After a 22 year hiatus, The Looper –– excuse me –– the Boston Celtics are NBA champions again. And there are still four minutes left to play.
After almost everyone and their brother outside of New England picked the Lakers to triumph in the NBA Finals* Boston and its Big Three turned the series expectations upside down and completely dominated Kobe Bryant –– the widely-annointed “Best Player in the League” –– and the Los Angeles Lakers.
After it’s over, now, it’s easy to say it wasn’t even close
The best team over the course of the season prevailed in stunning fashion, in a series that featured the largest comeback in NBA Finals history, another almost-huge comeback, domination and more domination. The Celtics’ losses were still close games, and their wins were, by and large, marked by superb performances of one kind or another.
And so I’m watching the post-game festivities of the NBA Finals (cringe!), watching David Stern (a man who makes me detest the word commissioner) and wondering why Eddie House’s kid isn’t getting more face time. I could go on at length about the gross shortcomings of the NBA, but I’m not going to. I think I’ll save that for tomorrow.
What’s significant about today (boy this sounds like a history exam) is the end of Boston’s 22-year draught, the erasure of the sad memories of Len Bias, Larry Bird’s retirement, Rick Pitino’s tenure, and the botched draft lottery that landed Tim Duncan in San Antonio instead of Boston.
For the first time in a long time, a basketball crazy NBA city gets to celebrate like it’s the golden years of the 1980s. There’s no Bird, McHale or Parrish, but there’s certainly plenty of magic in the “Garden.” For the first time in a long time, the NBA Finals sounded like they meant something to people. From the sounds and looks of it, another Kevin Garnett head-butt into a basket support might have led the place to implode.
So, for now, there’s no existential dump on the NBA. I’m content to listen to the experts back up in their tracks, cover them up, heap praise on the champions, and, oh yeah, be happy for Boston.
P.S. If Kevin Garnett doesn’t get the league MVP honors, Ted Donaghy, the crook, is right and the fix certainly is on.
* The mediocre conclusion to possibly the most mediocre postseasons in any American professional league.