was full of terror and glamour. Terror being the callous loss of black life and the way addiction fractured the structure of poor and working class family units. The glamour came in the way that drug dealers started producing extreme materialism. People had been hustling forever, so that wasn’t new. And there were always a few guys jeweled up with mink coats, next level rides and pretty women on their arms. But not like this. Project kids were becoming overnight celebrities and hustlers became millionaires.

For young impressionable minds, even if it was known how they secured these goods, this was awe-inspiring. We all wanted a slice of the devil’s pie. How can anyone blame us? So ghetto culture, chock full of intoxicating tales of “they’ll never take me alive” and “ I gotta feed my kids” soliloquies of chaos, became the most regarded celebration of blackness. Even outside of the ghetto.

College kids who had never seen the inner city except via the words of Tom Brokaw, became enraptured by it. The popularity made anything that the hustlers valued (cars, clothes, women, music, basketball, etc.) trendy.

Basketball had already been a mainstay in inner-city communities for decades, but when the hood blew up, it took b-ball with it, and everything else: the slang, the clothes (baggy pants was originally a prison look) and the rep. Being from the streets became, in many circles, the ultimate example of your bonafides. Project guys with low SAT scores became the thing. He became a hero, or an anti-hero; either way, he was exalted. And the hood got the reupholster treatment.

College basketball specialized in recruiting these kinds of players, especially as guards. They were typically quick, steely and hungry. Guys like Stephon Marbury, Tim Hardaway and Allen Iverson became the standard. We shunned black guys from the ’burbs, said their styles weren’t rugged enough. We wanted dudes from the Southside of Chicago, Bed-Stuy, East Oakland, and West Baltimore. Players with nothing to lose. We wanted dudes who married this basketball sh*t; these suburb n*ggas were just engaged.

Shoe companies went through every athlete’s bio in a lustful search of a weed arrest or any sort of brush with the law. Magazines displayed black men with scowls and tats inside their pages and sold it as authenticity. This feeling had a name; they called it “street cred.”

It stayed that way for decades, but now, there are chinks in the armor. It’s changing, and now we’re on the verge of a paradigm shift. Why? Because the nastiest guard (not the best, but the “nastiest”) in the NBA is a prep school kid from the tony suburbs of Jersey who went to Duke.

* * * * * * * * * *

West Orange is a small city in Ess3x County, approximately a half-hour outside of New York City. To say it’s a normal suburb makes it sound too perfect. Too idyllic. We aren’t goin’ there. But numbers don’t lie, and man, the numbers a.ssociated with West Orange are amazing. The median household income is $88,884, the average price of a house is over $402,000, and in 2011, there was one reported murder. Kyrie Irving spent his freshman and sophomore years at nearby Montclair Kimberley Academy (before transferring to national power St. Patrick’s Academy, in Elizabeth). The tuition for ninth through twelfth graders at Montclair is $ 32,000 a year. They don’t have a principal; they have a headmaster. You get the point.

Kyrie’s father, Dred, played college ball at Boston University and after a stint playing overseas (Kyrie was born in Australia), came back to the states and began a career as a bond broker on Wall Street. Theirs was a life of good living (although sadly, Kyrie’s mother passed when he was four years old) and privilege, but Mr. Irving, knowing Kyrie needed to diversify his competition, made sure to trek him around inner-city courts around the Tri-State area.

Kyrie is Carlton Banks with a handle, but his game is littered with the accoutrements of a guy who played at the Rucker. There hasn’t been any backlash, at all, in regards to Irving’s story. Nobody’s calling him an Uncle Tom like they did to Grant Hill. Nobody is saying his style is fraudulent. At least not yet.

He’s not the first person to make this jump. In this regard, he’s a descendant of Kobe Bryant who made the jump from Philly’s Main Line uber-suburbs, but brought with him a style straight from the Sonny Hill League. The difference between Kobe’s mid-90s ascension and what’s going on with Kyrie today is that there’s an audience for this transformation. Remember, people hated on Kobe, said he was a poser, that he wasn’t “black enough” and all of those warped, slender descriptions that people create when someone’s behavior doesn’t fit into their a.ssumed definition of black identity politics. As a community, we’ve lamented about these descriptions for years and held umpteen community outreach seminars hoping to unearth a way to change the direction.


Kyrie is as, if not more, polished a player as Kobe was at the same age (but he has much better shot.) It’s the flair he plays with that makes him stand out. Right now, he’s picked up the baton from Brandon Jennings and Chris Paul––he has the sickest handle in the NBA . It’s beyond filthy. During last weekend’s All-Star festivities, he turned himself into a household name. Casual fans are now aware and his bandwagon, which was steadily adding new passengers, will become standing-room only. They saw him break Brandon Knight’s tibia bone on Friday and caught him stuntin’ in the All-Star on Sunday.

Undoubtedly, someone will discover that he’s not cut from the same cloth as everyone else. Will they a.ssail him because he didn’t grow up on W.I.C.? If they do, they’ll have to go after a bunch of other guys, too.

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine said the problem with the NBA is there are too many middle-class ballplayers. But that hardly matters. There have always been guys from “circles” and “lanes,” even while it was the dudes from “avenues” and “streets” who controlled the narrative. But in recent years, we’ve seen a change from that type of glorification. Players like Steph Curry, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul didn’t come up from some hardscrabble existence. They grew up with their fathers around and never had to skip any meals. To my knowledge, they’ve never had their ghetto pass revoked because, frankly, they never needed it anyway. These guys are amongst the most popular players in the game and nobody gives a crap about their credibility. For years, guys from nice neighborhoods had to feel ashamed, some even hid this fact and created fake scenarios filled with rats and roaches. The fallacy of a.ssociating black male authenticity with inner-city blues is a trap for suckers and punks. Basketball has seemingly turned the page on this mentality. If only mainstream hip-hop could do the same.

