Thank You Notes to the NBA

Another NBA article – I can see Muels rolling his eyes. Be patient m’amigo we’ll get back to your topics. Besides I am waiting for you to weigh in on the Letterman and Weis stuff below.

I grew up on the ‘70’s NBA. A time when many games were seen via delayed broadcast. Friday nights in March and April meant the NBA on CBS. Names like ‘Hondo’ Havlicek, George ‘Iceman’ Gervin and the finger roll, ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich, Kareem and the ‘sky hook’ and Dr. J permeated my daily vernacular. I loved ‘Downtown’ Freddie Brown and Jack Sikma with the high post reverse-pivot and the jumper. Ernie D. and Bob McAdoo played for the Braves.

I was a vagabond fan. I cheered for Dr. J, Caldwell Jones, Bobby (not the brother of the aforementioned Caldwell) Jones, Chocolate Thunder and the 6ers in ’77. They lost to Dr. Jack Ramsey, Bill Walton, and Lionel Hollins. I rooted for the Bullets in ’78 when they topped the Super Sonics. I even recall rooting for the Suns in ’76.

The NBA was a great league and a ‘hip’ league. Because of its limited exposure not everybody paid attention to pro hoops. It seemed like only a select group of us growing up actually would discuss the happenings in the NBA. That made its allure even greater.

The 70’s became the 80’s. Bird and Magic made it even more special. I cheered lustily for Moses Malone, Calvin Murphy, Rick Barry, and company as they took on the mighty Celts – ya gotta cheer for the underdog. Then came His Airness. Then the Bad Boys. It was great.

Somewhere between MJ’s foray into fly swatting and the pervasive petulance, I lost interest. My vision became clouded by the entourages and the romanticizing of the thug life.

Earlier this season I was in the middle of one of my everything-that-is-wrong-with-the-NBA rants when JD stopped me in my tracks. “When was the last time you actually watched a game?” He asked. I stopped, cleared my throat, and tried to start rationalizing. JD interrupted. “When was the last time you actually tried to appreciate an NBA game?”

It was one of those rare occasions where I was rendered speechless. With tail firmly between my legs I vowed to prove to JD that the league was still not worthy of my time. That was December. And now I must confess, my love for the NBA has been rekindled. And so here are my thank yous:

Mr. Steve Nash: Thank you for the crossover and the bounce pass.

The Phoenix Suns: Thank you for running the floor and playing fast but not hurrying.

Mr. Tim Duncan: Thank you for using the glass. The Wizard of Westwood must smile every time he sees that.
Manu Ginobili: Thank you for the triple threat.

The San Antonio Spurs: Thank you for the pick’n’roll.

D. Wade: Thank you for letting the game come to you. And thank you for your choice of numbers – the Holy Trinity.

Thank you Don Nelson for letting your team play without a conscience – your most important shot is your next one.

Thank you Golden State for the sea of yellow.

Thank you LeBron for the athleticism.

Thank you to the Chicago Bulls for keeping it simple on the offensive end of the floor.

Thank you to the Detroit Pistons for playing defense like their lives depended upon it.

Thank you Jason Kidd for the triple-doubles. I love it for no other reason than we get to see footage of Magic and Bird. Makes one realize how impressive of a feat was Oscar Robertson’s triple-double for an entire season (’62-’63).

Almost forgot (yes this is an edit) thank you AI! Yes, thank you AI for your deft movements on the court. Please avoid putting your Reeboks in your mouth!!!!!!!!

Thank you Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Chris Duhon, and even Mike Dunleavy pickin’ splinters for adding a Duke flavor to the playoffs.

Last but not least, thank you JD.

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