And they say Miami Heat fans are apathetic. Pshaw! OK, so they might not go to games, even if it's pretty easy to get good tickets for $30 with a free pizza and Coke. But when some high-falutin' author calls them "cretins," they will email said author to wish that his child suffers a very specific, horrible death.
Last week, the world got its first glimpse of The Whore of Akron, the anti-LeBron tome penned by Esquire staffer, and native Clevelander, Scott Raab. Now Raab has shared with Riptide some of the choicest 305 hate mail he's gotten in return.
Pre-release excerpts of books tend to be the work's most sensational chunks, and this passage showed Raab as a jumbo-sized, cashew-devouring Moses of rage who wished a career-ending injury upon LeBron and took some nasty swipes at Miami Heat ownership (yes!) and fan base (no!).
Such as: "This is where LeBron James wants to play basketball, in front of sun-dried cretins who must be bribed to act as if they care about the game and the team."
Our neighbors returned the venom in spades.
"I got a lot of, 'Hey, die in a fire,'" Raab tells us. "I'm not saying I haven't earned it, and I'm not going to hide behind the cloak of artistic or poetic license. But I think that it's a little strange that people are taking this stuff that seriously."
He forwarded us a few choice pieces of hate mail received from South Floridians.
Here's an email, with the subject line "Death and Giggles", from Steven Blaha (sorry, but this guy earned his full name being used):
Are you the reason your parents got divorced? You wish death on lebron James? Then I wish death on you . I hope your child gets cancer of the eyes and
it's slow and painful. If you ever come to SoFla... We are waiting for you
Now read it again in a Russian accent, it's even better.
Here's a stern lecture from a fellow named Dominic, who even included his phone number "in case you think I am an angry message board freak who hides behind the WWW." (We've left the punctuation and spelling intact.)
Your trying to make money off another mans name? Doesn't that make you a
whore as well? Rip a guy for choking in the playoffs etc...but to make it
personal with someone you don't know is appalling. I am a single father, I
hope you aren't going to teach your son judge and hold a grudge son, talk as
much about him because there wont be any retribution. Man your kid is going
to get his ass beat quite a bit if that's the case. If you sell out for an
Esquire headline your no better yourself. Hes a 26 year old dickhead with
time to change...if he doesn't he will just become a 50 something year old
dickhead just like yourself.
Dominic added, reasonably: "P.S. Your probably a good person, I just found your approach appalling."
Our favorite, with the subject line "How Do I Get to Meet Scott?":
I'm a basketball cretin from Miami. I love going to Heat games so I can display my new Nike's and show up in the 2nd quarter. I was just wondering how I can meet Scott Raab. With his permission, I'd love to punch him in the face some time. K?
Scott's response: "Would you accept a personal apology and a copy of the book instead?"
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Taylor emailed back:
I appreciate the offer, but will politely decline. I'm sure your book is
very informative, but your generalization of Miami Heat fans is only skin
deep. It's unfortunate for us true fans that we're represented by what
people see on TV: an empty 100 level for an entire quarter only to be filled
out (maybe) by morons who have money to blow and think they're going to a
Whoa, almost-civil discourse. For the record, when we spoke with Raab, he didn't come across as an angry Esquire freak who hides behind his jumbo cashews. We'll be publishing more from our chat with him soon.