But I don’t even like basketball

Yet here I am planning to set aside some toothpicks for the inevitable drooping eyelids as I try to stay awake to watch the Heat tonight in the NBA finals (I’m a morning person, up at 5 am every day, which precludes staying up late, at least without some head nodding and doze-offs).

I tried to explain this today to a friend of mine at my likely last free birthday lunch.  I find this event to be fascinating as a study in the obsessive, almost cult-like behavior of Americans related to celebrity.

In this instance, it’s a basketball team that joined three of the top 15 stars in the league on one team, with one of them using a self-absorbed TV special to announce his attentions and all of them introduced in a management-sanctioned cartoon celebration in Miami.

Since that time, the team and players have done all they could to live down that initial stink and just play basketball.  Trying everything from embracing the “villain” label (as if a bunch of sweaty guys bouncing basketballs could be described with that word) to moaning self-pity to quiet attempts at humility, they have failed to receive pardon from the media or the fans.

This strikes me as incredibly short-sighted and hypocritical, since all of these fans would be more than happy to have these stars on their own teams.  What is the statute of limitations on a mistake based solely on a bad decision?  The emotional pain inflicted on Cleveland surely could have been reduced, but other than that, what would be different today?

So I find it irresistible to root for the Heat as they battle “the world” in their quest to validate their choice in the only manner left to them:  winning it all.

But, honestly, I really don’t like basketball that much.

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