The 2015 NBA Finals are worth the very, very long wait
The NBA Finals begin on Thursday in a dream match-up that feels too good to be true; this might actually be the biggest problem for fans. Without vitriol, villainy, and a clear good-vs-evil narrative, it can be difficult to determine how and for whom we should be rooting. In our modern sports culture of Twitter muscles and social media outrage, it seems that fans would be more comfortable manufacturing a reason to root against an individual or a team, rather than celebrate that team’s accomplishments.
The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, though, are making it nearly impossible for haters to hate. It begins with their respective superstars, Stephen Curry and LeBron James, who have taken divergent paths – both historically and recently – to redefine the game and to demand our respect.
While Curry and the Warriors avoided the Spurs and Clippers on their march to the Finals, he could become the first player to defeat the four other All-NBA First Team-ers in the same post-season. Meanwhile, although James will accomplish more in his career than anyone in the history of the game, he has never worked harder in carrying a team through injury and general talent deficiencies.
James is the “Chosen One,” the freakishly athletic King James, who plays with an unmatched ferocity, versatility, and physicality. Curry, on the other hand, is the “Doubted One,” the technical perfectionist with a whole lot of added flair. However, he does push the boundaries of creativity, freedom, and emotional buoyancy.
Each player has displayed a single-minded pursuit of personal validation, as they attempt to deliver a title to two of the most loyal fan bases in all of sports. Golden State has not claimed a championship since 1975, and poor Cleveland is still seeking its first. At first glance, one might be inclined to root for the blue collar, rust belt Cavs backers versus the nouveau-riche techie Warriors crowd, but Golden State fans are an enjoyably rowdy and humble bunch who will scream their faces, and your ears, off. Warriors fans represent an infectious optimism, while Clevelanders have been conditioned to expect heartbreak.
We should be in for a treat during this year’s NBA Finals, with alternating moments of the Warriors’ wizardry and Cleveland’s collective grit. Hopefully, we can find a way to appreciate both. The cities, the fans, and the superstars all deserve our admiration. We might even learn something about what it feels like to enjoy a novel sports moment. It seems like there’s no room for negativity; what a concept!
Prediction: Warriors wins the series in six games.
Who do you think will win the NBA Finals? Tell me in a comment below or on Twitter @endbadly.