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whatsthatsound On May - 28 - 2011

This year’s NBA Finals match-up has enough back stories to fill out a season of The Sopranos. It has the potential to be one of the most exciting American professional sports events of the last ten years. Gone from this year’s finals are the old, reliable Lakers and Celtics. They have been vanquished, nay, trounced, by the two teams that will be slugging it out in a best of seven series inside their glitzy sunbelt city arenas, the Dallas Mavericks (Western Conference) and the Miami Heat (Eastern Conference). Those two teams have met in the Finals before, in 2006, with Miami winning four games in a row after losing the first two. So the Mavs, still featuring many of the same players from the earlier series, will have revenge on their minds, without question. But this season even that little slice of drama must take a back seat to the bigger saga that will unfold. Call this one The Legacy Series.

The two teams each have a player who has simply risen above the numerous other great stars who have played throughout this post season, so much so that each has looked like the proverbial Man on a Mission. And, indeed, both are. Lebron James and Dirk Nowitski are two of the best players ever to lace up, just coming short of belonging in the same conversation as such greats as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, et al. But, like the diploma-less Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, they both lack something those other players all have – a championship ring (actually, multiple ones). Naturally, only one is going to come away with that this year, and since neither wants to retire with the unenviable epithet of Greatest Player To Have Never Won A Championship, we fans can look forward to two warriors playing their hearts, guts, spleens and toenails out in order to be the last man standing. Let the battle begin!

Rust Belt Warrior vs. Bavarian Giant

It is hard to imagine a more picturesque city than the medieval fortress town of Wurzburg, Germany, nor one less so than grimy Akron, Ohio. These cities, similar in population sizes, but very little else, are the hometowns of the two main protagonists in the drama that is about to unfold. Dirk, the seven foot giant from Wurzburg, has a sports pedigree as stately and impressive as the town he hails from. His mother was a professional basketball player,while his father was a handball player who represented Germany at the highest level. His sister is a former track and field star/basketball player who now works for the NBA’s International TV division. Conversely, Lebron’s background matches his town’s tough, hard scrabble condition. The only child of an unwed teenage mother, if it weren’t for his phenomenal athletic abilities (he could probably start in the NFL if he chose to), it’s doubtful he would have risen above the hard knocks of his upbringing to be anything more than just another struggling nobody in a region plagued by one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Instead, he’s one of the world’s best known athletes, with more money than God. Only in America, as they say.

What a Ring Means to Dirk:
Dirk (32, 13th year in the NBA) is widely considered to be the best European basketball player to ever play in the NBA, if not the greatest European baller of all time. His career in the league, all with the Mavs, has been stellar. His individual stats, as well as the achievements of the team he plays for, are impressive enough to place him alongside the other great stars of his generation, Kobe Bryant (five championships), Tim Duncan (four championships), and Kevin Garnett (one championship). So why no ring? The answer to that gets to the heart of the nastiest dragon that our Bavarian giant is out to slay this year, the perception that he is soft, especially when it counts the most. That his teams fold in the playoffs, that he as an individual can’t handle the increased pressure and physicality of playoff style basketball. Going back to that ’06 Finals series with the Heat, Dirk’s Mavs were up by two games, and well on their way to winning Game 3, with a comfortable lead going into the fourth quarter. A 3-0 edge would have been an insurmountable deficit for the Miami squad (led up to that point by Shaq O’Neal), one that no NBA team has ever fought back from. But what happened next is legendary in NBA folklore. The young star, Dwayne Wade, Shaq’s sidekick up until that point, found a new gear, playing at a Jordanesque level from that point onward, never looking back as the Heat came back to win that one, and the next three as well. Wade, almost overnight, became the biggest star in the NBA, and Dirk became a mere footnote to the younger star’s ascension.

