NBA-You’re Better Than That

The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) teamed up with National Basketball Association (NBA) to debut a series of public service advertisements (PSA) featuring Phoenix Suns stars Grant Hill and Jared Dudley designed to address the use of anti-gay language among teens. Excellent idea. I applaud the NBA for forming this alliance. Male sports tend to be a bountiful landfill of anti-gay, homophobic language and slurs.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” is a popular adage that epitomizes the NBA’s recent attempt to discourage the use of  the term, “That’s gay.”

The tagline is “Think before you speak.”

Below is a breakdown of the thirty second PSA.

0:01-0:05–“Welcome to my block party; glad you can come!” Excellent diss. Reminds me of a old And1 sleeveless t-shirt that I wore back in the day while playing “streetball.”

0:05-0:09–Shout out to the female baller. SWOON! I always wanted to have a “Love and Basketball” moment. Sorry I digress. Oh and her diss, “triple double with fries” line is not that tough but shows me that she knows what’s on the value meal menu. Keep ballin’!

0:09-0:12–White baller. The NBA is covering all their bases thus far in terms of race and gender (Oh, the first baller is a racially ambiguous athlete; looks bi-racial, could be Latino, definitely ambiguous). His line that he utters while he shoots the fadeway is completely cheesy and not funny. Blocking lines, really? Is that what’s hot in these dissing streets? He would definitely lose on MTV’s Yo Mama.

0:12-0:16–No ambiguity here. The black male baller quips, “You’re moves are just gay.” Ring the alarm.

0:16-0:20–Haha. The various characters make a buzzer sound to illustrate the anti-gay sentiment made was a big no no!

0:20-0:21–Grant Hill! Top two 90’s basketball greats that were never great because of injury (the other is Anfernee “Penny” Hardway). Grant Hill actually had people in NYC wearing Fila; many put down their Air Forces, Pennys, and Jordans for a summer to rock that patented leather Fila. He explains that using “That’s gay” to describe something as bad or stupid is not cool. Excellent point.

0:22-0:23–Quick montage of the characters echoing Grant’s point

0:24–Grant explains the reason why “That’s gay” is not cool; “It’s not creative.”

Wait, what?

What, wait?

The number one reason why someone should not use the term, “That’s gay” is because it is not creative.

C’mon Grant! C’mon NBA! What about being offensive to gay people.

0:25–Oh wait, random, non-famous person from the lowly Phoenix Suns, Jared Dudley (no slander, but most of the country could not identify Mr. Dudley, especially after he cut his struggle braids from his Boston College (once again, not a recognizable basketball powerhouse) playing days) adds, almost as an afterthought that the phrase is a offensive to gays. Really? The message placed as second place comment, said by second place star.

NBA-where logical decisions happen.

0:26–Grant Hill, the more recognizable of the two stars, returns to let the audience that “[We’re] better than that.”

I notice that the NBA does NOT have their 7x All Star and 1995 Co-Rookie of the Year  say the most important line in the anti-gay campaign. Instead, he speaks out of turn and introduces the meaningless, absurd, nonsensical first, commonly understood as the most important, reason why not to use “That’s gay.” Why is he not even in the shot when the meaningful comment is made? Can he not be the face of ally-ship to the gay community? Is there concern that his brand will be hurt by voicing the message that “That’s gay” is offensive? The honor to impact the youth to make better decisions is, on the other hand, given to the unrecognizable, 22nd pick of the overall weak 2007 NBA Draft Class (except for Kevin Durant).

NBA, you should have thought more about the your message before you ran this nationally televised commercial. You’re better than that.


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