By Will Stevenson
I had a day off over the weekend, so I was able to catch up on some NBA Playoff basketball: I was intrigued. One of the hardest things to do in this era of social media and sports is to not get caught up in being a full-blown hater: Not Magic Johnson HIV since I was born hater, I mean full blown Tom Hanks in Philadelphia hater. At this moment in time, our fandom has gone bandwagon in reverse. Instead of jumping on the Warriors and Cavaliers fan club, we’ve gone in the opposite direction, and now we are bandwagon haters. We don’t like anything: Lebron’s superior play, Cavaliers offense, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, none of it. I don’t even know who people actually cheer for anymore, I just know who they don’t like. So over the weekend I was able to watch Lebron play a brand of basketball that seem unnatural in this day in age. Lebron is shooting 60% from the field, 48% from three, running the break, and then doing the most demoralizing thing possible: Posting up. We should enjoy the basketball being played by the upper echelon teams. We always talk about how much heart a player or team doesn’t have, or talk about how teams don’t compete or play their best in the playoffs, but we seemingly overlook the teams that do perform at the highest level.
The level of basketball has reached a stratosphere that resembles the early 80s when teams where averaging over 115 points per game and defense seemed inferior. The Warriors adopted the Suns philosophy and won a championship. After that display of three-point greatness, the NBA had to do something: Either get on board and lose, or stick to your guns and lose.
In The West: In The East:
Spurs Cavaliers Nets
Rockets Wizards Hawks
Blazers Celtics Hornets
Look at those teams. The Warriors literally made half of the NBA change their offensive philosophy and makeup up their team structure. There are a few teams that haven’t, and ironically one was just swept (Raptors), and another is well on their way (Jazz). Just so happens their playoff exits come from the Warriors and the Cavaliers.
Maybe you don’t like either team, probably because they aren’t your team and you don’t stand a chance. But why the need to become a bandwagon hater? What is it in your soul that will not allow you to appreciate these teams? Would you feel better if the Rockets were dominating this era? We were just calling James Harden a ball-hog and Mikey D a loser coach a year ago. You think the Spurs are still boring, even though Kawhi Leonard is playing more of a Westbrook/Melo offensive game than you think, but you wouldn’t know because you don’t watch. You don’t believe in John Wall, still. The Celtics have a short guard who you dismiss once he losses. The Pacers have Lance Stephenson, and the Hawks and Grizzlies are literally the same playoff team every year. I’d add in the Clippers, but come on.
So what do you want? Do you want the Warriors and Cavaliers to lose so you can have your meme game on ten? Or is it the hater in you that just won’t appreciate greatness. You speak of Jordan in such high regard, it would only seem obvious you would hold Lebron in the same stature by looking at his body of work. Many may scoff, but Jordan was swept three times in the first round and his opponents never had a chance once Phil arrived. Jordon lost just like Lebron use to. So what’s the point of the back and forth? We dismissed the Steve Nash Suns and the Chris Webber Kings for being “soft” and shooting threes all the time. Well, threes are in, and it’s never going back. So deal with it. Also deal with the face that Lebron and the Warriors have literally made all of your little teams change coaches, players, concepts, presidents, general managers and the way they draft players.
I get it, you’re mad. You’re angry. Your team can get past either of these teams and it hurts to know it’s true. Sure, an injury can happen at any time, but beyond that occurrence or a hot shooting series: Your just going to have to hop on the hater-bandwagon. Enjoy.