The shortened season has come to an end and the NBA playoffs are upon us. Being a Knick fan, I’ve followed their first round series quite intently and in doing so, I’ve rediscovered my love for Chris Bosh. Bosh receives a lot of hate from the public for “copping-out” and following LeBron and Dwayne Wade to Miami. You see a guy taking the easy way out, I see a man whose such a competitor, he’s willing to sacrifice many of his touches for a championship ring. I respect Bosh because what you see is what you get. He’s not constantly vying for your affection like LeBron, he’s not pretending he’s something he’s not and sitting front row at fashion shows like Wade. He is just himself; He’s awkward, sensitive, talented and kind of nerdy and he’s comfortable in his own skin. He is comfortable enough and competitive enough and cares enough to break down crying on national television after the Heat lost to the Mavericks in the NBA finals last year, a series where he didn’t fold like many expected, didn’t run away from the ball like LeBron or make costly plays in key moments like Wade. And when they lost, he didn’t have this dumb smile on his face like LeBron, he showed passion.
He signed up to be part of the Big 3 and it quickly turned into the Big 2 and that other guy which is too bad because Bosh was the only one of the three that the Heat could truly rely on in the Finals last year. Bosh seems like a normal guy and that’s admirable. He is down to earth, stands on his own, and doesn’t feed the paparazzi. Take his bachelor party last year in Las Vegas dubbed “The Hangover 3”. The four-day, LeBron and Wade free bash included a trip to a shooting range, dinners at N9NE Steakhouse and Lavo, a Criss Angel show, a comedy show, paintball and a “Rat Pack” themed casino night at Caesars. Good, clean, low-key fun by someone whose not worried about fitting a stereotype. Oh Boshtrich, how I love you.
•This is the deepest talent pool the league has seen in a long time. Basketball is turning into a global game as evidenced by the increasing number of international stars currently in the NBA. Many old-timers speak about the NBA talent vs. hype and how the current group of players can’t hold a candle to the NBA heyday of the late 80s early 90s. What it boils down to is this feeling of nostalgia and people tending to like the things they grew up with. We’ve all been in the car listening to music when your dad starts shaking his head and mutters under his breath, “music these days” or audibly asks, “What is this crap? When I was growin’ up music used to be so much better.” I’m sure his dad said the same thing to him when he was younger.
When we are young, we build up sports stars to be larger than life figures and nobody will ever match the idols we grew up with. The players from your youth will always be immortal and untouchable. It’s human nature and the feelings are subjective, what’s “better” is in the eye of the beholder. But those who declare that the NBA is garbage and don’t watch are truly missing out on an incredibly high overall talent level and individual level of play.
•LeBron James is the greatest basketball player on the planet by a good margin. He may not be the second coming of Michael Jordan but is that such a bad thing? He’s the first coming of LeBron James and that’s good enough for me. Why do we feel the need to constantly make comparisons to players past? Let people establish their own identities. More focus should be on just how good LeBron is as opposed to how he isn’t as good as MJ. Did LeBron handle “the decision” the wrong way? Most definitely. Does he display narcissistic traits? Yes. But don’t let poor management decisions detract from how good of a basketball player he is. The league has never seen a better combination of size, strength and skill. His ability to finish through contact is unmatched, his court vision combined with his ability to see over the top of defenses is unparalleled and I wish more people would appreciate what they are watching.
•I know Derrick Rose is the reigning MVP but Chris Paul is the best point guard in the league and one of top 5 players in the NBA. His leadership was on full display during the Clippers monumental 4th quarter comeback against the Grizzlies in Game 1 and there is no one else I’d rather have quarter-backing my team.
•Speaking of Derrick Rose, it truly is a shame about his injury. Chicago and Miami were beginning to build a rivalry reminiscent of the Bulls-Pistons and Bulls-Knicks matchups in the 90s. Luckily for Chicago, they have had some experience playing without Rose this season but I just can’t see them making a long-run in the playoffs without their floor general.
•I really hope the Boston Celtics can advance a bit in the playoffs. This is potentially the last playoffs for the original “Big-3” and with Rose’s injury and the way they’ve played the second half of the season, the Celtics could make some serious noise going forward.
•The Indiana Pacers-Orlando Magic matchup is really not doing anything for me. Without Dwight Howard the Magic are really quite mediocre and while Indiana is a nice story and their core of young players is talented, they lack a go-to-guy. Danny Granger is very good, but he’s not great and with no closer, they will give away some games they shouldn’t, like Game 1 of this series.
•The potential matchup between the Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder is one of the most captivating possibilities of the playoffs. There are so many storylines at play here, including the recent concussion-inducing elbow thrown by the artist formerly known as Ron Artest. Also adding intrigue is the emergence of Lakers’ center Andrew Bynum who seems to be putting all the pieces together and is playing the best basketball of his life. The Kobe vs. Kevin Durant storyline is also very interesting. Kobe generally makes these matchups with his younger contemporaries personal, often to the detriment of his team’s chances and those watching Kobe this year will certainly realize he’s not the same player he was, regardless of what the stats say. Kobe is on the decline while Durant is on the upswing. Out of the NBA superstars, I can’t think of one who works harder than Kevin Durant. All he does is eat, sleep, ball and play video games. He keeps his nose clean and with him and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder could be poised for a deep playoff run and if this matchup comes to fruition, I see them coming out on top.