Here we are boys and girls. The dog days of summer. The grueling time when the NHL Playoffs are winding down, the baseball season is just getting good, and those silly playoffs in the basketball world come to an end. Just like has been the style for pretty much the last four decades, Cleveland fans are left apathetic about the NBA Finals atmosphere as the champions are crowned and forever remembered.
So what the Los Angeles Lakers are playing in their upteenth appearance in the Finals, or Dwight Howard finally broke through with his no-longer injury-depleted Orlando Magic. The Cavs are not playing anymore, and I really couldn’t care about either one of these teams at all. It is just like watching the World Series in 2007, or the Super Bowls in those Elway years, or the BCS National Championship last year. Sure we lost to some of those teams and those losses stung incredibly bad, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter.
This entire disease should be entitled the “Cleveland Apathy.” While the greatest champions in the history of sports are forever etched into sports glory, for the 45th consecutive calendar year it looks like we Northeast Ohio fans will not be celebrating at the very end. Seriously, how can people even stand to watch the Finals this season? I am a huge basketball fan, do not get me wrong on that at all, but after the heart-wrenching defeat suffered by the Cavaliers in the Conference Finals, I am just about sick of the NBA for this year. Come back in October stories about LeBron in 2010 or our inability to stop a low-post scorer. I need a break from all of this Cavs madness.
So let’s break down what could happen for either side in the Finals this season just to show how it really doesn’t affect that much. The Lakers-Magic series is not the epic LeBron-Kobe matchup everyone and their grandmother was hoping for, and thus it just seemed to lose all of its flavor.
Lakers Win – Kobe gets that monkey off his back, finally proving that he can win a championship without Shaq. Pau Gasol is finally treated as the superstar that he is, while Dwight Howard promises he will come back hungry for more in the 2009-2010 season. Phil Jackson retires after winning his first championship since returning back to LA, and everyone predicts a Lakers-Magic Finals again in 2010 as all of the rosters remain intact.
Magic Win – Dwight Howard is anointed as the third best player in the NBA, as well as the best defender and best center since Shaquille O’Neal in his prime. Plus, he is still only 23 years old and the youngest superstar to win a championship practically by himself since Dwyane Wade led the Heat four years ago. The Lakers begin to fall apart, as Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza both promise to test the free agent markets in the off-season and Kobe requests to be traded only to rescind that request two minutes later.
All of this sound familiar? That is because it truly is not that exciting. Way to go NBA, I was really thinking the playoffs were going to be scripted once the Cavaliers fell down 3-1, but no you had to just let Howard win and this bore of a Finals take place. O well fellow Cleveland fans, let’s just starting hoping that the Indians turn it around and make up that six-game margin in the Central Division. That’s pretty much the only thing interesting that will take place till LeBron and co. start action again in the fall.