I'm trying really hard here to get excited and involved with these NBA finals. But instead of watching game three right now, I am writing this (well, admittedly, it's on in the background).
While I think it's safe to say that David Stern did a few cartwheels when Detroit and San Antonio got eliminated (don't get me started on how Tim Duncan is the most boring athlete in professional sports -- that's another blog entry for later), I just can't see how many people are excited about this series. Are you?
First, there's Kobe Bryant. League MVP. Okay, he's really good. Maybe even deserved the award this year. But no one likes him (yet another aside -- is Kobe our generation's Ty Cobb???). I lived in LA when the Lakers won their recent three championships and while I rooted for them, I never really could get too enamored of Kobe. Shaq, now there's a guy you can root for, laugh with and even at, and generally want to watch. Side note: Kobe gets acquitted for rape and last year made around $17MM in endorsements. What does that say?
Next, the Celtics. You can root for KG (guy who's never won one, maybe should have won the MVP); you can root for Paul Pierce (guy who's been on this team for so long and contributed much); or you can even root for Ray Allen (understated but great, kind of like a Joe Dumars type). My problem is that these guys don't really seem like a team. They feel more like a bunch of hired guns brought in to get the job done. Not much emotion or camraderie.
So the NBA tries as it might. Pairing Magic with Larry Bird in that strange half-screen morphing ad campaign is an awkward and almost desperate move. Yeah, this series is really like the Magic/Bird, showtime vs. Celtics dynasty series of legend. Right.
Lot's of other mini-stories too. Perkins from Beaumont, Texas. That town has to be one of the worst in the country. And this guy came straight out of high school. Or Powe. Kid was homeless and went on to excel at Cal and now in Boston. In a way, David Stern is getting just what he asked for -- the promotion of the individual and not the team.
It's not that these finals are awful. They just aren't what they used to be. I think I'll stick with College sports. Or maybe Tiger will put on a show this weekend.