As predicted, and as it should be, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors are in the finals. Again. This matchup, now in its fourth installment, has been met with much dissent by basketball fans across the nation. To those fans, I ask: what the fuck are you complaining about?
The Warriors are the best team in basketball history. Theres really no solid argument to the contrary. This is the most talented core we’ve ever seen in basketball, and possibly all of sports. They’re just so goddamn good, that the coach just says “fuck it” and lets the players do the coaching for a quarter here and there. Where else have you seen that? Their reign of terror has really only lasted these past four seasons, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it sure does feel like a very long time since we weren’t 100% sure they’d win the finals or at the very least be there, doesn’t it? And while some find it repetitive and boring to see the same faces and hear the same names called year after year, I find it to be exhilarating knowing that I’m watching the game played at its absolute best by some of its best players. I ask myself, is there anything in basketball as exciting as this? is there any team or player that makes this sport as fun to watch as this team?
The Philadelphia 76ers.
But they’re not here right now, so we’ll go with the next best thing.
LeBron James. The greatest basketball player ever. If you think anything else, especially if you’re my age, you are an idiot. You’re so caught up in hating him for “The Decision” and how you’d NEVER leave your team with an owner who you hated in a city like Cleveland to go play with your friends in Miami for a lot more money. Yep, you’re such a TEAM GUY that you’d never do that, and therefore you’ve looked at LeBron through a clouded lens and watch too many highlight videos of an old man with gambling debts jump over far inferior athletes and declared him the greatest. And then there are the Kobe people, who I dismiss entirely. ANYWAY. LeBron did come back to Cleveland and thus they are in the finals yet again. A team that without him, would certainly be looking to trade away the #1 pick they just received in the lottery. I mean holy shit are they bad. But, they’re here. Competing for a championship. Why? Because when you have the best player ever, that’s where your team goes.
So we have two very different teams here. The Warriors, at their core, have not changed all that much since the first installment of this matchup in 2015. All they really did was add arguably the second greatest player ever to their already dominant team. Also managed to fill their supporting roles as perfectly as a team could do along the way. As for the Cavs, yikes. Yes, much of their “core” still exists, but with the exception of LeBron, this “core” is really a shell of its former self, and the role players added along the way just never worked out the way it was supposed to, aka, they just stunk. The second best player took a better offer and left the team, so LeBron is left with little to work with. And yet, here we are.
Game 1 in Oakland. Seemingly a lock for the hosting Warriors. And what did we get? A true shootout. The best team ever and the best player ever battling it out. While it ended in defeat for the king due to a costly blunder by one of his hazier teammates, you cant help but walk away from that game thinking, “holy shit, this really is the best series we can get”.
As I write this, Game 2 is two hours from tipping. I can’t wait to sit down and not watch the Celtics against the Rockets. I’m gonna watch the NBA Finals, where I am so lucky that I get to see this happening, and you are too. We all are. Whatever your take is now, you’re going to be telling your kids about how we had (at least) four straight years of this matchup.