Monday, June 13, 2011

Yesterday, once more

A few months back I realized that very few sporting events held my fancy any longer. Since then I have stopped watching TV just for the sake of watching it. To me, whether I watch TV or not has become a litmus test for sporting events. If I care enough about a sporting event I shall turn it on. If I don't then I don't care.

Simple. Right?

Well, end result? I don't watch much TV any more.

In the past few months the only bits of TV coverage I have actively sought out are the last quarters of all the Lakers games (for Phil Jackson, not Kobe) and the first two sets of the French Open final between Roger and Rafael. (The only reason I did not watch the whole match was because I had to play a cricket game that day).

Once the Lakers got swept I lost interest in the NBA until I noticed that the Mavericks and Heat were tied 2-2 in the Finals. And that took me back in time - 5 years ago, to be precise.

In 2006, the Mavericks led the Miami Heat 2-0 and lost 4 in a row to lose the championship. I remember watching that entire series and being frustrated beyond belief at the unfair advantage that was being provided to Dwayne Wade, the Heat guard. The officiating got so ridiculous that all Wade had to do was wander into the lane and a foul would be called on the defender. Gah!

So, in 2011, when the Mavs and the Heat came back for an encore, I was slightly interested but still not by much. When the scoreline reached 2-2, my interest was piqued slightly.

I watched the last quarter of Game 5, and was happy when the Mavs won that. Last night, I did not watch the 6th game, but got to see some of the post-match festivities.

The focus of most of the press has been the disappearance of LeBron James and how the Heat choked the Finals away. Dwayne Wade is getting a free pass, too. Strange. When they won, it was Wade's team. When they lost, it is James' team. Huh, how does that work?

The big winner is Dirk Nowitzki. For years I have admired the fellow for staying with one franchise, never seeming to complain about not getting enough money, not grumbling too much when the management replace Steve Nash with Jason Kidd, soldiering on through injury and early playoff exits. Yesterday, he got the recognition he always deserved. No 7-footer in NBA history has possessed the extended range that this German does. Pau Gasol could get there someday if he tried, but it would take years of hard work to do so.

The NBA Finals are done and dusted. Only Wimbledon seems to loom on the horizon. (If Tiger had been playing I probably would have followed the US Open). Thankfully, the Indian Test team is going to be playing 3 Tests in the Windies and then 4 in England.

I can hardly wait.


Buck said...

LeBron James is the man who claimed he was "taking his talents to South Beach" - I did not know that basketball is now a beach sport.

LeBron was perhaps unwittingly stating the obvious, that it was his desire to coast on the shoulders of his teammates to an NBA championship and not work to earn his own like Michael Jordan and many others before him and now, most famously, Dirk Nowitzki.

Dwayne Wade by that token had little to prove - other than perhaps that he does belong in the discussion along with Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan and others of being amongst the best of the modern era.

Statistically as well, Wade's numbers hold up while LeBron's utter disappearance in the Finals will haunt him for a long time.

Finally, I am delighted that the team - the Mavericks - won and not the bunch of rich and wimpy self-proclaimed superstars, the Miami Heat.

Interestingly enough, the LeBron James decision and its aftermath kindled the interest of the lay masses in the NBA like no other event in recent times, perhaps since Jordan retired from his baseball hiatus.

Jaunty Quicksand said...

It is sad that it took a boorish act to get fans interested in the NBA again. It's easy to forget that LeBron James has been pampered his whole life, foregoing college, becoming a multi-millionaire before he even turned 19. Even when he was in high school, he rarely had time to be normal.

Hopefully, he can shed some of the enablers that surround him and become a better player on the court. Otherwise...

Buck said...

I think people love to hate a good villain even more than they love to love a good hero.

Thus the Joker, Hannibal Lechter, the Detroit Pistons of the Bad Boys era, Bill Bellichik with his laconic swagger, Barry Bonds with his utter disregard for those around him, all became shining symbols of hate and fueled the interest of the lay populace who wanted to see the villains lose.