It began with LeBron’s ill-fated “decision,” it will end by hoisting up 14.5 pounds of gilded glory, and in between there were highlights and storylines galore.
This was a NBA season to remember. So let’s get teary-eyed and reminisce.
It was the year of hype, of YouTube and Twitter, of instant gratification. It was basketball on a sugar rush. Things happened live and were almost simultaneously posted all over the Internet, ready to be accessed and scrutinized by millions.
Every decade or so, the NBA takes a leap forward based on technology, and conversely, a new star is born. First, Julius Erving was basketball’s Elvis, then Michael Jordan became a global icon.
This year, the Internet era gave birth to Blake Griffin, whose image was pasted across the World Wide Web after every thunderous special delivery.
The world simply couldn’t escape from the clutches of Bad Blake. We were drawn to his physique and his talent and ability to dunk a ball with all the raw power of a lightning bolt. We watched in awe as he victimized poor schlubs like Timofey Mozgov. He is the present and future of the NBA, and no one is safe. Not even mid-sized sedans.
It was the year of the Big Three, or the Big Four or Six or Nine. For some reason, every team seemed to have at least a trio of powerhouses. It started with Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Boston. Then there was the “Bigger Three” in Miami with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Now everybody from the Lakers to, as blasphemous as it sounds, the Minnesota Timberwolves, has a cutesy nickname describing their key talent. I even heard Bucks broadcaster Jon McGlocklin, whom I’m convinced is the herald of the apocalypse, refer to Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bogut and John Salmons as a “big three.”
Is there no end to the ridiculous, overdramatic nonsense? The Celtics have a Big Three. So do the Heat and perhaps the San Antonio Spurs. Everyone else is just pretending. It’s like when an 8-year-old puts on his big brother’s shoes to act more grown up. Awkward and laughable.
It was the year of Derrick Rose, who seemed to bewitch everyone with his otherworldly acrobatics and aw-shucks bashfulness. In just his third season, Rose is a virtual lock to become the league’s youngest MVP at 22 years old. It’s refreshing to see such a young star remain polite and humble despite the fame, and play the game of basketball with unwavering passion.
Of course, being half man, half amazing, half gazelle and half kangaroo doesn’t hurt. No, it doesn’t make sense statistically. But if you’ve seen Rose play, you know it’s true.
It was the year of the free agent, as James, Wade and Bosh proved that players have the power, not the people in suits writing the checks. A few months after the superstars formed a coalition of egos and flash in Miami, Carmelo Anthony whined his way to the New York Knicks. All-Stars like Chris Paul and Dwight Howard will be free agents in a year’s time, which makes me fear for the future of parity in the NBA.
For a league that sports the tagline, “where amazing happens,” the NBA did an impressive job of delivering on the goods. It was a year that proved why, in my opinion, basketball is the greatest game in the world. James helped prove it. So did Blake Superior and Rose. It was a year that should be remembered forever.
The off-season was amazing. The regular season was amazing. Guess what? The playoffs start this weekend.