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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

NBA Basketball: Lowering Expectations

Ok. I’ll fess up.
I know nothing (NOTHING) about the NBA. I used to though.

[NOTE: the following shows my age]
Back in third and fourth form, circa 1992-93, I knew heaps. Charles Barkley played for the Phoenix Suns. The Charlotte Hornets (now of New Orleans) seemed to have “street cred” despite wearing aqua green. And Carl Malone joined up with a skinny white guy who could land 3-pointers called John Stockton in Utah. Oh, and the Lakers sucked, the Knicks were good, and no one could beat Chicago.

My team, even though I never got completely into the sport, were the Seattle Super-Sonics. To my mind they still have the coolest uniforms. Dom, our MLB columnist (he says he’ll do one), agrees with me.

It seemed that basketball took a backseat to other sports in the late nineties. I noticed that the Asian students especially loved the sport and when the finals were on Shadows, Auckland Uni’s student bar, was full of them. Drinking the free coke and following each pass intently.

A few years ago we had Sky Digital and I caught a couple of games. All I thought was: “The Nets are in the play-offs?” I remember thinking the same thing a few years earlier when the Kings were there and again later when Detroit were there (no team from Detroit ever wins anything!). This kind of thing doesn’t happen in the NBA. Teams just buy all the players who are good and then they win for the next five years (cough,Lakers,cough). I like to think that it’s to my credit that I have never liked the LA Lakers. I liked Magic Johnson; I still like Shaq (even more now he is in Miami) but never the team. This also extends to the LA Sparks of the WNBA.

Man, I remember when the big rivalry was Magic versus Larry Bird. Bird recently helped set up the Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats are team that have shown this season that, despite being the newest team, you can still have the crappiest nickname.

My good friend Dave Miller (the guy who sent me the Kenny Rogers book for you long-term readers) is a fan of the basket-ball and he correctly predicted, while playing an NBA arcade game, that Detroit would win the championship that year. I should probably ask him to make another prediction and then I’ll put it on here for the world to see.

Who am I picking? Well it’ll be wronger than the spelling of the word wronger, but…
I like Detroit and Cleveland (is LaBron James allowed to live up to his own hype?) but I assume that two teams from the same division can’t make both make it to the finals. I kinda want Seattle to win because I still like them and they have the coolest name in basketball, following closely by the Trailblazers and the Raptors (it’s a team named after a dinosaur!). But the statistics are leaning towards Phoenix.

[I have just come up with an idea for a competition, please read the next blog for more details.]

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