Wade is still playing for the Heat, who are now supercharged with the added talent of James, and Chris Bosh, all three of whom entered the league in 2003. It is Wade, more so than Lebron, who Dirk undoubtedly feels the need to vanquish. A championship will give him what he needs to move into the conversation as an all time great, and the chance to win it over the very same thorn in his side who kept it from him last time around would have a taste more satisfying than the most robust Bavarian beer. As for Wade, his career after that championship has dipped a bit, and in a sort of payback the Mavs have pretty much owned the Heat in the regular season ever since their humiliation in ’06. Wade would love to prove himself once more on the sport’s biggest stage. But there is someone else on his team who wants redemption so much more…..

What a Ring Means to Lebron:
We all make bad decisions from time to time. But while the rest of us merely make decisions, Lebron James (26, 8th year in the NBA), disastrously, made “The Decision”. Sticking a dagger into the heart of the very region he hails from, Lebron announced, on a shamelessly self aggrandizing hour-long ESPN TV special, that he was leaving the team he had played for ever since entering the league, the Cleveland Cavaliers, in order to “take his talents” to Miami, to hook up with buddies and fellow greats Wade and Bosh, in search of, in his own words, “multiple championships”. Rarely has a star’s popularity fallen so spectacularly as Lebron’s did with that one decision, and how he went about announcing it. He instantly went from being one of the most liked players in the league to easily the most reviled. He left the Cavs without ever getting them the trophy they badly needed, not only for the team, but for the entire city. Cleveland, Ohio, among all professional sports loving American cities, is famously “cursed”, and neither its Browns, Indians nor Cavs have been able to win a national championship since all the way back in 1948, though they came close many times (most recently when Lebron led his ragtag bunch of non-star teammates all the way to the Finals in 2008, where they were summarily swept by the vastly superior Tim Duncan-led San Antonio Spurs). Unfairly, the hopes of an entire sports loving city were placed on one young man’s shoulders. If he had managed to deliver the goods, he would have become a city hero like no other, worshipped for decades. Instead, he made The Decision. He made it clear to his fans that he just didn’t see a championship happening there, not without a better supporting cast. He had lobbied buddy Wade to leave Miami and join him in Cleveland. But. Nobody leaves Miami to go to Cleveland. Lebron did what he felt he had to do, on a personal level, and a city’s dream died.

He couldn’t possibly have imagined how big the hit to his reputation would be. He was booed in every arena he played in, each time he touched the ball. It was not that suddenly everybody fell in love with the city of Cleveland. It just more or less became a de rigeur thing to do, to boo Lebron James, a reverse form of Beatlemania. The purpose of all the scorn was to show him how arrogant and cocky the folks in the stands perceived him to be. To let him know how unfair they felt it was to the rest of the league for such an All Star team to assemble. Wade and Bosh got some of it too, but Lebron, who always seems to court a brighter spotlight, received the lion’s share. When the Heat started out badly, people were all too delighted to see him struggle, as if he were being zapped by karma. When they got it together and showed the greatness that was more or less assumed of them, people hastened to call him a “quitter” who couldn’t win without help. He was suddenly Robin to Wade’s Batman (although this was never the case on the court, where both players have played equally well). Jordan and Magic, two of the top five all time players by any standard, took turns announcing that they would never have done such a thing, and tut tutted about how this new generation of stars just don’t seem to have the same competitive instinct they did. One can only guess, but the criticism of those two elites probably stung Lebron more than all the booing of the mere mortals in the stands. It seemed that they were preempting Lebron from ever entering their club, no matter how many championships he may end up winning before hanging up his sneakers.

Ascending Mt. Redemption

Although both the Mavs and the Heat looked impressive enough in the regular season, as did Dirk and Lebron, it wasn’t until the second round of the playoffs that their hunger began to show. For Dirk, that meant facing off against a man whose shadow he has lived under nearly his entire career. Kobe Bryant has already placed himself in the conversation for All Time Top Ten, by virtue of the five championships his Los Angeles Lakers have won during his tenure. A title this year would have made him the equal of the man he is often compared to, Michael Jordan, in at least one respect. Not only would it have been his sixth title, the same number as Jordan, it would have been his second three-peat, three consecutive titles in a row, exactly the same way Jordan won his six rings. Going into his series against the Mavs, it was widely thought that it was Kobe, not Dirk, who was the man on the mission to place his name indelibly among the immortals. What happened instead sent shock waves throughout the basketball hierarchy. Not only did Kobe not play magnificently, thereby demonstrating that he understood the significance of what he was aiming for, rather he turned in an anticlimactic performance that has basketball fans all over the world convinced that he’ll never be another Jordan. Meanwhile, Dirk was dominant. He was the best player on the court throughout so much of the series that the Lakers appeared unable to defend against him. The result: a four game sweep of the two time defending champions. Basketball fans quickly took note; Dirk wants it this year.

