Here are 10 observations from an Englishman forced to watch the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors..
There are many things I don’t understand in the world:
Why people smoke shisha from a hookah?
Why do I press the buttons really, really, hard on my remote control when the batteries are dead?
On Father’s Day, my wife’s family gathered around the TV set to watch the NBA Finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers versus the Golden State Warriors. Everyone in the room was from California and yet they all wanted the Cavs to win because of LeBron James.
The Cavs won 93-89. Apparently, it was a big deal because no team had ever come from behind from a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3. My brother-in-law kept saying, ‘man, this is awesome,’ and I kept assuming he was talking about the kimchi because I just didn’t get it.
So as Kyrie Irving was shooting the most important basket of his life, I started making notes of the all the things that were bugging the shit out of me.
It’s a long list.
1. Why is the Court so Small?
If you are seven feet tall and live in America, then the chances are high that you will eventually become a millionaire. Data taken from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that 17% of people who are seven feet tall plus will one day compete in the NBA and become rich and famous.
So why make the courts so small?
2. How Long?
Yesterday, I learned a basketball game is four quarters of 12-minutes each, for a total of 48-minutes. And so it was difficult for me not to laugh when I heard the commentary team going on about what great athletes they were.
Despite the game only lasting 48-minutes, I sat in front of the TV for over three hours. That’s more breaks than a leg riddled with osteoporosis, and means my grandmother could probably manage a full quarter of NBA action, and she’s dead.
3. What’s the Point?
When you play football (or soccer in America), it’s difficult to score a goal. There is only a few each game, and so each one is precious. In the Cavs vs. Warriors game, they were scoring an average of 3.7 points per minute.
And that got me thinking.
The excitement arrived in the final minute of the game because up until that point; one team would score and then the next team would score. So we ended up watching for over three hours waiting to see Irving score that final three-pointer.
The next time I watch an NBA match I am going to ask someone to give me a shout with a minute left, because that’s the only part of the match worth watching.
4. One Man Team
Everything I know about basketball I learned playing on the PlayStation in the 90s and the last time I had a joypad in my hands the game was played five versus five with at least another ten players on the bench who could move in and out of the game during timeouts.
As previously explained, Kyrie Irving was the man who won the game for the Cavs, and there were other standout displays. And yet at the final whistle, it became the most over the top celebration of a one man band I have ever seen.
Every player on that team was a star, and yet the sideline reporter kept asking the winning players to comment on the genius of their teammate. The cameras were focused entirely on him. At the final whistle, LeBron James grabbed hold of the trophy and wouldn’t let anyone else touch it.
It was enough to make me puke.
5. Let’s go Defence
You seriously need some better anthems in the stands.
If I were American and had to watch NBA, I would never look at a live match. I would tape them all and watch them with my finger on the fast forward button. Nobody in the world likes to watch ads. They should use ads as a form of torture in the prisoner of war camps.
It was also good to see that they got their priorities straight. At the end of the game when thousands of Cleveland Cavalier fans at home were waiting to get in on the celebrations the TV broadcaster cuts to an advert about the WNBA.
The Cavs have just won the first NBA title in their history. Giants are breaking down in floods of tears like little kids who have been told they can’t have candy, confetti is fluttering down from the stands, the fans are going wild, and in walks Doris.
If you have never watched NBA before, Doris is the most miserable sideline reporter I have ever seen in sporting history. I have never heard a more deadpan monotone voice. It was like handing the mic to Sadness from Inside Out.
And then it suddenly hit me.
That’s why they have so many ads.
It’s to get the fuck away from Doris.
8. The Presentation
What a pile of pants the celebration was.
Who were those people?
In football, it’s very simple. The team win the cup, and so the captain of the team lifts the trophy before handing it to every other player on that team. If the manager is lucky, he might also get to touch it.
In the NBA, the trophy was passed to the franchise owner. Are you kidding me? Who gives a shit about this guy? Give the cup to a Cavs player – not LeBron because he will never give it to anyone else – and let the crowd go wild as they hold it aloft.
There was too much talking for my liking, and not enough celebratory cup lifts.
There is nothing wrong with a man crying. I cry all of the time, especially when it comes to sport. It’s an emotional event. But what happened to the Cavs players at the final whistle was a little bit strange. It was as if they had watched reruns of Bambi, The Champ, and Bridges of Madison County. They were wailing. I had never seen anything like it.
10. Ski Goggles?
The players have made history. They get back to the changing rooms. Someone grabs a bottle of champagne.
“Wow! Wow! Wow! What if we get some bubbly in our eyes!”
What a great point.
Fortunately, someone had the presence of mind to hand everyone ski goggles. So in the midst of the Cavs celebration, everyone stopped what they were doing, and donned ski masks before celebrating with their champagne looking like very big versions of Phil Laak.