For you basketball junkies out there, I am sure the recent NBA Finals championship series between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs has provided you with a fix that will hold you until next June. Those of you who had a little cash invested in the Spurs winning are probably sitting in a corner, sucking on oxygen and waiting for the paramedics to that check on that pain in your chest that might be a mild coronary.
Basketball provides us with a mixed bag in my house. When I met my wife, she was a Boston Celtics fan. Her allegiance dated back to the days of Bob Cousy, and ran the gauntlet through the Jones boys and Bill Russell. I used to tease her by reminding her that eight teams could qualify for the playoffs, and the Celtics would squeeze into the eighth spot and manage to win a championship.
Ragging on the Celtics was blasphemy, and from that point the game was on. When I selected a team of any sport, she would pick the opposite team. I didn’t have to watch the game to know what was going on. I would hear noises like, “Yes!” or “All right!” or even “That’s what I’m talking about!” and knew it wasn’t looking good for my boys. But, when there was total silence, I knew the worm had turned.
When we lived in Los Angeles, I was a Lakers fan. Not because they were the home team for the moment but because I felt I had a vested interest in the team.
During my summers in D.C., I played summer league ball. There was a guy on a team called “The Iron Five” who was known as “Rabbit,” and he was the star of the playground.
Although his skills outshone all comers, I dismissed him because he was older, and I would get there someday. Well, I realized I was sadly mistaken when I turned on my TV and saw “Rabbit” being introduced as Elgin Baylor.
From that point on, it was the Lakers against the Celtics. If you enjoyed the Ali vs. Frazier contests, you would have enjoyed being in my house for this next event. My wife was an educator for 33 years, and there was no argument where education took a back seat. She was also a graduate of the University of Maryland. Now the plot thickens. Some of you will remember when schoolboy basketball phenom Moses Malone came out of high school and announced his intention to go to Maryland. When he changed his mind and decided to go pro, my wife reacted like she had been slapped twice.
When I tried to point out that Moses wasn’t college material, and besides there was no course at Maryland that could teach him to make $5 million a year, I thought I was going to have to strap on the gloves.
Well, to my joy, the Heat won the Championship and once again my house has returned to normal. I became a Heat fan when LeBron caught a bus to South Beach. A lot of people turned on LeBron when he left Cleveland.
These are the same people who take advantage of a job change whenever the money seems a little sweeter. And, to be fair, LeBron was never going to win a championship with the supporting cast he had at Cleveland.
And for those of you prepared to argue, I am betting you can’t name the Cavalier starting five without going to Google.
My congrats to the Heat, and for the rest of us, we were able to satisfy our “Basketball Jones.”