The True History of the “Based God Curse”


Lil B

You may have heard the good news– Kevin Durant has signed with the Warriors, and Lil B has lifted the curse! But many don’t know the true backstory behind the Based God curse. It is a tale that has been lost and found, twisted and turned, and never quite fully understood. Until now. To start, let’s establish the background.

Kevin Durant is one of the best small forwards in the NBA. He has quite a few accolades under his belt: Rookie of the Year, 2014 MVP, seven-time All-Star, both Olympic and FIBA World Championship gold, four-time NBA scoring leader, and movie star. Nonetheless, he still cannot call himself an NBA Champion. Why is that, you ask?

Simple. Lil B cursed him.

Yes, the Berkeley-based Based God has had his share of beef with Kevin Durant, and in the process, used his Based Magic to elevate countless teams above the Thunder and stop Durant in back-to-back-to-back playoff runs.

This year, when an unlikely Thunder run to the Finals started to seem all but inevitable, Lil B reminded us of his curse and stopped Oklahoma City in their tracks by using that Based Magic to cause three straight Warriors wins. (Then some stuff happened in the Finals that we here at BASTA are still a bit sore about.)

But what caused Lil B to curse Kevin Durant in the first place? To find out, let’s go back to the beginning.

2010-11: Lil B’s Rise in the Rap Game

While the Based God had been releasing music since 2006, it wasn’t until 2010 that he started to come into his own as a rapper. After being signed by Soulja Boy and named an XXL Freshman, he began to eke out a media presence– although not everyone found Lil B’s music particularly good, many became interested in the up-and-coming rapper that simultaneously likened himself to Miley Cyrus and Mel Gibson, while at the same time claiming he had “swag like wonton soup.” He was also featured in a hilarious New Yorker article, although not until 2012.

2011: The Feud Begins

Enter Kevin Durant. 2010 and 2011 had also been breakthrough years for the young star, who earned his first All-Star nod and became the NBA’s youngest scoring champion during the 09-10 season before doing the same the next year. Soon, Durant and his Thunder were considered by many as NBA title contenders.

But then KD had to go and post this:

Now, interestingly enough, this is where many others get the story wrong. Even publications as esteemed as Grantland (rest in peace) thought that the curse immediately followed Durant’s diss. But no, your investigative journalism team at BASTA has sniffed out the truth. What really came next was a challenge from Lil B– a challenge to a game of one-on-one:

To which Durant responded:

Despite a few more tweets being traded, the game never took place. (Good thing for KD, too– after all, Lil B did at one point try out for the D-League, and has personally referred to himself as “one of the best point guards ever to live.”) Nonetheless, it wasn’t until the 2011 NBA playoffs, when Durant and the Thunder were headed to the conference finals, when Lil B officially cursed KD:

The curse was posted on the evening of May 25, 2011, which means it came right after Oklahoma City was eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals. So it’s fair to say that the Thunder’s loss was what prompted the Based God curse, and not the other way around. Nonetheless, the curse had begun, and would haunt Durant in the 2012 playoffs.

2012: The Curse Claims its First Victim

Oklahoma City was excellent in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. Led by Durant, they went 47-19, finishing second in the Western Conference. They proceeded to dismantle the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs, and then made their way to the Finals. They took Game 1 from Miami, but the Curse kicked in and the Thunder lost the next four as LeBron and the powerhouse Heat took their first of back-to-back titles.

And where was Lil B?

He was busy dropping feline bars with his adopted tabby cat, Keke. In fact, he didn’t make one mention of the Thunder during that crucial Finals series.

It wasn’t until after the Thunder lost that Lil B spoke of the curse. Realizing that his Based Magic had worked, he spared KD from future disappointments:

Why did Lil B forgive Durant? It seems to be connected to the mountains of tweets he was busy posting during the NBA Finals:

Lil B Tweets

And so the Based God, in his infinite optimism, pardoned Durant. After all, “you can’t win by hating.”

2013: The Curse Claims its Second Victim

Yes, I know, the curse was lifted by the time the Thunder lost in the semis the next year. But you can’t help thinking that maybe, just maybe, Lil B had his fingers crossed when he spared KD.

