Wednesday, 12 June 2013

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” asks Miami Heat fans for their takes on fake players and schemes (Video)

Miami Heat fans have a pretty poor reputation among NBA observers and partisans. In the eyes of many, they show up late for important games, approach the game itself with cursory interest, and generally just don't know very much about basketball. As with any stereotype, it's easy to question the validity of those statements, but there's no question that it's the perception. Maybe it's just an uncomfortable byproduct of living in a city where the weather is often amazing.

The creative minds at "Jimmy Kimmel Live" decided the popular image of Miami Heat fans was ripe for exploitation. So, as part of their post-game show after Tuesday night's Game 3, they decided to ask various Heat fans about some of the key strategic battles and important players of the series. Except, because it was part of their "Lie Witness News" series, all those issues and figures were fake. Watch the video above, and try to come up with your own thoughts on the intricacies of the rhombus offense and the coaching acumen of Erik Estrada.

It's easy to see this clip as proof that Heat fans don't know what they're talking about. On the other hand, there are several other factors at play in this variation on Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" bit. One is pretty basic: this clip has been edited and we have no idea how many people were interviewed before they settled on this group of apparent dummies. This revelation should not surprise anyone who has ever watched television.

The other issues are much more interesting. For one thing, a great amount of Americans desperately want to appear on television, to the point where they become likely to speak in a way that produces what they assume interviewers and producers want. It's natural to go along with the line of questioning because that's what gets people on TV.

Plus, if you take out the specifics of these responses — the fake names, the silly strategies, etc. — the analysis these fans give isn't really that different from what we usually see on pre-game and post-game analysis shows. In a league where "pocket pass" and "Euro step" have become familiar terms, it's not so crazy to imagine that something could be called a "peek-a-boo zone." Once you get past the very obvious mistakes these fans make, you'll notice that they're analyzing the sport in the same superficial manner as many highly paid TV analysts. If anything, their inability to identify Lando Calrissian as a "Star Wars" character and not a Spurs sharpshooter is indicative of a more glaring problem with how we've learned to talk about sports. The particulars often don't even matter.

So, yes, feel free to poke fun at these fans. Just remember that this segment identifies a difference of degree, not kind.

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