Goliath vs. Goliath
The Warriors and Cavaliers will be playing each other in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year (spoiler alert). If you live outside of the Bay or Cleveland, are you cool with that?
If Doc Brown pulled up in the Delorean right now, bewildered and disheveled, screaming “Chris, get in!” I would do it. As he punched the throttle on the way to 88 miles per hour, furiously typing in our time coordinates, I would have one simple request: can we just travel to June 1st, 2017?
On the first day of June, the NBA Finals begin and we all know who the participants will be. Sure, maybe the Spurs can win a sympathy game from the injury-seekers, I mean, Warriors. But, realistically, that series is a wrap. And when your best player is not tall enough to ride most roller coasters — sorry, Celtics fans — then you know the Cavaliers are already booking hotel rooms in Oakland.
With its absurdly long shot clock, poor shooting and boring zone defenses, I am usually outspoken about my disdain for the NCAA version of basketball. However, this year’s NBA playoffs have entered the doldrums right next to it. Save a few heroic moments from a budding icon, meekly contested blowouts and the formality of the higher seeds advancing have played out in predictable fashion.
Las Vegas has the Warriors and Cavaliers as overwhelming favorites to advance to the Finals. It is a layup, so to speak. For the third consecutive year, they will face one another in June. Is this good for the league and its fans? Is commissioner Adam Silver pleased? Are ABC and its sponsors happy with this? Will we watch these games again?
The answer to every question above is an unequivocal “YES.” American society does a lot of pretending. We pretend we want the Cinderella story or the scrappy underdog, but we really don’t. The imperialism this country is built upon has permeated even our sports takes. You really want to see Spurs-Celtics in the Finals? No, you do not.
We (not-so) secretly love villains. The bad guys finishing first. The bully dominating. We also love building them up to mythical status…and reveling in their mighty fall. For so many reasons, the Lebron-led Cavs and Durant-led Warriors fit these narratives. We NEED them in the Finals for our insatiable appetite of hero-worship and villain-platforming.
It is not yet time to divulge who I believe the villainous winner will be — expect a FULL pre-Finals breakdown — but, I do know that I’ll be watching the Washington Nationals full-time the next two weeks. Doc Brown already told me it’s cool.