Thanks to the Knicks, Marc Lamont Hill will publicly admit that I am smarter than he is

OPINION: A bet over who will win the NBA playoffs between the Knicks and the Sixers will lead to one of the best days of my life.

Marc Lamont Hill -
Marc Lamont Hill (Photo: Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

I texted Marc Lamont Hill just hours before the Knicks-76ers series began. I said, “Do you want to bet on this series or are you [not a real man]? There are no other options.”  (We’ve been boys for a long time so sometimes we talk greasy to each other.) He said, “What’s the stakes?” I said, “$100 plus you go online and say that I am smarter than you. Not smarter than you at basketball. Just straight up smarter than you.” For some reason, he made the bet. Maybe I really am smarter than he is.

Hill is a diehard Philly sports fan. You may have seen him sitting front row at Sixers games. He’s one of the most famous people who go to Sixers games regularly. You may be saying, but wait, Hill isn’t that famous. You would be right. That was a dig. Also, just like Kendrick, he wears size 7 shoes. Let’s continue.

If you’re a bettor, you love to see people who bet with their hearts. And if you’re into trolling people, nothing is better than teasing a man when his team’s season is circling the drain. It hurts when your teams lose. I like making that pain a little worse.

Hill hates it when his teams lose. That’s why, as soon as his team is eliminated, I pop up on his phone spouting some silliness. Once, at the exact moment after his team had lost, I texted, “So sorry for your loss.” He wrote right back: “You’re a monster.” We’re friends, I promise. 

We haven’t bet on the Knicks and the Sixers before because the Knicks have been trash for most of the last two decades, but we have bet on the Philadelphia Phillies versus the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Eagles versus the New York Giants. He’ll bet on any team that has Philadelphia in its name. I think over the last decade plus I’ve probably taken several meals out of the mouths of his children. #Kanyeshrug.

Of course, we don’t bet and stay quiet. What’s the fun in that? With my white male friends, if we bet on a sporting event, I remain quiet and polite until it’s done. But with Hill, and really with any Black male friend, if we bet on something, what that means is I’ve basically paid for the right to troll you as long as my team is winning. You can’t shut me off because you’re tired of hearing my mouth. That was the whole point of putting money on the line. You can’t ignore a man when you owe him money, and when you’re losing a bet, it’s technically the same as him owing you money. I don’t make the rules.

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So, given that Hill basically owes me money, he’s got to listen to me telling him how bad his beloved team is and how dumb he was for putting money on them. I love that part. It’s not enough to win a bet, it’s necessary to also make space to tell your friend that they were an idiot for making the bet in the first place.  

Consider this essay another example of all that. I’m trolling Hill right now. On I’m telling him that his team is about to lose, and he can’t trust the process. If you think I’m being disrespectful in print, you should see what I say to him in texts. You know it’s a real friend when you can say wild, mean things to each other and it’s all love. That’s me and Hill. The brother called me a monster, and I laughed. 

So anyway, the Knicks are on the verge of finishing off the Sixers, and I’m out here verbally dunking on Hill. In the immortal words of Ice Cube, today is a great day. The thing is, I’m not a Knicks fan. I hate their owner, James Dolan, who is considered by some to be the worst owner in sports. He’s also been called “the dumbest owner in sports.” I can’t support him. There’s only one thing that I will put my Dolan hatred aside for and that’s the chance to troll Dr. Hill. Can you believe it — I’d rather see Dolan be happy than Hill. I hate Dolan, and I love Hill but still. Real friends don’t want to see the other happy when it comes to sports.

Hill is about to owe me $100. Please support his bookstore, Uncle Bobbie’s, so he can have enough money to pay me.

Tonight, after the Knicks win, please head over to Hill’s Instagram page and look out for a video from Hill saying Touré is smarter than Hill. I know him. He’s going to post it on his story so it disappears. That’s fine. I’ll repost it on my grid. It’ll live there forever.


Touré is a host and Creative Director at theGrio. He is the host of Masters of the Game on theGrioTV. He is also the host and creator of the docuseries podcast “Being Black: The ’80s” and the animated show “Star Stories with Toure” which you can find at He is also the host of the podcast “Toure Show” and the podcast docuseries “Who Was Prince?” He is the author of eight books including the Prince biography Nothing Compares 2 U and the ebook The Ivy League Counterfeiter.

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