MIAMI — In our rush to take our talents to South Beach, the hideout crew completely whiffed on our most important assignment of The Finals experience.
Forgive us for being distracted a little bit. But Scottie Pippen hijacked our weekend with his comments regarding LeBron James being the “greatest to ever play the game,” over Michael Jordan, “the greatest scorer to play the game.” We also got caught up in some of the ongoing coaching news fallout — Lakers’ boss Jim Buss regrets not consulting Kobe Bryant before choosing Mike Brown as Phil Jackson‘s successor, HT fave Kevin McHale is apparently headed to Houston and before the week is out the Pistons, despite denials from unnamed sources, could join the coaching search crew by shuffling John Kuester out the door for perhaps Mike Woodson?
And then we woke up to Dan Le Batard‘s passionate detailing in the Miami Herald of the curious case of the team everyone (including members of the “national media”) loves to hate:
Joy is usually enough. Gratitude, too. But that’s not all you’ll find here. “Thank you!” is glued to “Bleep you!” The joy is mixed with anger, defiance and hostility. Grace, humility and civility are noble but not quite fun. And sometimes sports make us irrational, emotion trampling logic on the way to the party. Burning cars in a championship riot? That seems like a way to protest something, not celebrate it. It also speaks to a larger unhappiness in the homes and lives away from that arena.
If LeBron James ends the season holding up the trophy, our city runs the risk of becoming so unhinged that it will put off even more people from sea to shining sea. When we throw things at [TNT’s Charles] Barkley, a beloved icon, and shower him in curses during the Chicago series, we are just giving the media and America the snapshots and ammunition to smear all of us as barbaric, bandwagon baboons.
There is so much criticism in the coverage of this team that the Heat players get ripped for overcelebrating against Boston, changing the narrative almost immediately after the triumph. What is going to happen if a defensive, angry city overcelebrates with a radiator’s hissing relief after an entire season of abuse?
Slow down brother.
They do have to play the games first.
And it’s time to dig in and get your predictions on The Finals before things kick off, Game 1 is Tuesday night here at American Airlines Arena (9 p.m. ET on ABC):
WHO WINS THE FINALS?
WHO WINS THE FINALS MVP AWARD?
WHICH NON-SUPERSTAR HAS THE BIGGEST IMPACT?