Lebron was on a parallel mission. He needed to do with his new team what he hadn’t been able to as a Cavalier: vanquish the Boston Celtics. The C’s had actually created the template for multiple superstars-led teams that the Heat simply took to its logical conclusion. In 2008, perennial All Stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined the great Paul Pierce in Boston to form a team capable of what no one of them had been able to do so far in their careers, hoist a Finals trophy. Once they got together, they did that in their very first season, beating James’ Cavs on the way. Just as they did in James’ last playoff series as a Cav (before losing to the Lakers in the ’10 Finals). The C’s both played the role of spoiler to Lebron’s ascension, and made it clear to him what he needed to do to get past them – hook up with his own All Star buddies. It was a smart move. While the Mavs were busy sweeping the champs, the Heat’s fearsome threesome was having its way with the league’s original Big Three. Lebron & Co. made the other guys look old, slow, and human. The Heat were never meaningfully challenged, and the series lasted a mere five games.

Advancing to the next round, Dirk and Lebron were once again on parallel courses, as they faced off against the league’s two young guns. Dirk outplayed two time scoring leader Kevin Durant (22), and his Oklahoma City Thunder, to earn a Finals berth. Similarly, Lebron outshone, and manhandled, Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, another 22 year old who snagged the MVP trophy from him this season (Lebron had won it the last two years in a row). Both series lasted only five games. Dirk’s Mavs seemed in control the whole time, and Durant was held well below his scoring averages. Lebron looked terrible in the first game, a loss for the Heat, but afterwards he played spectacularly, and the Bulls never really had a chance from that point onward. By the time both the Mavs and the Heat were up 3-1, the outcome was never really in doubt, and it was clear that Dirk and Lebron were on a collision course, both desperate for something that only one can have.

And In This Corner….

So who needs the ring more? Although Dirk has played stronger all season than his similarly aged counterparts, Kobe, Duncan and Garnett, who this season have all showed signs of slowing down, Dirk’s age is very much a factor in his quest for rings. This is even more so the case of his All Star teammate, Jason Kidd, one of the greatest playmakers the game has ever seen, with by far the greatest number of “triple doubles” (double figures in points, assists and rebounds in a game) of any current player (and one of only three in league history to have more than 100). Kidd is 38, grandfatherly by league standards. He also played on the ’06 Mavs squad that lost to Wade’s Heat. All things considered, this Dallas Mavericks team is the most talented group in the league that boasts not a singer player who has ever played for a championship team. And the clock, as they say, is ticking.

Time is something that Lebron has more of. Still only 26, having come into the league directly from high school, he still has perhaps another five or six prime years left to play. On the other hand, he might not. Players who come into the league directly from high school tend to wear down a bit faster than their counterparts who had some college years. Playing in the NBA is a far more brutal experience to a player’s body, and psyche, than the NCAA, and it extracts a heavy toll on those who take the fast track. None more so than James, in that he had to pretty much be on the floor during every crucial minute of game time while with the Cavs in order for them to have a chance of winning, such was the drop-off from him to the second best player on any of the Cavs’ rosters during his tenure there. Although he still looks and plays like an immortal, a sudden decline is not unthinkable. In fact, it may be one of the most sensible of all the factors that led to his infamous Decision. Having stars alongside him to share the burdens, emotional and physical, just may be the thing that makes it possible for him to keep playing at a level necessary to earn multiple, rather than one, championships.

