In planning out my “non-basketball game recap” of my first ever trip to PNC Arena for a basketball game and my first ever UNC vs. NC State basketball game, it’s hard not to get the uncomfortable part out of the way first. There was a very inappropriate exchange between an NC State fan and a UNC fan. The UNC fan happens to be a pretty well-known radio personality in North Carolina, so of course it’s going to get some run. It deserved run anyway.
To set the scene, NC State jumped out to a big early lead. Fans were excited. UNC came back, took a nice of their own, State fans were frustrated. UNC fans were excited. Especially B Daht, a radio host on 102 Jamz, sitting one row behind the UNC bench and four rows in front of the NC State fan in question. B Daht was there to cheer on his team, but was also absolutely there to interact with State fans. Fans trash talk, and that’s fine. That’s how the exchange started between these two. That fairly quickly devolved into the “CHEATERS” taunt from the State fan (again, completely fair), and the “We’re not cheaters. Prove it.” response from the UNC fan (also totally fair). I couldn’t hear what said next, but B Daht’s face absolutely went from friendly to hurt. “I’ve got two kids. Two. With my wife.” he said, pointing at his wedding ring. We later learned from his Instagram that the State fan asked him how many illegitimate kids he had.
Before moving on, I’ll editorialize a bit. This is not an NC State specific issue. Don’t make it that. If you’re so inclined to do so, let’s revisit the “go back to the ghetto” taunt in Chapel Hill while Maryland celebrated on the Dean Dome floor. It cheapens the discussion and makes it a rivalry thing instead of an actual problem. So if you’re throwing out “Redneck U” barbs, realize you’re perpetuating the problem. Do not take your emotions as a fan, frustrated or excited, and channel them towards someone personally. Be respectful of people. In everything.
I’d also like to call out that B Daht handled the situation about as well as anyone could have. His response to the State fan was honest, direct, and delivered in a way that it was very clear that his feelings were hurt. Because of it, the State fan picked up on how he crossed the line, and he sat down and didn’t say much of anything to anyone for the rest of the game. It could have escalated into something even uglier, and it didn’t. Honestly, it was downright impressive how he confronted the guy and ended the conversation before it got any worse. Not to give any credit to the State fan where it’s not deserved, but I will say he did a good job of knowing that he a took an L. I doubt his wrongheaded views were changed in any way, but at least he sat down and shut up.
I will say that this was the only interaction between NC State and UNC fans that I even noticed last night. I came in expecting the worst, but it was an incredibly civil environment, beyond that ugly incident. State fans were 99% enjoyable to be around. Of course, that 1% is enough to ruin the entire experience for someone, but I made sure to soak in everything I saw. A few observations below:
- There were a good number of UNC fans there last night, and I’m guessing that these were fans who don’t typically get to see the Tar Heels play. Why? Because they were in their seats an hour before tipoff, and having been to several games in Chapel Hill, that’s atypical of UNC fans.
- The gameday atmosphere is great outside of the arena and around the concourse. Other than that, everything feels very fake. Big heads are great in general, but become incredibly lame when they’re created and distributed by gameday staff. NC State’s big heads are also the “Facebook” of internet memes. Miley Cyrus? Nic Cage? It’s honestly like going through your Timehop and seeing fire jokes you made two years ago. Suggestion: let students bring in their own signs.
- The scoreboard during player introductions is dope. A+
- The DJ flat out sucks. First, his name is DJ MC. If you’re planning an event and just Google “Raleigh DJs” and see “DJ MC” as a result, you already know that guy is wack. But if a mashup of a remixed Smells Like Teen Spirit and the original version of The Power by Snap is your thing, I highly recommend DJ MC. The best beat of the night was during the t-shirt toss. DURING THE T-SHIRT TOSS. Bruh.
- When State was up 11, they turned the ball over on three straight trips. UNC didn’t score on any of them, but it was still bad. I turned to Josh and said “State is up 11 but the mood in here feels like they’re down 2.” Three minutes later, they were down 2. It’s either an incredible understand of the pulse of the team, or a self-fulfilling prophecy where fans believe the worst, and the worst happens as a result of it. The team never had a chance to feed off of the energy of the crowd in a positive way.
- When State was ahead, “Retire, Roy!” was the go-to taunt. As soon as UNC went up by 5, the “CHEATER” yells started coming out. When it hit double digits, Dean Smith mentions were introduced. With State trailing by 15, fans just started yelling at their own players. The amazing thing is when State would cut into the lead a bit, the scale remained the same. At 10-14 points, “Dean”. Under 10, “Cheaters”. Over 15, “BeeJay you suck.” So consistent.
- There were some bad calls against NC State early. They’re probably on to something with that.