I have never watched an entire basketball game in my life—unless you count childhood games at the YMCA, where pretty much all I did was watch from the bench. That was true until June 8. On a lark, my girlfriend and I committed ourselves to watching the match-up between the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat.
In the end, we watched the better part of every game in the six-game series. The experience hasn't converted me into a B-ball fan, but it has quelled my sports jones given that June is the only month that really feels like the offseason for football. But while you won't find me ballin' at a court near you anytime soon, you will find me crashing on couches with the remote in hand and offering my insightful comments on popular culture, regardless of the fact that those too-hip kids at Gawker.com think I'm a tool.
Best of all, I feel like I learned a thing or two. In light of Miami's rousing win, here's the B-dub's wrap-up commentary on the championship series of a sport not called football.
Something my girlfriend and I agree on
We were both rooting for Dallas, mostly because we like Mark Cuban.
Something my girlfriend and I disagree on
The wacky Sprite commercials with the surrealist green and yellow imagery and "Sub-lymon-al" (get it) messages. I found them confusing and funny. She found them confusing.
Keep it down, the owner's trying to sleep
What I want to know is who put the Thorazine in Mark Cuban's Kool-Aid? We love the eccentric Mavs' owner because he's insane, but during the series he appeared to be as drugged up as a tiger in a petting zoo. The man had no pulse. Throw a chair or something, Mark. Take a swing at a ref. Pick another fight with Dairy Queen. Anything.
Bad musical choices
Of all the major sports, basketball is the one most closely associated with hip-hop culture. Therefore, what marketing genius decided that Tom Petty—the most non-hip-hop musical performer in history except for maybe Yanni—and his 17-year-old hit "Runnin' Down a Dream" should be the theme song for the NBA finals? Yes, nothing resonates with the hip-hop generation like a boring-ass song from the '80s by an over-the-hill white guy.
Five great things about the NBA finals
1. Dwayne Wade — Fighting a bum knee and a sinus infection, Wade put on one of the most inspired sports performances in years. By game four my loyalties had slightly shifted toward the Heat, not to back a winner, but because you can't help but root for a guy leaving it all on the court and playing out of his head.
2. Jason Terry — He was the heart of the Mavs' two series-opening victories.
3. Stuart "Straight Butta" Scott — God bless Stuart Scott.
4. Miami's flag guy — My guess is he showed up at the American Airlines Arena for a rave and couldn't find his way out, so Pat Riley gave him some flags and lets him cheer on the team. The dude has no idea what's going on.
5. 40-Year-Old Virgins — You can't help but cheer when old-timers like Gary Payton and Alonzo Mourning finally nab their first championships.
Five crappy things about the NBA finals
1. The Miami Heat announcer — Shut up, douchebag.
2. Dirk Nowitzki — The biggest goat in sports since Grady Little. Also, that was a helluva weak post-game temper tantrum after game six, when he gently pushed a stationary bike and kicked at the wall like a crippled baby batting a fly. And who would have ever thought that chanting "David Hasselhoff" at someone—people named David Hasselhoff excepted—would cause them to completely unravel emotionally?
3. The commercials for Master of Champions — I don't know what's worse, ABC's new show (a rehashed That's Incredible) that was jammed down our throats throughout the finals or the hyper-superlative name of the show. Master of Champions? (From what I can tell it's a bunch of ordinary people, some with physical irregularities, performing stunts. I'm not sure where the master comes into play, and I'm really not sure who's supposed to be the champion here.) Nice name for a show, ABC. Was Ruler of Kings taken? How about Genius of Winners?
4. Jason Williams' tights — WTF?!?!
5. Basketball isn't football.
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