Meanwhile, however, Durant and Rose are smarting from the schooling they just got at the hands of Dirk and Lebron. These two young stars, born only five days apart, have done amazing work so far, to lead their teams to respective east and west semifinals appearances in only their fourth (Durant) and third (Rose) seasons. They are the new faces of the league, and they aren’t going anywhere. In fact, their defeats this year are certain to motivate them to come back even stronger next season, the taste of blood still fresh in their mouths. The possibility of a Durant/Rose rivalry, similar to the famous one between Laker Magic Johnson and Celtic Larry Bird back in the ’80s (who won eight titles between them), has the potential to give Lebron and Dirk shivers. They could end up as old news no matter which of them ends up with a trophy this year if that happens. But that is next season’s concern, and the seasons to come. Neither Durant nor Rose looked ready to take over from Dirk and Lebron when their chance arose on the big stage. At this rare point in time, when a mere sports event has such a compelling back story, all basketball fans should savor the moment. This is going to be a Clash of Titans.

There is one little extra bit of drama playing out. When Lebron finished up his contract with the Cavs, and announced his free agency, every team in the league was salivating at the prospect of signing him, but none more than the Mavs, and their brash billionaire owner Mark Cuban. It was an open secret just how much Cuban wanted Lebron on his side. We’ll never know exactly what sort of courtship ritual ensued, but it is safe to guess that a megalomaniac like Cuban didn’t take too well to being jilted. He seemed as amused as anyone early in the season when the Heat started off slow and dropped a lot of games they should have won. That was then, as the cliche goes, and this is now. The superstar he once courted is now the rival he wants his own superstar to make mincemeat out of. A few days from now he’ll be the Happiest, or the Saddest, Billionaire.

Written by whatsthatsound

Writer, Illustrator, Curmudgeon. Ferret Owner. Tokyoite, formerly Ohioan. Much nicer in person.

50 Responses so far.

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  1. whatsthatsound says:

    Clutch vs. Clunk: Only one of the two protagonists of this story showed up to play in today’s Game 4 match up. One was sick. The other may as well have called in sick. Dirk was heroic, leading his team to a win despite a high fever and a sinus infection. He scored 21 including the game winner. Lebron on the other hand was homeric. Meaning he played like Homer Simpson. NO points in the fourth quarter and only eight for the whole game. He is letting this series slip away from him, and it is Dwyane Wade who is keeping the Heat in it. The series is tied at 2-2 now. Lebron has three games to get back up Mt. Redemption. He’s tumbled all the way back to base camp as it is.

  2. whatsthatsound says:

    When is a “huge game” not necessarily a huge game? Today’s win by the Heat WAS huge, in that it gave them a crucial 2-1 edge over the Mavs, took the first game on the Mavs’ court, and put themselves in a high statistical probability of winning this series.

    But, this series is FAR from over. Because the Heat could have easily lost this one in the same way they lost the last one, by taking their foot off the gas too soon. For the second game in a row, they blew a double digit lead and let the game go down to the final possession. They got lucky this time; Dirk missed a shot he might have made (to be fair, Udonis Haslem played great defense on him).

    The Mavs can still win this series. They have a phenomenal offense. They are capable of fighting back in every game it seems. The Heat are going to need to win one of these next games by a blowout just to boost their confidence, or this series can go to seven, something which Miami would very much love to avoid. Seventh game means anybody’s guess.

  3. whatsthatsound says:

    I wasn’t here to watch, and haven’t even seen highlights yet, but the Mavs fought back in a huge way to put the series on an even footing again. Dirk, of course, made the winning shot. Looks like Lebron was only so-so, but a really big game from teammate D-Wade.
    The Mavs came from WAAY behind, just like both teams have done in the postseason so far, to close out the fourth quarter on a 22-5 scoring run that gave Dirk the chance to be the hero, which he did.

    This series seems to be living up to its expectations that it is going to come down to tough, never-say-die battles between two teams that BOTH have a lot to prove. In other words, the best kind of sports.

  4. whatsthatsound says:

    Love Interest:

    The road is longgg……..
    with MANY a winding turn
    that lead us to who knows where, who knows where?
    But I’m strong, strong enough to carry her
    She ain’t heavy
    She’s my ferret

  5. Questinia says:

    Where’s the love interest in this story?

