Let’s flash back to the first year of Battle At The Berrics and the original fighting words between Malto and Donovan. For all of you who think that this BATBeef seems a little random: these two have a complicated history going back (at least) to BATB 1. Their conflict transcends mere smack talking, representing skateboarders’ universal credo to never back down, never quit. Just look at Berra’s face as he mediates this epic war of words on a first-gen iPhone—it’s the look of a man handling nitroglycerine on a high wire after ten cups of coffee (he’s nervous).
At the end of Donovan and Malto’s BATB 1 match, Donovan goes so far as to defuse the tension with a sort of misdirection—”all that beef, it’s just a joke”—but the fire in his eyes is unmistakeable: Malto will remain Donovan’s nemesis until the end of time. Ali had Frazier. Fred Sanford had Aunt Esther. Donovan has Malto.
See Malto and Donovan’s original showdown from 2008 here.