Mr. Misunderstood, I Don’t Understand: How Eric Church’s Final Four Concert Fiasco Got Me Thinking About Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant Eric Church Country Music
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Eric Church cancelled his Saturday night concert in San Antonio so he could go watch the Final Four with his family.

Sounds fun, but I don’t understand.

I’m not from North Carolina, so perhaps I don’t fully understand the gravity of the event on Saturday. I know Duke and North Carolina are epic rivals, the biggest rivalry in college basketball, and one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports. I know Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski is coaching his final season. And I know even Hollywood couldn’t make up a better story than Coach K facing the Tar Heels in the Final Four with a National Championship on the line in possibly the final game he ever coaches. You can’t make this stuff up… it gives you chills.

It also gave me heartburn when I learned that Church chose his one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend that game over his fans.

And it made me think of… Kobe Bryant.

Yes, Kobe Bryant.

I grew up a reluctant Kobe fan (I was more of Shaq guy). Kobe had unbelievable talent. He was magnetic and innovative, and he defined his era of basketball.

In the waning years of his career, his performance grew a little cringy. He drove teammates and would-be co-superstars away. And he bricked a few more of his triple-contested fade-away jumpers than he used to as a younger man. There were days when it was tough to be a fan of Kobe…

On one of those days late in his career, he told his wife, Vanessa, why he drove himself to play injured, when other stars would sit on the bench to nurse nagging injuries.

“What about the fans who saved up to watch me play just once?”

Kobe was a performer and an entertainer, a fact he realized while also driving himself to be a champion. He knew people counted on him to show up, and so he made every sacrifice he could to avoid letting them down. After I heard that story, it wasn’t hard to be a Kobe fan anymore.

I can’t say the same about Eric Church right now. Many are defending him, saying his honesty demonstrates his authenticity. “He’s just like us,” they say. “He really cares about his team.” It’s a once in a lifetime basketball game, after all.

But I wonder how many fans in San Antonio this weekend thought the same thing about that Eric Church concert.

Well Chief, you made your decision, and you’ll deal with the fallout. You’ll probably land on your feet just fine. But next time you’re in San Antonio, you might want to go incognito and try to blend in, lest you run into some of those fans you benched that first weekend in April, 2022. Maybe wear some dark sunglasses around town, even indoors, just in case.

Still, something tells me San Antonio will see right through that.

Eric Church Fans React To Canceled Show

Two of the most bitter rivals in all of college basketball are set to square off this weekend as part of the Final Four in the NCAA tournament, as the Duke Blue Devils will face the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday night to compete for a spot in the national championship game.

And Eric Church, who is an Appalachian State University alumni, but rabid Chapel Hill fan (which is a story for a whole different post), is not going to miss it.

In fact, he flat out canceled his show in San Antonio, Texas, that was part of his Gather Again Tour, saying he will be attending the game with his family instead. And for a guy like Eric, who tours his ass off and has rarely ever missed a show for anything, this is pretty wild.

Here’s Eric’s full explanation…

“This Saturday, my family and I are going to stand together to cheer on the Tar Heels as the team has made it to the Final Four.

As a lifelong Carolina basketball fan, I’ve watched Carolina and Duke battle over the years but to have them matchup in the Final Four for the first time in history of the NCAA Tournament is any sports enthusiast dream.

This is also the most selfish thing I’ve ever asked the Choir to do: to give up your Saturday night plans with us so that I can have this moment with my family and sports community. However, it’s that same type of passion felt by the people who fill the seats at our concerts that makes us want to be part of a crowd at a game of this significance.

Woody Durham always said, ‘Go where you go and do what you do,’ thanks for letting me go here and be with the Tar Heels.'”

Needless to say, fans are not happy…

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