    No love interest, no female readership.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Love interest? I think the love Lebron James has for himself is enough to fill a whole book of Elizabethan sonnets. I think that if he could love himself in a certain way there would be a whole race of Lebronians by now.
      But I get your point.
      But hey, I don’t find these stories. They find me.

      • Questinia says:

        Even your illustration has that “High Noon” feel. But where’s Grace Kelly? What effect do women have on how the players do and what they think and feel?

        We already know about Lebron and his mom. Just look at what that did or probably did.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          I checked, but there just doesn’t seem to be any love interest happening here.
          Lebron and his girlfriend Savannah have been together since high school, and have two kids. But no engagement. It looks like LBJ is more interested in a championship ring than the other kind.
          Dirk is a bachelor; not sure he’s linked to anyone now.
          Wade made news by getting divorced a couple years ago. Not sure if he has a steady now, possibly just playing the field when not playing on the court.

          So, sorry, no Grace Kelly. But here’s a consolation prize:

    • Khirad says:

      A lot of them do love themselves (and their out-of-wedlock children).

      I’ve been pondering dropping you a message asking you where you’d been, by the way. Never leave us that long again.

      • Questinia says:

        Mutely appreciating nature walking the hills and re-doing the pond and environs. Using the principles of Archimedes to haul rocks just like my daddy taught me. Tearing out bushes. I can now crush a small car with my bare hands. Wanna rassel?

        However, I did make a chicken with mango sauce (red pepper, onion, coconut milk, garlic, hot curry, fresh ginger, rice vinegar, mango, cilantro optional, all cooked and smothered in ghee) and thought of you :)

    • kesmarn says:

      Q! You’re here!

      Happy, happy!

  6. whatsthatsound says:

    Exit Players, Enter Pundits.
    Game 1 is now a statistic. The Miami Heat managed to do what they have been doing all throughout the postseason -- “heat” up as the game winds down to place their stamp on it in its latter minutes. Lebron James and Dwayne Wade seem to have mastered the art of keeping something in reserve, finding that extra gear when the game needs it most. The result: the Heat are in the lead, with a 92-84 win.

    For the Mavs, that means they need to find a way to do something that other teams have failed to do; put the brakes on the Heat’s late game runs.
    For the Heat, the challenge is to play like champions for TWO halves, not just one. If they can do that, all signs point toward them seizing control of this series.

    But, there is still a LOT of basketball left to play.

  7. whatsthatsound says:

    And speaking at shots at redemption:
    Mike Brown, former coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who was fired about a year ago, after the Cavs came up against a wall called the Boston Celtics, has been hired by the L.A. Lakers to replace the legendary Phil Jackson. The reaction from Lakers fans has ranged from head scratching to pulling out hairs by the lock-ful.

    Brown doesn’t have much of a reputation. He is thought of as basically a defensive coordinator who lucked into a head coach job while Lebron was a member of the team. The great records he coached his team to, including two 60+ wins in a row, are seen more as a result of great play from Lebron than great coaching from Brown.

    Still, there is always the chance that he’ll surprise everybody. The Lakers have fallen disgracefully, and clearly need a new direction. Personally, I’ve never thought much of Brown as a coach, but this is his chance to prove me and a lot of other people wrong.
    The Lakers are the Big Time, and at least he has a shot.

  8. texliberal says:


    Bring them three mercenary amigos on Adonai. We’ll show them some Western Conference O. We still shoot the Jay over here.

  9. ADONAI says:

    Great article wts. I only see one thing you got wrong. Kidd was still in New Jersey in ’06. He didn’t come to Dallas til ’08 or ’09.

    Dirk and Jason Terry are the only 2 left from that ’06 team. And I think LeBron will hold up well. He is a physical freak. Like Jordan, he hasn’t had a ton of bad injuries so far in his career.

    But he’s gotta win some titles here. I don’t care who he is facing. Dirk is great. An all time great. Karl Malone is just as good and Jordan beat him. Twice. He has Dwayne Wade. Jordan had Scottie Pippen. I’ll call that one even. He has Bosh, Jordan had Bill Cartwright and Luc Longley.

