Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Rick Reilly: A Finals For The Ages

In light of the strain put on sports journalists juggling multiple playoffs and storylines, I have taken the liberty of writing Rick Reilly's ponderous, analogy-laden missive on Game 7 of the NBA Finals. ESPN please note that I am happy to write more of these at a competitive rate.


Well folks, this is it. The big one. Lucky number 7. In 48 hours we'll either be watching Miami descend into a Roman bacchanalia or a Roman bacchanalia-level hangover. Tim Duncan delivering a somber speech about defeat or a somber speech about victory. This game isn't just a matchup of two NBA teams - this is two American philosophies knocking heads. The glamor versus the grind. Carnaval versus study hall. Nature versus nurture. Whatever happens, we win.

On the one side you've got the Spurs, so dull even the uniforms are grey. Watching the Spurs is like watching the restricted-area paint dry. Their captain is Tim "TPS Report" Duncan. He's quieter than an Alabama library. Dishwater avoids him at parties. He's a man who hits his thumb with a hammer and writes a thesis on hammer-swinging mechanics. He once beat out a painting in a staring contest.

Flanking Blando Calrissian are the Argentine Argonaut, Manu Ginobli, and the French...firefighter? Whatever. Tony Parker. They've logged more minutes together than most celebrity couples and collectively lost more hair than a werewolf with Alopecia. They're older than Old Spice and hungrier than Honey Boo Boo. They want this bad.

Then there's the coach, Greg Popovich. The last time he smiled was when Benjamin Franklin invented the lightbulb, and that was just because it meant he could run night practices. To him, "fun" is a four-letter word unless it's the first part of "fundamental". He wrote the book on workmanship. Then he copy-edited it. He has a pin-up calendar of pick-and-rolls.

On the other side, you've got the King and his Court vision. Lebron James, whose legacy hangs in the balance more than he hangs on the rim. He collects accolades like rappers collect Escalades. If he wins, Miami will name every street James LeBoulevard. He'll be one crab-step closer to Jordan. They'll put him on the posters for Man of Steel.

If he fails? Katie bar the door. He'll be ripped apart like a sneaker in a puppy mill. He'll be a bigger flop than Gigli. They'll put his face on Heimlich Maneuver Instructional posters. These stakes are larger than Chris Christie's grocery bill.

And he's not the only one with a monkey on his back the size of King Kong. Dwayne Wade is going down in history as Flash...or a flash in the pan. Chris Bosh is either a Third Amigo or a Third Wheel. Their coach, Eric Spoelstra, will be known as a Whiz Kid or a Whiz like the slang word for pee. He'll be pee.

So what's it gonna be America? I don't care. I've said less about this matchup then Obama has about Benghazi but I'm still getting paid a stack so fat that Chris Christie thinks it needs to start dieting. Did I already say Chris Christie? Fine, Peter Griffin. Regardless, this is a game for the ages - literally, Popovich is really old and Spoelstra is really young.

I can't wait.


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