Tuesday, May 31, 2011


The NBA Finals start tonight. This is the first year that I've managed to watch most of the games in the playoffs (which have, for the most part, been fantastic) since I got back into basketball in a big way four or five years ago. And it kind of pains me to say it, because this is the first year the Jazz haven't been in the playoffs in a while, too.

But even without a clear team to root for this year, I've loved all the games. I skipped out on a wedding party to watch Memphis and San Antonio's overtime game, woke up from a nap just in time to see Brandon Roy come back from the dead and kill the Mavericks in the fourth quarter, watched as Scott Brooks let his young team pretty much do whatever they wanted only to watch them get repeatedly knocked down by a veteran group that knows better.

I changed my tune on the Celtics while watching the Basketball Jesus drain momentum-killing threes coming off a high screen, then watched as their season ended when KG suddenly showed his age and the miles he's put on his body since coming in to the NBA at age 18 caught up with him. I watched as Amare struggled with watching Carmelo become the new top dog in NYC, and watched the Magic fall apart in the first round. I reveled in watching the Lakers get swept by a team that everyone predicted would be gone in the first round. I watched Derrick Rose play magnificently at first only to get shut down when it mattered most.

It's been an awesome eight weeks of basketball and I'm sad to see it go—especially since it looks like the NBA is on the same path as the NFL and there won't be anymore basketball for a long, long time.

But the Finals start tonight with the Dallas Mavericks facing the Miami Heat.

And no matter who wins this series, we all lose.

We all lose for one, big, six foot eight, 250 pound reason—LeBron James.

We all remember what he did last summer when he took his talents to South Beach, putting a target on his back and essentially making him the new villain of the NBA. I wrote a little bit about it then, but haven't much cared to since. Because everywhere else you go, that's what was dominating the news, whether it was Yahoo!, ESPN, Fox Sports or one of the millions of basketball blogs.

But here we are on May 31, with game one tonight in Miami and there are two ways this plays out. The first is that the Heat lose. If this happens, Dirk and Kidd get their rings and Nowitzki comes off "the list" he's on with Barkley, Malone and Marino as the greatest players to never win a championship. But that all goes away after about three days and we spend the entire summer listening to the talking heads on TV and radio and reading the sure to be dozens of columns all saying the same thing—even with Dwayne Wade, LeBron still couldn't get it done. How he'll never live up to his title of 'King James.' They'll tear him apart all summer long and well in to next season, too. It'll be the top story for months.

The second, is that the Heat win. If this happens, those same people will spend the next six months tearing LeBron James apart, saying that he couldn't do it alone and how he'll never rightfully earn the nickname 'King James.'

Either way, get ready for another summer of LeBron.

And I know last year, when I sort of predicted a Laker-Heat final, I said I'd root for Los Angeles, just to watch the Heat lose, but I changed my mind. There's one person in the NBA I've hated for well over a decade, and I'll be pulling for Miami for one small reason.

It'll be way more fun to see Mark Cuban lose than LeBron.

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