By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) I heard a guy text the Mully and Hanley Show Tuesday morning which read (I’m paraphrasing sort of): “If al-Qaeda had a basketball team, I’d root for them to beat the Miami Heat.”
Hyperbole, I would like to assume, but that’s not always a safe bet with anonymous radio show texters.
Root for whichever team you want in this NBA Finals. I am not here to coax you toward either side because I am not on either side. What you should not do, though, is let your blind rage toward the Heat prevent you from appreciating what might be one of the best basketball series of recent vintage.
You have the best offensive player in the Western Conference in Kevin Durant and the best offensive player in the Eastern Conference, whether you want to admit that or not, in Lebron James. Then there are two fantastic, always potentially dangerous starting guards in Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade, if he decides to stop whining every… single… play and actually be the superstar he is. And then there are James Harden and Chris Bosh, two really damn good players often overshadowed by their more popular teammates.
Both Scott Brooks and Eric Spoelstra are fairly weak head coaches, but what that may provide for is the stars on both teams taking over and playing on their own terms, eliminating a bungling game of checkers we saw both coaches try to play—and lose—versus the chess of the Spurs and Celtics until they were bailed out by their players saying, “Screw this, dork in the suit and tie. I’m going to clean this mess up.”
I know that hating the Heat feels good temporarily, that rooting for supremely talented men to fail has a drug-like effect that gets you high for a little while until you crash and have to realize that even still, your favorite team didn’t accomplish what these evil guys did. More power to you if that’s your bang.
You’re more than allowed to buy into the narrative that this is good versus evil. There are several writers across the country that know people will slurp that up that slurry and scream for more. Personally, I don’t know if I can consider the fashion atrocities that are the Oklahoma City Thunder what embodies the “good” side, but that’s just me. Not that the Heat are any better in that department either.
But promise me you’ll also try to appreciate what you’re about to experience as a viewer starting Tuesday night with Game 1. This is best against best. This is the way a pro sport is supposed to be.
If you’re hoping for a movie script that’s already been written, you’ll be missing out on good basketball. Rooting for Lebron to choke? Game 6 against the Celtics may have shown those days may be behind him, or at the very least, we know now that Lebron figured out how to flip that “I’m going to kill you and your family and burn your whole block down” switch.
Pulling for Durant to open his backpack and release magic sparkles of goodness and joy all over the nasty, black uniforms? Well, he hasn’t had to deal with a force like Lebron for potentially seven games with players of the caliber of Wade and Bosh as backup.
If the series, which begins Tuesday night, goes any less than six games it will break this hoops fan heart. Neither team should completely dominate the other and get a sweep or just lose one game. It needs to go the distance or at least come very close. Four or five games would be a let down for sure. This series demands as much play as possible. With the home court advantage, I have Thunder in seven.
So be a Thunder fan. Or be a Heat fan. But be a basketball fan. Let’s have some fun.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget, but please don’t follow him in real life. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.