The Oklahoma City Thunder were just one win away from punching a ticket to the NBA Finals. With a 3-1 series lead over the Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City had three chances to close out the defending champs. Yet the Thunder failed to capitalize on the opportunity, losing three straight and seeing their championship aspirations vanish before their eyes.
Many would point to Golden State making the necessary adjustments, like starting Andre Iguodala in the second half of Game 6 and at the start of Game 7, along with their superstars, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, stepping up as the contributing reasons to its epic turnaround. Yet if you're on social media, you'll notice a minor, yet vocal contingent that believes the Thunder lost because of rapper Lil B TheBasedGod's curse on Kevin Durant.
And they said the curse was not real " The BasedGod" has never lied to me and like he told us.. The Warriors are going to the finals - Lil B— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) May 31, 2016
Respect to everyone who believed in " The BasedGod " he said the Warriors would win the series,down 3-1 " The BasedGod" does not lie - Lil B— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) May 31, 2016
So how did we manage to get here with this supposed curse, and what is Durant's beef with rapper Lil B all about?
Let's break it down.
Who is Lil B?
Born Brandon McCartney, the Bay Area rapper has amassed a cult following on social media, which has helped fuel his music career. Lil B may not have any radio hits yet but he has performed at big music festivals like Coachella and South by Southwest. He has also adopted his message of love and positivity on social media into actual lectures at universities like MIT and NYU. Lil B envisions himself as more than just a rapper. He is the definition of an artist. He also has a strong passion for basketball, both playing and supporting his hometown team, the Golden State Warriors.
Lil B takes hoops very seriously, religiously working on his game and even trying out for Golden State's D-League affiliate in 2012:
Although he didn't make the team, Lil B has remained in the NBA consciousness mainly because of the curse he/TheBasedGod put on Durant in 2011.
What in the world does 'TheBasedGod' mean?
Since Lil B is an artist, perhaps in an artistic type of self-expression, he has an alter-ego called TheBasedGod. Based is how Lil B describes his style of music, his swagger, if you will. TheBasedGod is a higher power that Lil B has access to ... we think. Here is how Urban Dictionary defines TheBasedGod:
Refers to the rapper Lil B. Based includes having many h***, being a mansion, swagging to the maximum, and looking like Jesus. Thereupon, Lil B, the Based God, is the God off all the above events.
That doesn't really clear things up for us, but essentially what you need to know is that TheBasedGod is Lil B, although he says he's not. Confusing, right?
How did Lil B curse Durant?
Since Lil B claims to have access to this higher power known as TheBasedGod, he was able to curse Durant after the Thunder All-Star disparaged his music in 2011.
I tried to listen to Lil B and my mind wouldn't let me do it....can't believe this guy is relevant— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) January 29, 2011
That angered Lil B to the point where he challenged Durant to a game of one-on-one. Durant seemed to entertain the idea for a bit before ultimately ignoring Lil B. This, of course, made Lil B angrier and prompted him to tweet this a few months later:
KEVIN DURANT WILL NEVER WIN THE TITLE AFTER HE SAID "LIL B" IS A WACK RAPPER,— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) May 26, 2011
"THE BASEDGODS CURSE"#THEBASEDGODSCURSE ON DURANT - Lil B
But let's have Lil B explain the whole thing as he recently did for SB Nation's Tim Cato:
Can you go back and remind us how this Kevin Durant curse started, for those who might not know?
So the Kevin Durant curse started, me minding my business on a regular day on the internet, talking to people who support me and love me, love my music and love my art. I'm looking through my mentions and I see Kevin Durant talking about Lil B, saying he couldn't believe that Lil B was saying this, or something along those lines. He was saying my music's trash. I decided to message Kevin Durant, and I said, well, if you feel my music's trash, I challenge you to a game of one-on-one, 21. I'll retire if I lose. And he agreed, he agreed to play me, and he followed me, we talked on (direct messages) for a little bit -- it was five years ago so I don't remember extreme, particular details.
So we're talking, it's the regular season, he's coming to Oakland and I said, "Let's play." I guess he had some staff, some people that were really close to him, they told me to leave Kevin alone, that he needs to focus on his season right now, and let him be. And that's when the Based God told me he had enough and he was cursed.
Did the curse work?
For what it's worth, Kevin Durant came pretty close to holding the Larry O'Brien trophy back in 2012 (a year after the curse), but has never been able to win the NBA title since that tweet. In fact, thanks to Oklahoma City's meltdown, Durant has not been back to the NBA's biggest stage. And Lil B/TheBasedGod just continues to keep hating on Durant, even releasing a diss track about the OKC star that has a NSFW song title.
Is anyone else cursed too?
Lil B also got into it with Rockets star James Harden in last year's playoffs. We've all seen this celebration Harden makes after making a 3-pointer, right?
The rapper claims to have started the "stir the pot" celebration. It's an exact replica of his own cooking dance, which he invented in 2010. Similar to Durant, Harden ignored Lil B's repeated requests to talk to him about the celebration so TheBasedGod put a curse on the Rockets All-Star during the Western Conference finals.
We talked to Lil B about his beef with Harden, and here's what he had to say:
CBSSports.com: Harden has been doing his celebration all season, why bring it up now?
Lil B: I'm just tired of people stealing things from Lil B. With me being an unsigned, independent artist, I'm doing everything by myself. No management, no label or whatever, it is all me. A lot of people from all walks of life like to take things from Lil B, for example there are these people out there making Lil B clothes which I haven't endorsed.
With Harden, I just wanted to see where his head and his heart is at. Is he paying attention? Does he know the originator of the cooking celebration? You know, I just want to make sure that he pays homage to the artist that created the original work.
Again similar to Durant, Harden and the Rockets lost in the Western Conference finals. After a rather inconsistent 2015-2016 season, Harden also was not selected to the All-NBA team after making receiving first team honors the previous year.
Can I get cursed by TheBasedGod?
More from that Q&A we had with him:
CBSSports.com: It seems like the BasedGod has become known for putting curses on people...
Lil B: I don't want the BasedGod to be known for cursing. You have to remember, I never started any of this with Kevin Durant. If you look back, he started everything by tweeting about Lil B's music. I gave him my opinion, he agreed to a game but has since gone back on his word.
With Harden, he is doing something I created back in 2010 -- the Lil B cooking celebration. I just want to know if he is aware of where the celebration came from.
So there you have it. It seems as if Lil B isn't up for setting curses anymore. Let's hope no one else is impacted by TheBasedGod.
It's hard to say if TheBasedGod curse is a real thing, but those are two players that seem to have their careers altered after somewhat hostile interactions with Lil B. So if you believe in curses and are superstitious, perhaps TheBasedGod curse is a real thing. If you don't, then perhaps what happened to Durant and Harden was simply coincidental.
Either way though, Lil B and the BasedGod believes the Warriors will win the Finals, which is just like what our experts predict will happen. So is it safe to say that we are saved from TheBasedGod curse?