Both Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Darius Bazley have referred to themselves as the “Fresh Prince” on the Thunder roster over the last few months. Who truly holds the crown? Olivia Panchal and Brandon Rahbar square off.
Making Darius Bazley’s Case (Panchal)
When making the case for the one, true Fresh Prince of OKC, the evidence in favor of Darius Bazley dates back to 1984 (sixteen years before Bazley was even born). Prior to being drafted by the Thunder in June, Bazley withdrew his commitment to play college basketball at Syracuse and instead opted for a one-year, $1 million internship at New Balance – one of the most iconic brands of the 80s and 90s. In fact, New Balance was so iconic in the late 80s that in the famous photo of Michael Jordan that allegedly inspired the “Jumpman” logo (taken by Jacobus Rentmeester in 1984), Jordan is actually wearing New Balances (not Gilgeous-Alexander’s precious Nikes). Furthermore, New Balance announced a new partnership this year with Jaden Smith – the literal son of the OG Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Bazley’s decision to represent New Balance demonstrates a commitment to the Fresh Prince aesthetic that runs much deeper than a single Instagram post by SGA.
Don’t get me wrong, SGA is *dripping* swagu (that’s swag sauce for the non-millenials reading this). SGA has incredible style, but Bazley’s clothes look like he literally stole them from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air set. It also doesn’t hurt that Bazley looks uncannily similar to a young Will Smith.
Additionally, Bazley’s comparisons to the Fresh Prince pre-date his tenure in OKC. A fan made this Fresh Prince-inspired artwork Bazley re-posted on his personal Instagram on May 20th, a whole month before he was drafted:
There’s also this tweet from *2018* (!!!), which shows that Bazley received a boxed set of all six seasons of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for Christmas and a reply from the official New Balance account that reads “Someone knows you well *laughing/crying emoji* *fire emoji*”:
The evidence that SGA stole the title of “Fresh Prince” from Darius Bazley is undeniable. But even from a basketball standpoint, the title should still belong to Bazley. Have you ever noticed how Bazley looks like a young Russell Westbrook or how his style is reminiscent of Westbrook? I often find myself saying, “I have no idea what you’re wearing, but I know that I love it.” If Russell Westbrook is the Fashion King of OKC, then it only seems fitting that Bazley is the Prince. Also, Bazley was drafted by OKC, setting him up for a similar career trajectory as Westbrook. If you don’t think that Bazley is “talented enough” to be the face of OKC, I will remind you that Westbrook was basically unknown prior to playing at UCLA and an absolute dark horse choice at #4 in the 2008 draft. Even though I’ve only seen Bazley play a few times, he is already one of the most exciting unknowns on the Thunder roster – much like Westbrook was in 2008.
In summary, Darius Bazley is more committed to the Fresh Prince aesthetic and he’s clearly the chosen one according to Thunder prophecy. Bend the knee, Thunder fans. The heir to the Thunder throne has arrived.
Making Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s Case (Rahbar
Now, this is a story all about how
I’m gonna flip Olivia’s argument upside down
And I’d like to take a minute; just sit tight and pretty
I’ll tell you how Shai became the prince of a town called Oklahoma City
In west Toronto born and raised
On the Kentucky campus was where he spent his college days
Maxin’ his rookie talent with Doc as his mentor
And all shootin’ some b-ball inside Staples Center
When a couple of guys, Kawhi and PG, who were up to no good
Started making trouble in Mr. Presti’s neighborhood
Leonard to the Lakers got Winger scared a bitty
So he said, ‘You’re movin’ with your Uncle Gallo to Oklahoma City.’
Shai’s got drip, got swag and it became clear
When his insta said ‘Fresh prince of OKC’ and it had likes everywhere
If anything I could say that this Wildcat was witty
But I thought ‘Nah, Westbrook fans losing their minds in Oklahoma City’
Russ was the Fresh King of the Prairie since 2008
But I yelled to the Brodie ‘Yo Rocket, smell ya later!’
Shai looks at his kingdom, Olivia’s Bazley argument is such a pity
Cause Shai sits on his throne as the Prince of Oklahoma City