    He better start winning some titles if he wants Jordan’s throne.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Hi AD, and thanks for the correction. Dang! I should have done a bit more research.

      Personally, I would have to go with the Heat, because I think as much as Dirk wants a ring, the Heat just have a unique array of weapons to use. But sweeping the champs is a big deal. Only a really strong contender manages that.

      So in the end, I’m only barely, squeakily, predicting the Heat. I won’t be surprised by any other outcome than to see a really tough, hotly contested series.

      Go Both Teams!

      • ADONAI says:

        wts, I think it will be a great series as well. Miami may have more talent in the group they play but Dallas has a great bench and that hurt Miami in the regular season. Even weak teams with a decent bench gave them trouble.

        Getting Haslem and Miller back to 100% is a big boost for Miami. They really do have the team now that they’ve wanted all year.

        Call me crazy but I think a big match up is gonna be Jason Kidd and Mario Chalmers. Chalmers may be younger and quicker but so was Westbrook and Kidd made him look silly sometimes. Just a crafty vet who still has a step or two left in him.

        Bosh has to own Brendan Haywood when he’s in there. Chandler is a great defender so I won’t be surprised if Bosh struggles early on against him and I doubt Nowitzki will play him much so, Bosh HAS to own Haywood.

        If he does, Miami can take this in 6, maybe even 5.

        • jkkFL says:

          Mike Miller is playing under a cloud..so be kind in his assessment. He was a most Beloved player when he was in Orl.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          You break down the matchups much better than I could, AD, so thanks! I agree with you about Kidd. It’s like he’s forgotten more about the game of basketball than Westbrook, Chalmers, etc. have even had a chance to learn. I expect his knowledge of the game and unique skills set to count for a lot in this series.

          Wade has to come through, not play only the last quarter like he did to close out the Bulls. His game was off in the Bulls series, maybe an injury to his shoulder. If he doesn’t step up against the Mavs, it might go 5/6 the other way.

          • Khirad says:

            He may be a grandpa, but Kidd is a veteran in every sense of the word. He’s both a workhorse, and a smart player.

          • ADONAI says:

            wts, I think Wade will have a little trouble with Jason Terry on the defensive end but he can own Terry on the offensive end if he wants to.

            It might be the shoulder but he gave them huge shots in games 3 and 5 to put Chicago away. He’ll get there.

    • Khirad says:

      You said Karl Malone.

  10. texliberal says:

    Those loud CLANGS you will be hearing are Heat jump shots. This ain’t your grandpa’s Mavs, they’ll take it in six. By the way, how’d you Seattle folks let the Sonics escape to OKC? OKC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Khirad says:

      Hey now, don’t get me started all over again! ๐Ÿ˜†

    • ADONAI says:

      texlib, Clangs? Did you see James the other night. He is a closer. If Dallas wants to win they better not let those games be close at the end. LeBron is becoming a killer. God help the rest of the NBA if it sticks. ‘Cause it’s Jordan all over again. Unstoppable.

      • Khirad says:

        The Mavs do have a habit of getting complacent in the lead. The Blazers know something about that.

        • texliberal says:

          And where be the Blaze now??????

          • Khirad says:

            Happy they got as far as they did.

            I’m a Blazers fan. I’m not delusional. We’ve had MUCH rougher years in times recent. I’m quite pleased, really. The Mavs were clearly a superior team… a team which gets complacent.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          and the Heat have a habit of waiting till the fourth quarter to find their extra gear. That won’t work against the talent, depth, and experience of the Mavs. They’ll have to play each quarter like it’s the fourth. In fact, both teams will.

  11. Khirad says:

    You “misspelled” Dwyane and LeBron by the way. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Go Mavs.

  12. foodchain says:

    Hi WTS, ooooohhhh, I’m sad because, as a Chicago long timer, I tricked myself into thinking Rose and the Bulls had the discipline to jump to the next level. Being born in Bavaria, I’d far rather have Dirk than “King James”. The whole Lebron thing wears me out; even if they make it, it’s like the Yankees—how many stars can you pack for a win. The ESPN thing was a real turn off and , not being a real basketball expert--not even close--I am more influenced by marketing. ;-(.

