It’s been mentioned numerous times here that this writer is not a huge fan of the NBA. I’ll drop in on an occasional regular season game, but hardly ever for more than a quarter. It’s when the playoffs begin that I’ll carve out some extra time to watch more of a particular game. Last night was game four of the NBA finals between Oklahoma City and Miami and I was watching most of it. Well, at least I am planning to as this is being written.
I didn’t follow the regular season at all. I mean even when I would drop in on a game; I had little or no idea what the game would mean to either team in the standings. When the playoff pairings were announced, all I knew about the east was that I wanted Miami to lose. I figured that Boston had the best chance to beat the Heat, so, by default; I wanted the Celtics to win the east.
In the west, my longtime team of choice has been the Lakers, though the only real interest I’ve had in them lately is, because former WVU player Devin Ebanks is on the roster. I didn’t think the Lakers had a realistic shot to advance far in the playoffs, so I was open minded about watching the west division play out. It was while watching the Lakers get taken out by Oklahoma City in five games that I decided I would like the Thunder to win the NBA Championship. OKC, is a young aggressive team led by Kevin Durant that I enjoyed watching.
The Thunder eliminated favored San Antonio in the conference finals to reach the championship against the Heat who eliminated Boston. Miami is a very talented team led by LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Those three players are the players that were united two years ago to bring Miami a championship. So far that hasn’t happened, but the Heat was up 2-1 going into last night’s game in Miami. If the Thunder lost that game the series is essentially over, except for the remote chance of a Thunder comeback that would be of epic proportions.
Outside of Miami, it is James that draws the ire from fans around the country. He is viewed as a villain by the masses. That is because of the way he left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers to go to Miami. He is often criticized for not performing well in big games. It would be foolish to not include James as one of the best (top five?) players in the world, but many take pleasure in watching his team lose.
I recognize James for the talent he is, but I am not a fan of his in any sense of the word. I actually rooted for him and the Cavaliers, but James lost me as a supporter the night he went on ESPN to tell the world he was going to sign with Miami as a free agent.
I still value allegiance to the home team and all that good stuff, but who could really blame James for leaving Cleveland to go to South Beach for an almost certain NBA Championship ring? Sure, Cleveland fans would be unhappy, probably for a long time, but the masses would understand. It was a decision most of us would make.
Instead of just announcing he was going to sign with Miami, James agreed to go on ESPN to do a one-hour show where he would announce his intentions. He kept his loyal fans from Cleveland in suspense for about 20 minutes that night before announcing that he was leaving the Cavaliers. ESPN obviously thought the pony show was a good idea, it’s just too bad James, or one of his advisors didn’t figure it out.