“Im not a role model… Just because I can dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.” – Sir. Charles Barkley
I love the NBA. Football and basketball are 1a and 1b for me. It is difficult to choose one over the other. They represent such different aspects of sport. Football is tactical where basketball is technical, football is brutal where basketball is flashy, football is team where basketball is players. If forced to choose I think I would have to judge any sport by its best and I believe that basketball has a better playoff system. Football is often predictable and anti-clamatic. Maybe two or three games in the entire playoffs qualify as must see TV. Evidenced by last years Superbowl, with the exception of Victor Cruz’s catch in the fourth quarter with the game on the line the rest was pretty bland. Basketball is the opposite. Every series has one or two games that are captivating. Every quarter has one or two plays that boggle the mind. The Heat vs. Thunder was a good championship series. You got to see two top ten players on each team in James and Wade, Durant and Westbrook, good story lines, good action. It wasn’t great because the last two games the Heat more or less had a strangle hold on the series with a James Harden no show (aka the reason he is on the Rockets now). But even so it was still a great showcase. And right now there is no better time to be a NBA fan.
Say what you will about David Stern the man brought the sport out the of dark ages and has made it into the second or third most globalized sport. I will always laugh watching draft day when the little hebrew troll walks up to the podium and the crowd boos him. Gotta love that. He handles it with class though, like a high school principal, waits for silence, smiles his crooked old billionaire smile and goes on with his speech. What does he care that a bunch of Wizards and Knicks fans are booing him. To quote LeBron “They’ll wake up tomorrow with the same lives and problems.” And he will still be a filthy rich bastard. And he is bowing out at the right time, like Deon Sanders, going out on top.
The plethora of great players is staggering. From All-time greats like Pierce, Allen, Duncan, Kobe to up and comers like Westbrook, Durant, and Love. It is awesome that it’s hard to find a game considered unwatchable through the season. Even bad teams are at least entertaining. Wiz vs Toronto is kind of like watching two really talented high school teams. If you have nothing to do flicking on an NBA game, cranking up pandora, and drinking some beers is at the very least good conversation fodder.
My favorite player to watch has to be Kobe. The Black Mamba, the Rapist without a Case-ist, a poor man’s MJ. Durant will have his time in the sun, LeBron is a freak of nature. But Kobe is a killer. His expression when he is on the floor tells you everything. He isn’t having fun, he doesn’t care about the score, he cannot see seven foot tall Pau Gasol standing right in front of him. HE. IS. A. KILLER. All he knows is the ball and the hoop and everything else is secondary perhaps tertiary behind Kobe Bryant himself. In his mind, even at his advance age he is still the most lethal guy on the court and I believe him. If you look at his numbers this year it would be hard to argue. He can hit a shot from anywhere, any time. Dunk? Yea sure. Floater over a big? No problem. Turn around fade away from fifteen feet? In his sleep. Go ahead three ball? Are you seriously still asking me questions? Even after all he has accomplished he still wants more. He has championships, MVP’s, scoring titles, first ballet hall of fame inductee, dude isn’t satisfied. That is a guy I want on my team. When he is bad he is bad, but when he is on he is the best scorer in the NBA. He’s second on the list for most points in one game with 81, only Wilt has more. He is the only player other than Wilt, David Robinson, and Elgin Baylor to score more than seventy. Even Jordan topped out at 69, probably on purpose, because of a bet.
With another hockey lock out, a controversy ridden NFL, and embarrassing baseball ratings, the NBA is in the best shape of the American sports family. And I believe it will stay there for a long while being that it is flush with stars in their prime. You can thank the Magic and Bird, Jordan, and David Stern for building up the market place. LeBron and Durant are going to give us at least two or three more finals and eventually one of them will be an epic seven game classic, guaranteed. So enjoy NBA fans. Sorry hockey fans. And I am sure baseball fans aren’t reading this because they don’t know how the internet works.