Will the real MVP please stand up?

We are witnessing one of the most fascinating countdowns to greatness in NBA history.  In a house full of sons who have all made their picks, this is probably the first year we are definitively divided.

NBA Finals

A few short weeks ago, the reigning champions, the Golden State Warriors, demonstrated one of the greatest Western conference finals comebacks against the Oklahoma City Thunder.  With their butts in a sling following two back-to-back beatdowns from OKC, they were 48 game minutes away from being launched into the losers circle of all-time greatest upsets.  I was horrified as I watched them crumbling before my eyes after recording the best regular season record in NBA history.  Throughout the year they were unstoppable. No one had an answer for the elite “small ball” Warriors.  What they lacked in size they more than made up for in heart and skill set.  About 0ne-third into the season, the idea of a back-to-back championship appeared inevitable.  However, there was one looming test they would have to pass.  It was the one matchup most of the commentators were anticipating would foretell the future outcome. Inquiring minds wanted to know, how would the Golden State Warriors measure up against the Oklahoma City Thunder?

kevin and russell

The Oklahoma City Thunder are by far one of the best teams in professional basketball.  Their season ended 3 weeks ago and I’m still thinking and talking about them.  OKC has an arsenal of weaponry in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.  They are young and they are fierce and they single handedly put their team and Oklahoma City on the map.  Yes, I know, basketball is a “team sport” and one of the biggest criticisms against them is their lack of ball movement and team play but that’s their game, and has worked for them – up until the point where it counts the most.  I can’t lie, a matchup between Kevin and Lebron would have been dreamy, and I would have been rooting for KD and Russell all the way.

As for the question, how would the Golden State Warriors measure up against the Oklahoma City Thunder?  Well, the Warriors more than measured up against the Thunder, beating them on both regular season meetings and overcame the insurmountable obstacle of being down 3 games to 1.  But oh how the tides have changed.

Lebron broom

It was just last week that the Golden State Warriors were ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers 3 games to 1.  They were on pace to closing the series out at home and came up shockingly short.  No worries, the champagne tastes better on the opponent’s court anyway, right?  Oh how sweet that victory would have been.  But not this time.  The Cleveland Cavaliers, led by their no nonsense powerhouse LeBron James, have a different plan for the reigning champs.  Lebron broke the broom when talks of a sweep were flooding the airways.  Will he Shaq-shatter the backboard glass on the head of the beloved MVP Steph Curry?  Only time will tell.

shattered backboard

Tonight is game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.  The season champion will be named.  Whichever way it goes, records will be broken and stars will shine.

champagne

The Gout de Diamants is on ice at the Oracle.

Who will be toasting this time?

Stay tuned!

I See RU

The words of this throwback Thursday prose, written in 2013, were inspired by post-NBA game commentaries, actual Twitter and Instagram feeds and various individual comments posted online roughly 3 years ago. The title, “I see RU” is a play on the words “I see you”. Speaking of Oklahoma City Thunder’s RUssell Westbrook, one of the most talented and exciting NBA players to run the court.

I see RU.

Another signing, another show. What does any of this have to do with basketball?

They say: “Notice how ticked off he looked?” “He didn’t hardly talk at all, and I didn’t see him smile the entire time.”

I see RU… knowing that anything he says or does will be scrutinized, dissected, or misinterpreted beyond measure. Photographed, Photoshopped, even fam photo failures. Questions, comments, mindless banter with no purpose at all. Only human, just like you, with a gift to play ball.

Looking for smiles from the RU?
Why so demanding?
Does the RU owe you?
Have you seen his pics?
How about his interviews?
Head low, words few.
Rarely flashing his pearly whites, unless caught in that rare unguarded moment in the company of a loving family member or friend.
Ever consider that maybe he’s shy?
Or maybe a little insecure about his smile? Perhaps teased about it as a child?
Not everyone who has a nice smile believes that they do.

Yeah, I see you RU.

They say: “To me he has a VERY arrogant attitude.”

Why?
What the hell did he do?
Are you in his head? Or wearing his shoes?
Is he under some obligation to be extra nice to you?
Maybe he can’t be that social butterfly you want him to be; can’t say all the right words to tickle your fancy, like the spider who webs it oh so perfectly. Just RU, a target for all the world to see.

I see RU…someone who doesn’t fit the standard 6′ 7″ bill.
I see RU…the black sheep, in the spider’s shadow.
I see RU…the lightning in the thunder.

Haters say: “selfish, ball hog, queer, fag, gaaaaay…worst dressed, trash bag clown clothes, floppy foot goon, ugly Steve Urkel Ninja Turtle duck”

Lovers say: “the best…swagg…hott, sexxxy, beautiful, fly, perfect babe…I LOVE you!”

You love RU?
Really?
You do?
How do you love someone that doesn’t know you?
Is it his brooding eyes?
His fully defined lips?
Chiseled high cheek bones and pitted dimples?
Werther’s caramelt skin?
His flawless physique, with no tats in sight?
Celebrity-status fame, 8-figure contract and no wife?
Yeah, you love RU, I’m sure that you do.
When I first saw him play, I fell in love with RU too.
Kudos to Spider-Man, the comic book hero, endowed with supernatural strength, agility, and keen spider-sense, but this black sheep stands out from the flock.
So fierce and determined, despite what they say, he plays his own game and hopes he does okay.
Always sacrificing his body, the chance he takes to make the big play…but wait!
“Don’t you dare shoot that ball!
That’s not why you get paid!”

I see you RU.

What is it about RU that makes him so irresistible and you so eager to pursue?
Dang, smh, wish I knew.
Is it because he gives back to the community?
But most athletes do.
Is it the chart-climbing stats and record breaking debuts?
Is it his bold fashion flava? So wild and so true.
True to his character, “the world according to RU”.
Maybe it’s his love for his family, the game and the sik shoes?
Trendsetting tag lines, and football guru?
These are all so good but there’s so much more to this RU.
Including the simplicity of his choices…his house, his car, and his girl.
His girl, ah yes, it’s heartbreaking, I know.
Why couldn’t it be you? You love him with your whole heart and soul.
But to choose you, RU wouldn’t be RU if you didn’t know him 6 years ago.

Hmmm…Steady looking through that window though;
wondering…waiting.
Only time will tell where that will go.

I see RU…blessed from heaven above.
I see RU…making his way through the course.
I see RU…both hated and loved.

Congratulations 2016 2-time NBA All-Star Game MVP Russell Westbrook!

Slam Flunk? As if I know anything about dunk contests.

aaron gordon
Photo: Courtesy nba.com
It was the ultimate Slam Dunk Contest between the reigning champ, Minnesota Timberwolves’ Zach LaVine, and Orlando Magic’s Aaron Gordon. After watching last year’s competition, commemorated by LaVine’s ode to Michael Jordan’s Space Jam, I was pretty certain I would never see another dunk quite that spectacular again — until yesterday.

Continue reading