Like every big championship or postseason, everyone has an opinion, including but limited to your local barista who probably doesn’t speak a lick of English yet somehow is convinced LeBron sucks.
Let’s get this out of the way; I’m a Heat fan. And for the sake of everyone calling me a bandwagon, it’s been documented on the world wide web for many years, but for you newbies, it dates back to 1995 when my neighbor, Alonzo Mourning, was traded to South Beach…err, Miami. So while it’s true I do love me some King James, chalk and all, the dude was in elementary school when I became a fan, and the same goes for the remaining parties in the Big Three.
But this NBA Finals matchup isn’t a piece of cake and it’s worthy of numerous debates and analytics – this isn’t Miami sweeping the Bucks or San Antonio dominating that trendy purple team from Los Angeles – this is the finals and these teams, both chock full of veterans are vying for the very same Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. The series now tied at 3, all comes down to what ESPN calls the best two words in sports: Game 7. And I couldn’t agree more. (Although, it does seem rather pointless to have played six games which now seem completely irrelevant since it’s yet again back to the final score of one final game…)
Miami went into the finals with a franchise-best regular season record of 66-16 (yeah, that same team that went on a 27 game win streak earlier this year but can’t seem to win back-to-back in the postseason) and San Antonio with an almost equally impressive 58-24, who have been manhandling the Heat the same way the Kardashians did Kris Humphries.
If the Spurs win, it would be the fifth title in 15 years finally designating them as a Dynasty in many eyes, and if the Heat win, it’d be a back-to-back title win and the third in eight years – certainly not a bad matchup for a much anticipated series. Not to mention, with these two teams and their coaches’ decision to rest their big men in their only meeting earlier this year where Miami swept San Antonio 2-0, we don’t have much to gauge it on, who can guard who and who’s going to go off – most of it is just speculation, and CONGRATULATIONS, there you have 99% of all sports conversations EVER.
I get that most of y’all hate seeing one of those big-market teams dribble their way into the finals – unless you’re a hardcore Miami, LA or New York fan, you don’t really want to see them make it all the way, but you have to admit it makes for an interesting and entertaining series, one that NBA and TV execs are reveling in, as am I.
But let’s take a minute to debunk the biggest myth about this matchup that’s going around like a dirty rumor in a sorority house:
Believe it or not, as most media are desperately trying to make you believe, this isn’t an old geezer of a team competing against a brand spanking new squad with young legs. It isn’t David vs. Goliath, to be frank; it’s the Miami Heat against the San Antonio Spurs, a pretty damn even matchup, which this series, now tied, has very much indicated.
As Michael Rosenberg with SI wrote last week, “Yes everyone, the San Antonio Spurs are so old, the jokes about them being old are old. The biggest problem with the jokes? The Spurs are younger than the Heat.“
According to Rosenberg, in Game 1, the average age of a San Antonio player was 29.5 while the average age of a Miami player was 30.3. Sure, there’s a pretty hefty age gap between head coaches Spoelstra and Popovich, and even though Tim Duncan has played in an NBA Finals game in three separate decades, it isn’t nearly the disparity many think.
Miami: LeBron James: 28, Chris Bosh: 29, Dwyane Wade: 31, Shane Battier: 34, Mike Miller: 33, Udonis Haslem: 33, Ray Allen: 34
San Antonio: Tim Duncan: 37, Tony Parker: 31, Manu Ginobili: 35, Danny Green: 25, Kawhi Leonard: 21, Tracy McGrady: 34
And speaking of Tracy McGrady, that brings me to another very valid point, especially for those in good ole Texas, specifically Houston…
Do y’all really want to see San Antonio win this thing and hoist up that Larry O’Brien trophy just 200 miles West of us?
I see a lot of Houston rooting for San Antonio and I can’t figure out why. Is it that Texas pride bottled up inside you that just doesn’t die? Is the hatred for Kobe Bryant so far gone that the Texas folk are clamoring to see Tim Duncan get his fifth ring, which would tie him with the Black Mamba? Do y’all really hate Miami that much and if so, why? You can’t still be angry about The Decision, can you?
These are all questions the loud-mouthed fans at the bar can’t seem to answer when I pose them. Have y’all not forgotten about that T-Mac guy? Even Amanda Bynes could have handled his potentially faux injury causing him to hobble off the court and give up on the Rockets while still racking in a good portion of their salary cap. Rockets fans can’t want a guy who quit on them to win a ring, especially after joining a contender’s bench the last possible week of the season, can they? Is the I-10 rivalry only relevant in the regular season or just within the confines of our great ginormous state? What would Moses Malone think of you Red Rowdies jumping on the “Beat the Heat” bandwagon? Wow, sorry, lots of rhetoricals for ya.
But here’s my biggest question of all:
For those of you simply rooting for San Antonio because you “want to see a Texas team win,” let me ask you this – would Texans fans ever root for the Cowboys? They are still in Texas, am I right?
And just in case you aren’t a big basketball fan and looking for a reason to tune into the Finals, maybe one of these will help:
- Try counting the number of tattoos on Birdman (and see how many times he shoves guys in the paint)
- Check out the Heat Hater signs in the stands or marriage proposals or baby-daddy proclamations to LeBron
- Join the Twitter conversations and see what’s trending for the game. When LeBron lost his headband in the fourth quarter of Game 6, even the most novice sport’s fan would have been highly entertained.
- Who flops more: Chris Bosh, Shane Battier, LeBron James and Manu Ginobili (make a friendly wager with a friend during the game or that cute guy/girl next to you at the bar).
On a parting note, did you know Duncan, Parker and Ginobili are the only three teammates to make the NBA Finals four times who did not play for the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics? That sounds like a pretty Big Three if you ask me…