For every March Madness winner who is elated to win and move on, there’s another side that struggles to come to grips with defeat and a season suddenly cut short.
After Sunday’s wild and wonderful finish to the North Carolina-Kentucky matchup, De’Aaron Fox showed how the other half lives with a raw and emotional reaction to Kentucky’s 75-73 loss in the Elite Eight. Still clearly devastated by coming up just short of the Final Four, the freshman star sobbed and clutched teammate Bam Adebayo while being interviewed.
“This isn’t a locker room that looks like guys don’t care,” said Fox, who is 19 years old and likely headed for the NBA. “I love my brothers.”
Yes, it’s painful to watch and it does seem a little invasive. If you want to argue that Kentucky’s reporters shouldn’t have tweeted out the reaction, you have a persuasive case.
At the same time, Fox’s reaction is so humanizing and I think it’s important that fans see this side of March Madness. Fans of the sport often tend to forget we’re talking about young men playing these games and it’s apparent in the over-the-top criticism they attract on social media and message boards.
That goes double for athletes like Fox, who might only stay in school their mandated one year before leaping into the NBA … but not before being smeared as someone who “doesn’t care.”
Fox’s face sure says otherwise.
More March Madness coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• Recently fired Tom Crean attends Indiana women’s basketball game
• Darius Rucker won’t miss South Carolina basketball, even when there’s a concert
• Frank Mason’s Kansas career ends without a Final Four appearance
• Oregon stuns Kansas to reach first Final Four in 78 years
• Gonzaga throttles Xavier to send Mark Few to his first Final Four