There are few different ways to go when creating a memorable bad guy. You can go with the villain that truly believes what he’s doing is right. While he’s using diabolical tactics, he truly feels like he’s doing what’s best for himself and society. Think Magneto, the X-Men villain who’s captivated for 50 years based on his belief that he’s doing what’s best for mutants. He provides moral dilemmas and even makes you question your own values and what you would do in his situation.
Then, there’s the villain that just does f*cked up sh*t because, “why not?”
Think Marlo Stanfield and the scene where he killed a security guard over a Dum Dum. Marlo, though, despite his ruthlessness and lack of any morality, maintained his baddassery until the bitter end. Eventually, you end up rooting for this bad guy because deep down we aspire to be so remorseless and carefree in life. Plus, imagine how cool it would be to just beat people up whenever we want.
But, sometimes, like in pro wrestling, having a villain that’s too cool can be bad for business. If a bad guy is too much of a badass, fans cheer him and he becomes a good guy. Thus defeating the purpose of having the bad guy. You follow?
That’s the conundrum WWE faced with Brock Lesnar when he debuted. They wanted a bad guy, but he was just so cool to watch that it was virtually impossible. So they devised a new fabric to his personality: he’d just cheat for the f*ck of it. Take for example a few weeks ago on Monday Night RAW. Lesnar attacked John Cena from behind after a match and, instead of just destroying him like he can, Lesnar kicked Cena in the nutsack from behind Weng Weng style. Lesnar, during his first WWE run also tossed a one-legged guy down the stairs, so there’s that. But my favorite Brock Lesnar memory is his one hour “Iron Man Match” with Kurt Angle where Lesnar physically dominated but spent the hour cheating to win just because he could.
That’s what made Brock Lesnar so infuriating for fans. He was the most physically dominant man on the roster but he took shortcuts instead of just going to the ring and kicking everyone’s ass. It’s the pitch-perfect way to be an asshole.
Which brings me to the Heat.
Miami should be the most dominant team in the NBA. LeBron James is easily the most physically imposing presence since Shaquille O’Neal and maybe even Wilt Chamberlain. But last night, I saw him lunge into the third row after pretending to get hit in the back. Even if you took away “The Decision,” the parade and the choking, the Heat are still the most infuriating team to watch in the NBA. Not only do they get all of the calls, but they take shortcuts to lobby the refs even more.
LeBron flops enough to put Ric Flair to shame while Wade has become one of the dirtiest players in the league (do remember he broke Rondo’s arm, shoulder-blocked Rip Hamilton and open-field tackled Collison last night). These guys should be better than this. Flopping has long been reserved for role players and guys that lacked the physical tools to keep up. Vlade Divac flopped as his only defense against Shaq. Rodman flopped to get under Malone’s skin. But stars never flopped. Magic didn’t go careening into the stands to get a call. Jordan didn’t pretend he was poked in the eye by a phantom finger (wicked awesome band name by the way).
But watching the most physically imposing team resort to flopping is causing so much outrage because they shouldn’t need to do it. Brock Lesnar doesn’t need to kick people half his size in the nethers and LeBron James doesn’t need to act like a point guard tossed him across the court.
Last night was an example of Miami being absolute villains, taking short cuts when they weren’t necessary. For the NBA, this is great. Like Lesnar did for the WWE, this will probably lead to mega dollar signs thanks to fans wanting to see the villain finally lose. LeBron and D Wade are the biggest bad guys in the league and we’ll continue to cheer when the underdogs take them out.