NBA Finals to the rescue!

By Stephen Markley

For RedEye

12:13 PM CDT, June 4, 2014


I know everyone's disappointed about the Blackhawks, but hear me out: It's cool. We got the NBA Finals.

I'm sure NBA fans are disappointed that we won't see a Durant-LeBron matchup, but I cannot wait to see the Spurs and Heat run this back. Last year's finals was probably one of the best of my lifetime. This year's first round—between Damian Lillard's sub-second heroics and five Game 7's—was one of the best I can remember, and now, yet again, we have the dynasty of Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich and every ball movement manual versus the guy trying to wrest the mantle of Greatest Player of All Time out of a certain Chicago shooting guard's grip.

Obviously, I'm an NBA fan. I wrote to Chris Sosa, RedEye sports editor, a couple of weeks ago and basically said, "You gotta let me write about how great the NBA playoffs are! You just gotta, man. Please."

(And he was like, "Um, OK, what about?" And I was like, "Everything, man! Everything! How this has been one of the best playoffs in modern memory, and why they're such an incredible spectacle—the best athletes in the world going full bore, wow!—and why between LBJ, Durant and the Spurs, this is a golden age on par with the era of Larry/Magic/Michael …" Then the RedEye editors discussed how badly I needed a stable relationship and a hobby—possibly leatherworking.)

I'm only passionate because the NBA is underappreciated. Maybe I'm paranoid, but I'll often hear the same litany of complaints: "No one plays defense." "They're rich, spoiled superstars who don't care." "I like college better because it's about heart and not money."

These arguments are, in order, untrue, obviously true and therefore not true, or total fantasies concocted around the NCAA-sponsored myth of the student athlete. Meanwhile, if you watch these NBA finals, you're going to see one of the most efficient displays of sports talent by a bunch of athletic freakshows, who apparently all suffer from Marfan syndrome, a disorder of the body's connective tissue that elongates the arms. What's not to love?

Going into the Spurs-Heat series, much of the talk will be about who will burnish his legacy, Duncan or LeBron, but I'm begging you to just enjoy what happens on the court. If you do, I promise I won't write you raving emails demanding you love my precious (let's be clear: I do not promise that).

RedEye special contributor Stephen Markley is the author of "Publish This Book."

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