The BasedGod Curse Is Real and Lil B Can’t Control It Anymore
We've all seen the films; a virus meant to help the world or cure a disease has unintended consequences, an experiment gone wrong escapes from the lab, humans come into contact with something they shouldn't and all hell breaks loose. It's the basic plot of I Am Legend, 28 Days Later, The Andromeda Strain and countless others. But those are movies, meant to entertain and thrill for a while until ultimately leaving you to go back to your mundane existence in a world that is safely—for now, at least—free of flesh-eating zombies. But what happens when the reliable plot device escapes from the world of fiction and becomes reality? What happens when things suddenly, unexpectedly spiral out of control?
When Lil B first introduced the BasedGod Curse in May 2011, it was understandably dismissed as another gimmick from the internet's most weirdly prolific rapper. It had started relatively innocently; Kevin Durant, one of the best basketball players in the world, tweeted that January that he couldn't believe the MC was relevant, that his "mind wouldn't let" him listen to B's music. Durant was the reigning NBA scoring champion, leading an Oklahoma City Thunder team in the midst of a run that saw them reach the Western Conference Finals three times and the NBA Finals once within a four year period, and was one of the most recognizable faces in the NBA. Naturally, Lil B caught wind of the tweet and the famously pint-sized rapper challenged Durant to a game of one-on-one in February. That battle never happened, and three months later B took things to a new level, casting the first-ever BasedGod Curse on Durant and promising that the star forward would never win an NBA championship.
In short, the curse worked. The Thunder, despite a young and highly-talented lineup, never won more than one game in their only trip to the Finals in 2012 and haven't been back since, while Durant himself hasn't played a game of competitive basketball since February due to injury. Over the years, Lil B revisited the topic occasionally—we documented its history here—lifting and re-casting the Curse as he felt it was necessary. But the ugly truth was the Curse never truly went away. Lil B seemed to realize this back in October, when Durant initially got hurt:
It should have been obvious then, but at the time it still seemed like a funny running joke with Durant at the butt of it. The Curse was becoming bigger than either of them; NBA players like Jeremy Lamb and Ty Lawson spoke about its legitimacy, Durant had to field real and semi-serious questions about it and even Lil B himself seemed a little in awe of its power. No matter what he said or how many times he tweeted that it was over or it was back, the BasedGod's Curse remained.
But who is the BasedGod? The deity of swag is often invoked as an alias of Lil B himself, although that seems to be an assumption more than a fact. Lil B has described being based as just being true to yourself, but it's come to represent all of B's various idiosyncrasies and quirks. If it's not an alter ego, the BasedGod almost seems like an alternate personality for the Bay Area MC, or possibly a spirit of some kind who speaks exclusively through his prophet (sorry to get all Biblical here). Or maybe it's more of a state of being, more like a bodhisattva, which a person can achieve through dedication and commitment. Either way, Lil B references the BasedGod as a figure outside of himself, often saying he'll speak to the BasedGod or imploring or thanking the BasedGod for various reasons. And remember, this is the BasedGod's Curse, not Lil B's; B is merely the conduit for expression, telling the world the real reason why Durant never got over the hump and won a title. It seems to exist to protect B from slander, disses and copycats, almost like a personal lawyer of sorts. He may think he can control it, but it's becoming clearer and clearer that he can't.
Last month the Curse returned with a vengeance, striking Houston Rockets superstar James Harden after Harden's celebratory hand motions came too close to Lil B's patented Cooking Dance for the rapper's liking. The effects were devastating; after playing out of his mind all playoffs, Harden collapsed in the Rockets' Conference Finals matchup against Lil B's hometown Golden State Warriors, getting blown out the day the Curse took effect and ultimately ending the series by setting an NBA record for most turnovers in a playoff game while Lil B watched from courtside. Worse, Harden tried to ignore the situation, telling TMZ he didn't know who Lil B was only for the rapper to dredge up multiple tweets from years ago proving the total opposite.
Harden should have known better—he played for the Thunder back in 2011 when Durant was first targeted—and his fate set off a wave of gamesmanship throughout the NBA. Before losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Atlanta Hawks begged for the BasedGod to be merciful. Before the Warriors' NBA Finals series with the Cavs, Lil B put Cleveland players LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, JR Smith and Iman Shumpert on notice, only for Shumpert to quickly reach out and head off the Curse with a well-timed tweet. ESPN even trolled LeBron after the Warriors won game one by flashing B's victory tweet on screen during James' post-game interview. Lil B had become a legitimate storyline during the biggest event on the NBA's calendar and he was doling out his own brand of justice as it suited him.
But then something happened that he didn't expect. At the end of the third quarter of the hotly-contested second game of the Finals, Warriors player Marreese Speights was all alone going up for a statement dunk when it clanged off the rim, turning what should have been a momentum-swinging play into a moment of embarrassment. That in and of itself wasn't the problem—these things happen sometimes—but a short time later someone dug up an old tweet from Speights from 2011 that read "Lil b is terrible."
Cue the ominous music. It's obvious what happened next: the Warriors lost that game in particularly painful fashion and they lost last night too, putting them down 2-1 in a series that many had predicted they would dominate. Making things even more awkward is that Lil B hasn't mentioned Speights on his preferred method of communication (his ridiculous and always entertaining Twitter feed), but reiterated that the Cavs would not be cursed due to Shumpert paying homage. Speights hasn't tweeted at all since the day before his missed dunk, whether to reach out to the BasedGod and offer his explanations or to double down on his opinion. And worst of all from Golden State's perspective, the Warriors haven't won a game since this came to light.
By Lil B's own admission, the BasedGod Curse is placed on someone who steals B's swag or does not pay homage to the BasedGod. Speights and, by extension, the Warriors are clearly in violation of the statutes now. If they blow the series and lose the NBA Championship, it would have as much to do with Speights' miscue and Shumpert's quick thinking than LeBron's status as an actual superhero carrying the entire state of Ohio on his back. But more importantly—and terrifyingly—it would hammer home the fact that many already acknowledge: the BasedGod Curse is real. And Lil B no longer has any control over it. The virus is spreading. The experiment has officially escaped the lab. Who knows who the Curse will come for next?
Cavs in 6. —Dan Rys
Ed. Note: The final sentence of this story is not unanimously accepted by the entirety of the XXL staff, some of whom still believe the Warriors will win. Frankly, without a Speights apology to the BasedGod, that seems unlikely. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Game four is Thursday.