The entire Arizona State Sun Devils roster is the first to tell you that it won’t make excuses about poor play or a loss, but now it might have one should it lose to the California Golden Bears.
That excuse? Divine intervention.
On Tuesday, September 20, at 6:12 p.m. (PT), Brandon McCartney, more commonly known as the rapper “Lil B”, tweeted this:
Go cal Berkeley football! The team and cal Berkeley sports has " The BasedGods" blessing!!! Congrats !! Go Berkeley ca! I love u! - Lil B— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) September 21, 2016
You may be asking who Lil B is and why this tweet matters. It would be easy to dismiss this as a silly Internet fad, and even more obvious to dismiss it on the ground that the rapper won’t have any direct impact on the game Saturday night.
But sports fans love results and numbers, and when you look at the impact Lil B has had on the sports world, it’s hard to deny that the #BasedGod might have a hand in Tempe on Saturday night.
Lil B vs. Kevin Durant
The mainstream knowledge of the “BasedGod Curse” was first implemented upon NBA MVP Kevin Durant in 2011. After Durant deemed Lil B “irrelevant” on Twitter, the rapper “cursed” Durant, saying the NBA All-Star would never win an NBA title.
A month later, Durant and the Thunder fell to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
The following season, even though Lil B lifted the curse, Russell Westbrook suffered a season-ending injury in the first round of the playoffs. Although the Thunder breezed past the Houston Rockets, the first-seeded Thunder were eliminated in the second round in five games.
Things were peaceful between the two until Lil B came back stronger than ever in February 2014, and the Thunder were eliminated in the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs.
With Durant’s team holding a 3-1 lead on the greatest NBA regular season team ever in the most recent Western Conference Finals, perhaps the strongest sign of the curse came about. In fact, Lil B tweeted his support of Golden State before the series ever started.
I'm going to ask " The BasedGod " about the Warriors and send blessings to the whole team again and again @warriors @OracleArena - Lil B— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) May 14, 2016
After the Thunder took Game 1 and Game 3 for a 2-1 lead, Lil B was once again compelled to remind everyone of his powers.
Just got word from " The BasedGod " that the thunder will not be beating the Warriors in the playoffs series,Durant is still cursed - Lil B— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) May 16, 2016
The Warriors stormed back to eliminate Durant and the Thunder in Game 7. The Based God seemed to have something going.
Lil B vs. James Harden
Noted Arizona State basketball alum James Harden got himself in trouble with the Based God during the 2015 Western Conference Finals. Harden was in the midst of a career-best season in which he finished second to Steph Curry in MVP voting. Harden regularly took to the “cooking” dance as a celebration.
Lil B took exception to this and the fact that Harden was “stealing” his dance move.
Go warriors @warriors and let James harden no he doing the Lil B cooking dance if he doing that flickin wrist or whipping he mark - Lil B— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) May 21, 2015
People that steal from Lil B will pay now or later all you have to do is pay respect to the original and the leader blind ones will - Lil B— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) May 22, 2015
It’s hard to debate the facts following Lil B’s tweets. As the Warriors defeated the Rockets in five games, James Harden totaled a -5 net rating, according to basketball-reference.com, including a record-breaking 13-turnover performance in Game 7.
You might be thinking, “Well, that’s just a couple NBA players. That’s not enough of a sample size to prove Lil B means anything.”
There’s more. Let’s move along to the more positive side of the Based God.
In almost every religion, praying to whatever higher entity is essential. It is communication with that higher entity, and when it comes to the Based God, that principle rings true.
After the Toronto Blue Jays lost the first two games of the 2015 ALDS at home to the Texas Rangers, Toronto Councillor Norm Kelly (or really, whomever runs his Twitter account) asked for Lil B’s blessing ahead of what could’ve been the end of Toronto’s season.
@norm @BlueJays hey norm your request is granted and remember I love you and Canada! That's number one! - Lil B— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) October 11, 2015
The Blue Jays would go on to win a tidy 5-1 result in Game 3.
In Game 4, Toronto dominated once again, defeating the Rangers to the tune of a 8-4 score, evening the series at two apiece and forcing a decisive fifth game in Toronto.
Game 5 was knotted at 2-2 heading into the seventh inning. At the top of the frame, the Rangers scored a run to take a 3-2 lead. In the bottom of the same inning, the Blue Jays tied the game back up. Three consecutive Ranger-errors and a double-play later, Jose Bautista stepped up to the plate.
We all know what happened.
For all you non-believers, that stands for “Thank you, Based God.”
At this point, you might still have doubts. All three instances have dealt with professional sports. Surely, Lil B doesn’t care about amateurs. His divine influence couldn’t touch the NCAA, right?
Wrong. I now bring Texas football to the stand.
The Longhorns were in the midst of a horrendous three-week stretch. Second-year coach Charlie Strong’s side seemed to be doing everything wrong. Against California, a comeback attempt fell one point short due to a missed extra point. A special team error led to a loss against Oklahoma State a week later. Texas followed that with a 48-point loss to the TCU Horned Frogs.
Finally, at 1-3 and what seemed like rock bottom, Texas defensive end Bryce Cottrell did what any good believer would do: He repented.
And the Based God answered.
@brycecottrell27 love you and Longhorns - Lil B— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) October 5, 2015
The Longhorns squared off against then-No. 10 Oklahoma and the red-hot Baker Mayfield. A wonderful defensive performance was capped by Texas keeping the ball for the last 3:33 of game-time to halt any comeback effort from the Oklahoma.
Texas ended up beating the rival-Sooners 24-17 and gave Strong the water-cooler treatment.
That result seemed to have little-to-no logical explanation.
Only the Based God.
That brings us back to Tempe and Arizona State’s monumental task against the Golden Bears.
ASU “doesn’t care” about blessing
Up until this point, Lil B’s influence has been limited to only when the Based God feels like wrong has been done to him or when someone has asked. The cause-and-effect has been pretty clear, but nobody seemed to ask the rapper about the Golden Bears. His tweet was not a reply to any specific action nor a tweet.
However, he does have deep ties to the community.
Lil B grew up in Berkeley. He went to high school in Berkeley. Unconfirmed rumors of him having a Women’s Studies degree from UC Berkeley have circulated the internet. It makes all the sense in the world.
(I actually reached out to Lil B over Twitter to find out why he chose to bless the football team this week, but did not hear back.)
Given the athletic impact of the Based God, I asked a handful of ASU players if they had seen the tweet and if they had a reaction. Not a single player said they had seen the tweet, but redshirt sophomore Armand Perry did give a reaction:
“I don’t care about Lil B,” Perry said. “I care about ASU, and we have a gameplan for a big game this week, so we’re going to come out, fight hard, and get this win.”
So far, the Based God is undefeated. He seems to be the truth and light, the Alpha and the Omega, the all-powerful being in the athletics world. All should fear him, all should praise him. All should “Tebow” to him.
But if we are acknowledging higher powers, it only seems fitting that the Based God’s strongest challenger happens to be called the (Sun) Devils.