It’s the wink seen ‘round the world. Or at least by college basketball fans watching Creighton’s game against the University of North Carolina on Sunday.
Early in the first half, Creighton junior guard Grant Gibbs played his game; he got under the skin of Carolina forward John Henson. The Tar Heel forward was agitated enough to react and was slapped with a technical foul.
And then it happened: Gibbs gave a subtle wink in the direction of the Creighton bench as if to say, “I did my job. I got Henson to overreact and receive a technical.”
But that’s all it was, just a wink. Not a death threat, like he and teammate sophomore forward Ethan Wragge received, or even a broken wrist, like UNC guard Kendall Marshall suffered.
So what’s the fuss? Why does Tar Heel Nation hate Mr. Gibbs?
My take: Henson got played on national television and Gibbs got the upper hand in that particular incident.
Think about it, Creighton was winning at that point in the game and UNC supporters needed someone to be upset with. Grant, meet Tar Heel Nation. Tar Heel Nation, meet your new, hated nemesis Grant.
At the end of the game, North Carolina got the upper hand basketball-wise. It won the game with ease and proved it rightfully deserves a top seed.
But at the end of the day, it’s just a game. No one got the upper hand, though a number of Tar Heel fans certainly secured their hold on the metaphorical lower hand. It wasn’t the majority of Carolina fans, and it doesn’t speak volumes of the fan base as a whole, but I mean, death threats? Extremely vulgar language? What is this sport coming to?
I’ve been a basketball fan for nearly 20 years, and I absolutely intend on shooting hoops with my sons and daughters in our driveway when it comes time for me to settle down and raise a family. I love almost everything about the game. But if this is the direction the sport is going – to the point where fans whole-heartedly hope an opposing player is seriously injured or dies – I’ll undoubtedly select another sport to introduce my future children to.