I’m definitely still in shock. It hasn’t sunk in, as I’m sure is the case for the people for whom an NBA Championship actually matters – the players, the owners, and the real fans. You see, I’m just a super fan of basketball – not of any particular team. I’ve had favorite players, and as a result, rooted for their respective teams, but I don’t believe I have that same deep rooted fanaticism that someone who grew up in a certain city would have. In the 90’s it was Jordan and the Bulls. In the 2000’s, Kobe and the Lakers. And most recently, Steph and the Warriors. But I’m also a fan of the Spurs. Sometimes I like watching the Thunder. And while I’ve never been a huge fan of LeBron, I consider the Cavs’ ownership to be family, so I’m always rooting for them. I never wear any team’s gear / colors to games. I’m always neutral, and reppin Team Krossover. All these allegiances, or lack thereof, make me a rather interesting person to watch a game with – I care so much, and yet so little.
But tonight. Man. That was a battle of heavyweights. No big leads. Just a grind out game till the end. It was reminiscent of the Kentucky – UCONN NCAA Championship game from 3 years ago, where both teams looked like they were going to play forever. And then, just like that, in the blink of an eye, the game was over, and Kentucky had lost. No timeouts were called. No plays were drawn up. No players were fouled. The game just evaporated in front of our eyes. That’s what today felt like. Usually the final 2 minutes of an NBA game are an eternity. Tonight? I felt like I was watching the game on Snapchat. Did we actually get through an entire NBA game without hollering at Steve Javie at the NBA Replay Center in Secaucus, NJ? Where were the fouls to extend the game? Where were the timeouts when no shot was available? It’s like the entire coaching staff of the most accomplished team in history, suddenly forgot the options they had available to them.
But let’s not take anything away from the Cavs. They battled back from being down 3-1, and straight up out-balled the Warriors for 3 straight games. LeBron James is most certainly an alien, and somehow he willed the rest of his teammates to put their gear into overdrive. His block on Iggy will go down as one of the most pivotal plays in NBA history. Right up there with Jordan on Ehlo, Ray Allen from the corner, and Draymond punching Bron in the nether region. The fact that a human can even dream of attempting a chase-down pin like that is ludicrous. To actually do it…. sweet mother of God. And what can I say about Kyrie Irving. He took LeBron’s play of the game, and said, “hold up wise head, Uncle Drew can do you one better”. And he did. While it wasn’t as poignant as Jenkins’ shot to win the National Championship, it will certainly go down as the most important shot in Cleveland sports history.
It has truly been a rough 2 years in the NBA Finals for me. The only thing worse than your team losing in sports, is not being able to actually root for any team to lose. The Cavs are like family to me – I will always want them to win. I think Dan Gilbert is the best owner in the NBA (sure I’m biased), but here’s a guy who wears his passion on his sleeve, took the high road to get LeBron back, and wrote over $850M in payroll checks over the past decade, all to bring home a championship to the city of Cleveland, (which apparently, God no longer hates). It’s hard not to root for the man. The Warriors are unfortunately like that insanely hot girlfriend that your family wants you to have nothing to do with. Steph Curry and Draymond Green are my two favorite players in the league. I will always root for those guys, no matter who they are playing. As a scrawny Indian kid who can’t jump, the Warriors style of basketball appeals to me. They give me hope. I will never be LeBron, but I can dream of being Steph.
And so you see my predicament. I didn’t want anyone to lose. I wanted this series to go on forever. Every game that went by without the series ending, I breathed a sigh of relief, that for one more day, I wouldn’t have to be sad for one of my guys. I hoped that Adam Silver would cite league revenue issues as a reason to extend this series to a best of 37. I wanted to watch Steph and LeBron talk shit to each other for the rest of my life. I wanted the internet to break from all the memes on twitter. I wanted Steph and Draymond to get traded to the Cavs and then win a championship there as a last resort. Alas, sports would not be sports without someone getting their heart ripped out.
And thus, I ended up crying tears of joy for Dan Gilbert and my friends at the Cavs, while being absolutely devastated for Steph and Draymond – a 73-9 season, now worth less than a coaching contract with the Sacramento Kings. Bitter sweet. I was destined to win no matter what, but also to lose no matter what. And that my friends, makes for shitty sports.