40 Nights of Hate: Chris Paul and The Ungrateful Fan

(Editor’s Note: Today’s article continues our 2017 NBA Playoffs basketball coverage called 40 Nights of Hate, as the next two months of our lives will be devoted to the greatest postseason basketball tournament known to mankind. Some of our arguments will be rational, many others will be irrational. To hate is to love, as the basketball gods toy with our lives like James Harden does oafish 7-footers on switched pick-and-rolls. Enjoy our 40 Nights of Hate coverage, or despise it. Either is acceptable.)

Sometimes I feel bad for NBA fans. In a league that showcases arguably the most talented collection of athletes in any major sports league, it's almost like nothing is ever quite good enough for most. All things considered that's probably an observation for society in general, but as a basketball fan it's kind of sad just how much is taken for granted.

Every season this becomes much more obvious during the playoffs. We view history based on winners, and because of that flawed logic, there becomes a cycle of hot takes and overreactions without context. For Chris Paul that unfortunately means his career is better summed up through memes than actual reason.

You see, it's not enough that Paul has been arguably the best point guard the NBA has seen since Magic Johnson. It doesn't matter that his time on the Clippers has been marred more by team injuries than poor play. No, it's always a need to point out the things he wasn't able to do, or the injuries he wasn't able to wish away because the "Point God" nickname must be like an actual thing to people.

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There is no need going into the mostly awful history of the Clippers franchise. Bill Simmons did an excellent job of that at The Ringer while providing needed perspective on CP3's career there. Years ago for the now-defunct Grantland, ESPN's Zach Lowe explored the broken narrative of championships and how we unfairly judge players, and yet the redundant groupthink nonsense still exists.

Yes, sometimes I do feel bad for NBA fans. I hate the selective bias and the constant shifting of goal posts when determining success. The league is far too advanced for fans to be this simple. Social media has provided access to some of the most insightful, witty and passionate fans. However, it's also opened the gates for the cynics, the uninformed and the #WellActually mobs who get off on disaster.

Winning is great, but every so often you get a well-executed basketball clinic like the one Paul put on in Game 3 of the series vs the Jazz, the type of game you hope someone steps up for when a player like Blake Griffin goes down for the season, until you realize that's all CP3 has ever known to do. We've gotten so complacent with his abilities to be an elite player that we ignore all of the brilliant performances he's been providing for well over a decade.

I don't know how many more seasons of elite productivity we'll see out of Chris Paul, now that he's 31. But I'm here to enjoy every remaining moment while it's still possible. As a fan it's not my job to define anyone's legacy, and I'm ok with that. I'm just glad I've been able to enjoy it this long.

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