It’s Not Over Until James Brown Says So

What a difference a year makes.

This time last June, I was rooting my ass off for the Cavaliers to bring a long deserved title back to the city of Cleveland. I blame it on the Believeland phenomenon because I really didn’t give a piping hot pizza bagel about the Cavaliers but for the snake-bitten history of the franchise and its town. Granted, the great Lenny Wilkens not only played for the team, he later coached them. And yes, Lebron’s history with his home town team is now the stuff of legend. But for reals, this organization has given the NBA more cool names than titles. A top five cool names list? On it!

The Cool 5 of Cavaliers Lore 

World B. Free

John “Hot Rod” Williams

Campy Russell

Bingo Smith

Zydrunas Ilgauskas

This time around, I’m more chill. And while I can’t bring myself to pull for the Warriors (It would be like rooting for Brad Pitt to get laid, really), I most certainly can be alright with them winning it all. Because it means Kevin Durant will find himself at the top of the basketball world, and . . depending on how this series goes down, perhaps the new King of his sport. Because if he plays the rest of this series the way he played tonight, who could argue he hasn’t supplanted Lebron as the game’s top player? I wouldn’t.

My allegiance to the Heat and Lakers prevents me from rooting for other teams unless they are prohibitive underdogs, which kinda cancels me out of this series altogether seeing as how these clubs were chalk from the get. I’m not hating on the “threematch” because I happen to dig the drama of a rock opera rivalry with the sexy contrasts. It’s hot and it’s cool. Both! And it’s why I love this game.

Hey, I’ve been in love with the Association ever since I went to see a hot shot young gun by the name of Larry Bird play the Knicks like a rec team at Madison Square Garden. I got to see Bird, McHale and Dennis Johnson, Bernard King and Sugar Ray Richardson that night. And then things got real. Over the years I took in Kareem and Magic and my all time biggest man crush . . Pat Riley, coaching them up. I saw Artis Gilmore, Sydney Moncrief, George Gervin, Adrian Dantley, Dominique Wilkins, Julius Erving and Moses Malone and Elvin Hayes. Once I got wheels, I trekked down I-95 to Brendan Byrne Arena off Exit 16W where the joint was much less romantic but the patrons were every bit as involved. I took road trips to Philly where my friend George would take me to dinner and a Sixers game at the old Spectrum. A few years later, I was involved with a young lady who was dating a member of the Sixers (The dude was married, but I never could get a name out of her). Lemme tell you, those tickets were like Studio 54 to a young man who loved the game the way I did.

Admittedly, I’m a lapsed fan as far as live proceedings are concerned. I went to one lousy game this year, and watched my Heat get their 13 game winning streak snapped by the Sixers. I’m guessing that was the Karma Police paying me a visit. It’s okay, I deserved it (Even if Pat Riley didn’t.)

As for the Dubs and Cavs, I’m picking Kevin Durant and leaving it right there. He played like the best player in the universe tonight, and I’m loving the idea that the Cavaliers have no blessed idea how to stop him unless they plan on dropping a MOAB on Oracle Arena. Durant was every bit of his bad self, with a karate kick finish. And now he’s played in six Finals games (five with OKC in 2011) and is averaging just a split of a tic under his jersey number 35. He’s that good, and better. And . . and . . and . . if that wasn’t plenty ’nuff, he stared down Rihanna after she yelled ‘Brick!” while he was shooting a free throw. My. Man.

I would love to see KD in a closeout game. And I would love to see who guards him in the most pivotal moments of that game. And I would love it (very much) if Lebron was the guy, because hey, to be the King . . you gots to beat him. And I would really, really love it if last year’s 73 wins needed 35 in order to find redemption. And if that happens, I just might hoop and holler the way I did for Cleveland last June.

I’m very okay with that.

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8 thoughts on “It’s Not Over Until James Brown Says So

    • John,

      Thank you for that. I love the memories, and even though I’m becoming more old school by the year and am really not loving the new age of ball as much, I can hang onto what drew me to the game in the first place.

      Kevin Durant has taken the torch from Pat Riley as far as my NBA man crush is concerned. And he is doing quite a job of it.

      Muchas gracias

  1. John wrote what I was thinking! I still adore your snappy prose and perspective.
    That said, I was totally a Boston Celtic fan waaaay back in the day. Loved the parquet floor 🙂
    Hope you’re well, Cayman! I’ve been swamped with work and slowly returning back to catch up with my friends. Happy June 🙂

    • Mama Mia!

      What the hell is going on with these Boston fans dominating the blog? But hey, all respect to those old Boston Celtics teams. You’re one smart cookie when it comes to your sports clubs. Royals in baseball, classic team. Celtics in the Association, all time classic team. I was kinda sorta rooting for an upset in the last round when the new age Celts played Cleveland, only because I thought the Cavs were totally disrespectful to the Boston club.

      That parquet floor? The original one? Stuff of legend. I was on the on the other side of that Lakers v Celtics rivalry, rooting on the Showtime Lakers back in the day. Mostly (Only) because I was (still am) in deep, sick love with Pat Riley. The way he dressed, the way he slicked back his hair (I did the same in high school) and of course, the way he coached them up. Apologies to this years Finals participants but I will take that LA/ Boston rivalry every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

      No apologies, I just really am happy to see you here. Hey, I’ve fallen out of touch as well so we’re even. But I dig your passion for these games and your unique takes on them. Very much Mama.

      Have a great weekend and go Royals!

  2. Duuuuuude love how you paired up this post with this James Brown badass tune! Ha! Loving that. We’ll see how the series pans out, I’m on the sidelines with this though. Incidentally any time you mentioned Pat Riley I swoon. He was MY man! My MAIN man! Loved him and even though Bird and McHale were our rivals I always enjoyed that showdown and the short shorts 🙂

    • I didn’t watch the game last night. First finals game in ages I didn’t watch, and it wasn’t purposefully. I just thought Cleveland would stave off elimination for one night and defend home court, which they did. I would BE on the fence, if not for KD. He’s my new main man, even though Riles will always be top dawg.

      Those were some cool ass games between LA and Boston, fo sho.

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