    I’m very excited about Rose and Durant--I hope they wipe the smug right off of the Heat. Thanks for writing this--it’s been important here.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Rose and Durant will be forces to contend with for the next decade. When Durant stretches his arms out to make his floaters, it’s like a swan. A thing of beauty. And Rose is so fast it’s mind blowing! The one thing they need is experience, and they just got a big heaping spoonful of that!

    • Khirad says:

      Don’t worry, the Bulls will be back. This is Dirk’s year. I second the Yankees analogy.

      The only way I’m ever rooting for Durant is if he moves back to Seattle or, I dunno… Portland?

      • foodchain says:

        True Khirad, Something about Oklahoma and NBA doesn’t work for me. But I gather Durant’s visit to, I donnuo…Portland, might be more personal? Did you link the gin and absinthe? Mmmmmmm.

        • Khirad says:

          Guilty as charged. Both are personal.

          OKC, for those that don’t know, were the Sonics, and the departure from Seattle left a bad taste in the Emerald City. It was a bit of a scandal. Of course, voters who didn’t want to approve tax money for a new arena are also at fault. But, the new owner at the time was from OKC, and never really guaranteed to voters that a new arena would have kept them there anyway--he had his own plans all along, I suspect. Regardless, I miss the Sonics and hate the Thunder. Nothing against Oklahoma City itself or it having its own team, but why’d you have to take one of mine?!

          Amazingly, the “I-5 rivalry” between Seattle and Portland was nothing more than fun--hardly a bitter rivalry. And I rooted for both interchangeably. Wore Blazers shirts, a Sonics coat and had a Shawn Kemp “Rainman” poster and Blazers keychains. Of course I was also split as I was a Washingtonian living across the river from Portland, so I had divided loyalties as far as I was concerned. But I think I’m right on there being no serious rivalry, no matter which team you rooted for.

          Seriously though, Kevin, think about it. You’d be bigger than Clyde, and give Walton a run for the money. Like absinthe?

          RIP 1967-2008


          • foodchain says:

            Khirad, Rainy, stormy day here so I thought I’d try my absinthe. Tried the sugar cube and the ice water (just small tastings). :-))

          • Haruko Haruhara says:

            I heard New Orleans might move to Seattle?

            • Khirad says:

              That’s a year old-I’ve had my hopes dashed those rumors will come through. I’ve heard of a few other contenders, like the Bobcats. Basically, if it’s a question of filling in seats, then cool. I don’t want raw feelings like I have. This thing is certain, it was not for lack of a large and loyal fanbase buying tickets that the Sonics left. That’s why the feelings were so raw when they did.

              Two, any moving franchise WILL be renamed Sonics. No Seattle ‘Hornets’, etc., ร  la Jazz and Lakers.

              But before that, c’mon, it’s not like the Seattle area has no millionaires that couldn’t invest some of their own capital in a new arena.

              Starbucks, you can sponsor Morning Joke but not your own city’s dear Sonics? Bill Gates, quit being just a nerdy philanthropist. Costco, you could probably provide your own vending in bulk! Nordstrom, feel like making some higher end sports wear? REI, I’d consider a new name like the Cascades, if you bought in. And Boeing, guys, the team was NAMED after you!

  13. Haruko Haruhara says:

    Hi, WTS.

    I don’t understand basketball. I only get excited when the Gaels make the Sweet Sixteen.

    I got permission to do a Stanley Cup Finals one in response. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • whatsthatsound says:

      HHm I’m the same with hockey as you are with basketball. So I look forward to your Stanley Cup one in order to enlighten myself!

    • Khirad says:

      It’s not even funny how easy it is to pick who I’m rooting for. It might be the first time I can get into a Stanley Cup Finals. I still hope to one day understand hockey. I wonder if I’m not drinking enough beer (should it be Molsons or Labatts?). ๐Ÿ˜‰

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