The 2011 NBA Finals are upon us. Who are you rooting for, Chicago: Mavs or Heat?
It hasn't even been a week since the Miami Heat took Chicago's collective heart, contorted it into several unrecognizable shapes, and squeezed every last drop of joy and happiness out of the once-wonderful 2010/2011 Bulls. I'm *still* reeling in the after effects, my early-to-bed father has vowed to never watch the Bears/Bulls/Sox ever again, and a looming lockout means we're likely to have this crappy taste in our mouths even longer than we should. The world isn't fair and everything sucks. This is Chicago weather (and sports!) in 2K11.
Tonight, after we've had a glorious three-day weekend to do some much needed soul cleansing, comes Game 1 of the NBA Finals. This is a series that will not include the Bulls, and therefore is perhaps not essential viewing. I have nothing better to do, so I'll be tuning in. If your wounds are still too fresh, or if you simply cannot force yourself to look at Chris Bosh's cheekbones one last time, I do not blame you. However, basketball is basketball, it's way better/cooler than stupid/lame baseball, and there are a lot of potential rooting interests on display. Chiefly: Eff the Heat. Right? While it's the easy answer, I'm not so sure it's the one that has our best long-term interests in mind.
If you have a web presence somewhere above Your Mom and live in Chicago, it's likely that you've already seen several Facebook statuses and Twitter updates effectively reminding Dirk Nowitzki to 'do work, son'. It easy to see why: Dirk has spent over a decade cutting his teeth in the NBA's eternal regular seasons only to see his phenomenal work burst in flames when it matters most. I'll remember the Believe Warriors' upset over MVP Dirk forever, and while that remains as enduring a moment as any the sport produced in the 00's, Dirk deserves his own moment in the sun. He's been incredible over the course of his entire career, and especially this post-season. I think Kevin Durant put it best when asked the silly (silly, silly) question of 'what makes Dirk so hard to defend' after one of Nowitzki's amazing offensive performances in the Western Conference Finals: "He's seven-feet tall......shoots one-legged fadeaways". Yeah, that about sums it up.
So, yes, for the second series in a row, we have a clear Good v. Evil narritive ahead. The remarkable 7-foot jump shooting German vs. Miami Thrice, playing with Tom Thibodeau's blood covering their hands. If you're rooting hard for Dallas tonight, so be it. I certainly don't expect you to clap and exchange fist pounds with friends after every LeBron jumper. But I can't help but think that, for the Bulls' long-term well-being, it's best that Miami just gets it out of the way and wins a title right now.
You see, all I want is one (1, ONE) title from Derrick Rose and the gang. MJ spoiled us forever with six, but a city as baseball jaded as this one should know how difficult it is just to win a single championship. Looking at the league as a whole, you have to like Chicago's chances moving forward. The Heat remain the lone exception, though, and no matter the result of this impending series, they aren't going anywhere. Still, I think it's in our best interest if Miami wins four games before Dallas can. Say what you will about James and Wade, but no one would argue they don't care about winning. Hell, each effectively torched their own legacies to stockpile titles together. If Dallas wins, I expect Miami's stars to work their asses off this summer. I also expect them to do some sizable roster re-arranging to be even better in 2011-2012. My hope is, if Miami wins, you'll be able to catch them off guard for a year or two. Hopefully they'll 'chill', as Chris Bosh likes to say and do.
This seems like a good time to throw up a poll.
Bulls fans, who are you rooting for in the 2011 NBA Finals?
Miami Heat (32 votes)
Dallas Mavericks (55 votes)
Don't know, don't care (6 votes)
93 total votes