2014: Return of the Curse

Lil B maintained radio silence on the Curse for almost two years– but it had to come back. In March of 2014, just as the Thunder were pushing towards the playoffs once more, Lil B dropped his infamous diss track “F*ck KD” and reinstated the feud.

Soon, media outlets across the Internet were reporting that the curse had returned. VICE even claimed that the diss track “means the Thunder aren’t winning the championship.” However, Lil B had not officially stated that the curse was back on. Instead, the lyrics to “F*ck KD” seemed to be mainly a reaction to the fact that Kevin Durant never took him up on his one-on-one challenge. In any case, the Thunder lost in the conference finals, and it wasn’t for another six months that Lil B began to entertain the notion of the curse’s return:

And soon after, Lil B took Durant’s foot fracture as evidence that the curse had returned:

Reading between the lines here, it seems that even Lil B didn’t know that the curse was still on. Perhaps that explains the Thunder’s playoff losses the years before.

2015: A Way Out, and the Harden Curse

In early 2015, TMZ posted an interview with Lil B, in which he explained that the only way out of the Curse was for Durant to play him in the one-on-one challenge the Based God posed way back in 2011. Simple– as Lil B put it, “all he has to do is meet on the basketball court for a friendly game of 21. I’m passionate about my game, my defense, if he doesn’t beat me 21-0 he should be embarrassed… He knows the curse is affecting him. Everyone knows. He needs to see me on the court.”

To date, Durant has still not accepted that offer, meaning the curse was to continue. However, while still maintaining his curse on KD, Lil B established a second curse– this time on James Harden. The reason? Harden stole Lil B’s “cooking” dance as his signature celebration, not realizing that the Based God had been using it since 2010:

Lil B’s curse on Harden came in the midst of Harden’s Rockets falling 3-0 in the conference finals to the Based God’s hometown Warriors. The Rockets would end up losing that series 4-1, and Lil B considered ending the curse, noting that Harden, who led the league in turnovers that season, had suffered enough:

However, when rapper Kreayshawn alerted Lil B to the fact that Harden was claiming to have listened to the Based God in an attempt to save face, Lil B doubled down on the curse:

And, although he considered taking it back– once for Harden’s sake, once for a fan’s–, the curse continues to this day. Lil B continues to taunt Harden, claiming that his turnover records are due to Based Magic:

2016: The Curse Claims its Final Victim, and is Lifted

The Based God Curse once again came into the spotlight in the 2016 NBA Finals. With Lil B’s Warriors facing off against Durant’s Thunder in the Western Conference Finals, all eyes were on the Based God. And as the Thunder, led by 33 points from Durant, took a 2-1 lead in the series, Lil B relished in the competitive atmosphere.

However, the Warriors, now down 3-1, turned the tables on the Thunder and won three straight to move on to the Finals. Thanks, of course, to a celebratory Lil B.

Then, in the midst of the offseason, a third curse was placed. Back in March, D’Angelo Russell leaked a video of teammate Nick Young admitting to cheating on his fiancée, Iggy Azalea. (Somehow this was not the worst thing that happened to the Lakers all year.) And in a recent segment with SportsNation, Lil B has decided that this means Russell is worthy of the curse. Of course, in customary Based God fashion, Russell just has to play a game of one-on-one to lift it:

But overshadowing all of this was the fact that Kevin Durant was, until today, an unrestricted free agent. That means any team could try to court him, and Durant was free to play where he wanted. Lil B chimed in, offering to sweeten the deal by lifting the curse if Durant went to the Knicks:

But today, Durant decided to sign with the Warriors. And because the Based God’s Warriors love overshadows his KD hate, Lil B announced that the curse has been officially lifted.

So what now? Well, there are still two active curses. And Lil B has alluded to Russell Westbrook being lumped in with the KD curse, so we’ll see if it transfers. But for now, the greatest NBA-rap feud of this decade is finally over.

In the meantime, Lil B still has bigger and better things on his mind:

Sean Vernon is a BASTA staff writer.