A friend of mine mentioned that since Roy Hibbert’s press
conference Saturday, he’s now rooting for the Heat. That started me thinking
about what Hibbert was actually aiming for in that presser.
I must admit that I've always been perplexed by "no
homo". That phrase is often used in ways that are totally nonsensical.
There’s an interesting Slate article
from a few years ago that describes some of the curious ways it functions in
rap music. For Hibbert to have used “no homo” seemed like acting out as part of
a broader attempt to be tough. The same is true of his calling the reports
"motherfuckers". They both sounded false coming from him. (It verges
on funny to watch Hibbert consider whether to actually say “motherfucker” or
not. I immediately had flashbacks to middle school.)
Let’s face it, Hibbert is just not a 'street' guy.
Particularly in Indiana in the decade long aftermath of the ‘Malice in the
Palace’, NOT being a street guy is part of why Mt. Hibbert is widely beloved. He’s
one of the faces of the Pacers franchise and in a world wherein Wilt
Chamberlain could believe, “Nobody loves Goliath,” Hibbert’s kindness, charity,
quick smile and obvious love for his family have made him an important
exception to the rule. We Hoosiers love our Goliath.
That’s part of what was so jarring about Saturday night. The
eyes of the nation are rarely on the Hoosier State where the NBA is concerned.
The Pacers have been the most important, positive surprise of the playoffs but
Saturday’s after game was a deeply unpleasant, unanticipated surprise. The
contrasts between the press conference and Hibbert’s immediate postgame
interview were shocking. It seems clear that Hibbert’s 'Happy Birthday Dad' hokum
was authentic. The badass wannabe posing he did on the dais wasn’t. Thank
Of course, it’s always hard to balance who you are and who
you are expected to be, isn’t it? I imagine that’s particularly true on big
stages with bright lights. I’m pleased that David Stern pulled some charity
cash out of Hibbert’s pockets. My hope is that Saturday night will serve as
another clear reminder that the world continues to change and we all need to change
along with it.