Finally The Finals (pt. 1)
It really begins in earnest when you can’t wait for the game to come on. You start getting fired up around mid-afternoon at whatever you are doing in life, school, work or being a useless food eating, excuse making waste of someone else responsibility, also known as children, you start getting “that buzz” that you cannot explain. Then it is that time where you sit down in front of the TV and the music starts, the graphics and the visuals of all the main characters in the real-life tv drama that is “The NBA Finals.”
As a true NBA knucklehead it has taken me back to my teenage years when the Bucks were the 80s’ version of the Detroit Pistons modern day, the 76’ers and the Celtics used them as a just a passable obstruction to get over on their way to the Lakers and the finals, (damn it hurts to say that, but it is true). Then it happened, just like you thought it would with several current hall of famers doing their thing and a number of very great players accompanying them, it was always…and I mean always was worth everything to watch. The Boston Garden, The Forum, The Spectrum and all the pomp and circumstance would be replaced by the game, and the game would live up to the hype in these match-ups of the early to late 80’s. As a hard core Laker fan rarely did it happen, but when they lost to the Celtics or the Sixers it was not a good summer for me because it didn’t sit right.
Now let us look at it from a modern day era. We have had some semi dynasties in Isiahs’ bad boy Pistons, Shaq and Kobes’ Lakers, Duncans’ Spurs, Dreams’ Rockets and of course the real dynasty that was Michael Jordans’ Bulls of the 90’s. The one thing missing is the rival that pushes you to the limit. That doesn’t exist today like it did then and here is why I say that: everybody won and everybody lost that were the best in the league at that time in the finals. Today, the finals are interesting because of the players stories and their quests for the ring. In Boston for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen it validates the ultimate team success to go along with their great individual careers if they win, while Kobes’ quest to shine out of Shaq’s shadow in a Laker uniform is a great sub-plot.
Boston wins game one in a forgettable contest that lacked “sizzle”, except for the Pierce near-death experience, but was bringing back that buzz I had as a teenager in those great matchups at those great venues. It has all the potential to be one of those finals match-ups you never forget and I hope it turns out that way, but my experience in living tells some things don’t repeat themselves and generate that same feeling after it has been established. I rarely wish that a thought is proven wrong that I have…this is one of those rare occasions I hope that is the case. Stay tuned for more blogs on the actual games in the NBA Finals.
Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee