Every year around this time I look for a date for the Prom. Figuratively of course. I like to decide on my rooting interests in a way that I was never able to literally choose my special companion as an awkward teenager: weighing the pros and cons, making lists of strengths of weaknesses, and finally landing upon which beauty of beauties will win my heart and bask in the glow my adoring visage. It’s a bit odd, but I’m sure it’s an improvement on what some poor old bastards turn to when it comes to losing drool over pictures of Miley Cyrus, or any of those who make up the Hannah Intifada (my apologies to the Kiss Army and the Ayatollah for that one). This year, just like with the real thing so many years ago, I am stuck without a date.
I mean LA? Orlando? I just can’t stomach it. And to think of what could have and should have been. The NBA, and the basketball world, could have seen a complete revitalization with a Denver-Cleveland Finals. For one thing, we could have seen two teams with enough depth to be considered as nearly great. That might be stretching things, but I would take it all the same. Forget great, because there just doesn’t look to be any way to construct a great team anymore. But Denver’s rise brought them up to a level, as a team, that was at least remarkable. And Cleveland, though they seemed to peak sometime around January, had all the pieces to be much more than just Lebron for a change. Now maybe they both just go and ugly the whole series up for each other anyway. Who’s to say? But one over-riding factor would have made it worthwhile no matter what (not including the fact that there would be no Lakers or Magic).
Enter Anderson Andersen. That could have been huge. Take last season’s promotional split screens and up them with a complete morphing of the two energy players into one freakshow persona. Just thinking about the possibilities delights me. This would be the closest to the WWE the game has gotten since Rodman and Malone, and it would blow that matchup out of the water. Our morphed Anderson Andersen character would put Little Penny to shame. Even without legendary plays, there would at least be a legendary concept.
The league would have surely had the foresight to make the bold move of playing the first two games in neutral sites. Imagine half of an arena filled with mop heads, and another half filled with faux-hawks. Stern could even choose to play one of those games in Madison Square Gardens where they’ve seen much more WWE than any NBA Finals. How glorious could that be? What a story. There wouldn’t be a celebrity dying of erotic asphyxiation that could get any mention anywhere.
The buzz would simply be unbeatable, and why not? The Super Bowl has figured out how to get people interested in sub-par games. The NBA really needs to catch up, and I mean it really needs to, because sub-par is fast becoming the term I expect to apply to the NBA playoffs in general. I mean if they came up with one of those word clouds for Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, the fattest fonts would be applied to ‘BAD” and “INEXSCUSABLE” and the like. That’s not to say that I missed the nice plays here and there. I just can’t get past all the horrible turnovers, clanked shots, and long stretches of uninspired play reminiscent of pre-season fare.
And it continues now into the Finals, and a Finals devoid of Anderson Andersen. I can only imagine Lebron sitting in his mansion and sulking over the in-game clinic of bad shots that the Magic have put on for all the youngsters hoping to achieve the highest level of suckiness one day. It can’t seem fair. These guys couldn’t miss a jumper, and now they’ve already given us at least two of the top ten ugliest shots of all time. Thanks for saving that beauty for the Finals Monsieur Pietrus.
So I’ve got the madness in Stan Van’s eyes and little else. Dateless again. And I wanted so much to give the boys in Disney blue a fair chance. By beating the Lakers they could have made me love them. I suppose maybe they still can. Dwight is hitting his free throws and actually looking like it matters whether he wins or not. There does appear to be a heart beating beneath all that brawn. I swear that he might not be putting it all in God’s hands. Which would be great since it would leave God with more time to save the odd starving child or something. And anyway - he can thank God after the wins, and say that God made it all possible - but where does that leave him after each loss? Does he still have to thank God for making the losses possible? Because that’s a little rough right there, especially with the mad eyes of Stan Van staring him down. Just forget the scriptures for a moment then, and make it happen D12. I want to be able to love you like every other Laker killer in my long personal tradition of simply hating the purple and gold. There’s still that chance of saving the prom, of claiming a date for myself while the last dance plays on. And there’s always the after party.