As a sports fan, this is my favorite time of year. PGA and MLB are starting to hit a stride, teams are making moves to prepare for NFL season, Lawrence Taylor is in trouble with the law…again, NHL Playoffs are starting to heat up, it’s almost time for the 2nd of the Tennis Grand Slam Tournaments and most importantly (to me anyway), the NBA Playoffs are (hopefully) getting good.
This year, a couple things have stood out to me during the playoffs. And no, I don’t make predictions or talk trash. I cheer for my team in quiet confidence and pray when prayer is needed. I’ll try to leave my bias behind here but I make no promises.
The old adage “age ain’t nothing but a number” goes both ways. The Phoenix Suns, led by 90-year-old (in basketball years, he’s 90) point guard Steve Nash, have seemingly shaken their “soft” image on their march through the Western Conference Playoffs. He and Grant Hill look like spring chickens when by basketball standards they are anything but.
Conversely, the young Oklahoma City Thunder shocked the world by actually winning 2 games against the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers. Kevin Durant became the youngest player in the history of the NBA to win the scoring title and he and his merry band of toddlers pushed the defending champs to six games by actually competing rather than bowing at the feet of Kobe Bryant like Doug Collins. Let’s be honest, none of us would have been shocked if they had conceded to the Lakers but the Thunder showed more than a “happy to be here attitude” and will enter next season with some confidence. With the Lakers, Suns and Spurs getting older as time ticks on, the Oklahoma City Thunder just may be the team to watch next season.
“What have you done for me lately” applies to LeBron James just as much as it applies to us mere mortals. After dropping two straight to the Boston Celtics (J) (including a game 5 loss during which “King” James might have been wearing an Invisibility Cloak), the NBA’s Golden Boy has caught a lot of flak from the media. It isn’t entirely his fault that while the rest of the top seeds made quick work of their opponents, the Cavs are struggling with a Boston team that came limping into the playoffs with nagging injuries, Father Time on their backs, and 230 pounds of dead weight that used to be Rasheed Wallace. But, the poor showing in Game 5 has everyone whispering about his leadership abilities. Maybe it’s his elbow, or maybe, just maybe, he isn’t possessed by the ghost of Michael Jordan as ESPN would have us believe.