“Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” – Booker T.
Though the above quote can be loosely associated with many great orators ranging from Gandhi to rapper Ice T, it’s not surprising the statement found its way into wrestling. Then-WCW World champion Booker T. felt the pressure of not only being the top man in the company, but also the mounting forces of authority figure Vince Russo coming after him on a consistent basis. Being a man who had to claw and fight his way to the top, Booker T. saw Russo’s actions as a punishment on the man, not the system.
In truth, the quote truthfully represents everything Booker T. is, was and forever will be – a man who fought the corrupted system that was WCW’s hierarchy and became a success while doing so. Russo’s attempt to take away what Booker T. worked so earnestly for was proof that Vince Russo was just another hater hating on the man instead of looking at the system that tried to hinder Booker from becoming a success.
Years later, Booker T. would face a man who actually referred to himself as “The Game,” Triple H. And like WCW and Russo before him, Triple H looked down on the man trying to become a success rather than the system (Triple H himself) that tried to hold Booker down. Though “The Game” eventually won the battle, Booker T. would win the war and cement himself as a Hall of Famer.
Don’t hate on people trying to succeed where you believe they can’t. They’re just players in a larger, sometimes unfair game that takes diligence and determination to overcome.