Jun 3 • 1HR 8M

The Basketball Feelings Podcast, Episode 39: Kylie Cheung

Author and Jezebel staff writer on entry points to fandom, the NBA and broader culture's intersections, and James Harden.

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Katie Heindl
Talking around basketball with writers, media, and people closest to it.
Episode details

During the offseason, all of the speculation all the time, this over-analysis into these characters and constructing these narratives — it literally is fan fiction in a lot of ways.

Twitter still has some good things. It’s a great place to drop into during the NBA playoffs, no matter where your loyalties lie, but probably especially if your loyalties have been eliminated because you can be exposed to other fanbases going through it. I found Kylie Cheung before the playoffs, but watching her go through Sixers — and specifically James Harden — angst during Philly’s run was the best conduit to getting a handle on what was happening, especially when I was on the other side of the world for the rough end of their run. She’s funny, incisive, compassionate, but pulls no punches. She’s the same in the work she does at Jezebel on gender and power.

We talked, a lot, about James Harden, and Kylie’s die-hard appreciation and, I almost want to say beatific acceptance of him? We talked about the Sixers, growing up recognizing you could pick your own fandoms because of her mom’s love for Tim Duncan and the Spurs while living in The Bay, the Warriors-industrial complex and their era in the NBA soon(ish) being over.

We also talked about how fun it is to root for players who make so many grown men so angry, Harden’s career as Shakespearean tragedy, NBA fan fiction, the release valve of making NBA jokes and watching basketball as a whole, perceived barriers to sports and fandom, and the importance of taking the NBA in a broader cultural context instead of a vacuum.

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