Jun 20, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers (15), Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis celebrate int he locker room following game seven in the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Miami defeated San Antonio 95-88 to win the NBA Championship. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
There’s nobody my age (for reference I’m 30) who has ever seen a better NBA basketball series than was just witnessed between San Antonio and Miami. The series had everything. Games 1, 6 and 7 all went well into the final minute, or beyond. The other three games were close games that saw one team or other go on their patented white-hot runs to blow it open against the best of the best on the other side. I could go on, but you know all that… Let’s rewind to my story.
Ever since the Sonics were stolen away from the Emerald City (yes I know Seattle allowed it to be stolen to some degree), I’ve bounced from team to team trying to find a home for my NBA heart. I mean I still love to watch the game and there’s something special about the most well rounded athletes in the world fighting it out above the rim in a 7 game series. We all just saw that fact in action.
And so I had to find a team. First it was Portland, after all they were the next closest team. But thanks to being the biggest Sonics rival in the past and personnel moves like the Greg Oden and Brandon Roy acquisitions, not ever having liked the teams they played on in college, that attempt fell through without much to show for it. The Cavs were next up, with young star Lebron James playing for his hometown and a team of spirited players around him. Hey, it was an intriguing story!
Then it was on to the LA Lakers when Lebron took off. My brother and father had always been Lake-Show fans, my dad being from Compton and my brother for whatever reason. As long as Shaq wasn’t there I was good and it culminated sweetly for me with a win over the Boston Celtics (one of my three most hated teams) in the Finals. Over the last couple years though, LA has gone the high money spending route, which I simply can’t stand for some reason and it dropped me off their bandwagon. Now it’s the Warriors, with Washington State alum Klay Thompson to give me somebody to actually have a direct interest in and Steph Curry whom I loved in college. Who knows, if a Cougar had ever gone on to be a significant NBA player at any point I might have committed my allegiance, little as it’s worth, to somebody earlier.
It’s been a long six years of flip-flopping, but among them all there have been three constants; the bottom three, my hated three, whatever. The Celts I already mentioned, then the Miami Heat (especially when they were generously blessed with LBJ#6 in my most hated pro sports move ever) and finally the San Antonio Spurs. Those darn San Antonio Spurs! Forever, they were the worst of the bunch. Always some sort of main rival to my “favorite team”, always with a player or two I couldn’t stand (Bruce Bowen, Manu Ginobli and “The Big Fundy” even though I have always respected their games) and I swear I never would have gone for them in any series, EVER!
Jun 20, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) lays the ball up past Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) during the third quarter of game seven in the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
But they ended up in this series and with new gun Danny Green and one of my new favorite players in Kawhi Leonard, along with a growing appreciation of Tony Parker I found enough to like about the team to route against Miami as opposed to just skipping the series altogether. I had to look hard too because if you remember the Spurs straight bounced my newest team two rounds ago, which only made me hate them more. But I’ll never route for King James again, after his defection to build a super team at an NBA destination I’ve never liked, even if that is a shallow move on my part.
So this was fairly easy to actually hope, for once, that the Spurs would come out on top. Go figure they would come up short the one time I actually begged them to win. As I’m writing this I’m laughing out loud because it sure would happen that way. However that doesn’t change the fact that I’m glad I watched the series. It was truly refreshing to see two teams leave it all out on the floor in an NBA Finals Game 7 that finally went down to the wire after the best single match-up I’d ever seen in Game 6.
And NBA fans finally got everything they’ve been missing since Jordan was in the Finals against whomever. The best player in the game today stepping up at every clutch moment in back to back elimination games. The best player ever at his position doing the same for his team. Two powerhouse teams with stars and veterans alike that wanted it so bad they simply had nothing left at the end of it all. If that wasn’t the last game of the season, there were a lot of players that weren’t going to be able to make it through another.
It was an awesome series full of everything you could possibly want to see, even if I now have just one more reason to hate the San Antonio Spurs.
I mean really San Antone, you couldn’t finish it off!? Come on you bums!