So the NBA Finals begin. Middle-aged men and other nostalgia-seekers around the country are excited for the revival of a “classic NBA rivalry”. We’ve seen Larry Legend and Magic in press conferences reminiscing. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has talked about growing up a Celtics fan, way back when he was just “Lew”, the tall kid from upper Manhattan who idolized Bill Russell. Even Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell has appeared in blogs and articles for his take on this year’s championship, since he was the last of the Celts to have his #31 jersey retired.
While we’re at it, why don’t we dig up the Lakers’ #31, his counterpart, Kurt Rambis?
Just a minute: Do y’all realize that this dude played, not with goggles, but with a regular pair of glasses on?!? And not some hot 80’s joints like some Foster Grants or Cazals either. He had those Lewis Skolnick-Revenge-Of-The-Nerds, dang-Dad-how-come-I-can-only-get-the-ones-insurance-covers frames too!
Please excuse me. ADD moment.
And while these 40, 50, and 60-plus year-old men do often have interesting takes, and those of us old enough to have played “Lakers vs. Celtics” on the Sega Genesis (that was EA Sports’ first game in what is now called the “NBA Live” series for you young bucks) might find them fascinating, the reality is, the players actually stepping on the court tonight are pretty far removed. Kobe Bryant? He was an eight-year-old Black kid in Italy, just trying to learn Italian and his times tables the last time the Lakers played the Celtics in the finals in 1987. Kevin Garnett? A skinny 4th-grade country-boy living in rural South Carolina. Lakers starting point guard Rajon Rondo? Just learning to walk as a 12-month-old baby. Injured Lakers power forward Andrew Bynum wasn’t even born yet! And that was the LAST year that the Lakers and Celtics met in the finals!
Don’t even get me started on the NBA fans who are now in their teens or primary years. They have absolutely no sense of the so called “historical” nature of this rivalry.
The reality is, Los Angeles is the second largest television market in the US. Number one is New York, which will tune in to cheer against their hated rival city, Boston. The NBA is excited because after a steady diet of teams from cities like San Antonio, Detroit, Houston, Cleveland, Miami, and Dallas, the Championship will finally get that all-important cursory fan interest that drives advertising dollars and NBA revenues.
I’m not mad though. Matter of fact, I’m ending the article now. I’m going to a social gathering of some Rattlers and Bison to watch Game 1. There will be some “cursory fans” there too. And these women are cuties!