Kyrie’s success will be the latest test. If he can come out of this unscathed, then we might be on to something great. If the crabs drag him back down into their bucket, then it’s more proof that we haven’t yet learned from our mistakes. The inner-city isn’t a place to be embarrassed about, it’s a geographical construct. The mistake is allowing it to become a mental construct, where we somehow punish players who don’t have that history. Finally, that seems to be changing. Used to be that we only wanted players with a certain kind of story, but now, we accept them without the hardship background as an attachment. We’re getting away from penalizing guys and a.ssuming they are soft because they come from money. This archaic notion is on the way out. This deserves a slow clap, so let’s give ’em one.

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nice read on the history of players from the suburbs and how kyries helping to change it.

heres the link


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 The Shadow League | Kyrie Irving And The death Of The Ghetto Superstar

78 comments for "Kyrie Irving And The Death Of The Ghetto Superstar"

 03-30-2013, 09:44 PM         #2
antoniob321 
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lol what??? what was the reason for this article?

"ghetto superstar"? wow.
 5 years ago '12        #3
BlackBreesus 60 heat pts60
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Man fu*k that I want a real n*gga dominating the NBA.

In all seriousness tho I'd like an Allen Iverson as*hole type superstar to make a comeback. In tired of these uppity bi*ch n*ggas in the league.
 5 years ago '08        #4
portis187 29 heat pts29
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jersey just produces stars in everything
 5 years ago '05        #5
Hold That 103 heat pts103
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The funny thing is they using Kyrie as the model figure of the article. When he out here getting caught beating off on cam, and taking random photos in the club with groupies and apologizing. It doesnt matter that Kyrie speaks with good diction and comes from a solid two parent household. He still out here getting caught doing dumb sh*t just like any other "ghetto" superstar.


Last edited by Hold That; 03-30-2013 at 09:56 PM..
 5 years ago '11        #6
Joseph 13 heat pts13
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the man who wrote this sounds like an undercover racist or an uncle tom. didn't even wanna finish reading this bullsh*t
 5 years ago '07        #7
Ham Rove 3510 heat pts3510
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 Dee504 said:
Man fu*k that I want a real n*gga dominating the NBA.

In all seriousness tho I'd like an Allen Iverson as*hole type superstar to make a comeback. In tired of these uppity bi*ch n*ggas in the league.
 5 years ago '12        #8
dman 4901 38 heat pts38
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Kyrie is Carlton Banks with a handle




good read tho


Last edited by dman 4901; 03-30-2013 at 09:58 PM..
 5 years ago '11        #9
The Rhyming Ape 57 heat pts57 OP
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 StylinOnYou said:
the man who wrote this sounds like an undercover racist or an uncle tom. didn't even wanna finish reading this bullsh*t
Get outta my thread. how you gonna criticize it when you didn't even finish reading it??

Does anybody read anymore???????????


Last edited by The Rhyming Ape; 03-30-2013 at 10:33 PM..
 03-30-2013, 10:26 PM         #10
bigree61 
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This house n*gga scum is obviously a wonderkid Justin jones type of n*gga


What type of "brother" uses the word ghetto

And ghetto superstar


Killa is far from a house n*gga that is ashamed of who he is nor has he ever tried to distance himself

The n*gga he made the Cavs pick is from south Philly


It's all type of real n*ggas from the burbs ( a lot on bx) that's why I always put "corny" n*ggas
from the burbs
 5 years ago '08        #11
iPunish901 12 heat pts12
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didnt read
 03-30-2013, 10:34 PM         #12
Skratch 
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didnt read but im just gonna take a wild guess that kyrie is a suburban n*gga which i already knew because n*gga went to duke and we all know coach K only recruits surbanan a.ss tom, cornball,goody n*ggas, not real n*ggas, this article is probably callin kyrie the leader of such a movement,no disrespect to kyrie cause hes mad talented, hes not a thug hes just a talented black n*gga
 5 years ago '12        #13
BlackBreesus 60 heat pts60
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They should've made harden the foucus of this article.
 03-30-2013, 10:41 PM         #14
Walt Thizzney 
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 5 years ago '08        #15
RokkyRok 50 heat pts50
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 Walt Thizzney said:

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so I'm mad at him for that?



Nah
 5 years ago '08        #16
Dee Grande 1269 heat pts1269
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it's amazing how stupid some of these "respectable" black people are
 5 years ago '04        #17
LordBlanco|M 50 heat pts50
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only uptight white folks and uncle toms call hoods "ghettos"



ghetto superstar wtf

I do hear what he's trying to say but beginning with Ghetto Superstar aint going to do it.
 5 years ago '05        #18
Bea5T 137 heat pts137
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 #TheReturn said:
The funny thing is they using Kyrie as the model figure of the article. When he out here getting caught beating off on cam, and taking random photos in the club with groupies and apologizing. It doesnt matter that Kyrie speaks with good diction and comes from a solid two parent household. He still out here getting caught doing dumb sh*t just like any other "ghetto" superstar.
Two parent household? His mom died when he was four
 5 years ago '05        #19
Bea5T 137 heat pts137
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Basketball has seemingly turned the page on this mentality. If only mainstream hip-hop could do the same.
This guy not know about drake?
 5 years ago '10        #20
prettyklever 121 heat pts121
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This article is long as fu*k. I scrolled down and was like I'm not reading this sh*t
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