|All I want for Christmas is you. (Photo “courtesy” of Zimbio.com)|
ESPN has been frothing at the mouth for months at the possible (and once-upon-a-time seemingly laughable) return of the NBA, following a “lockout” that cancelled only two-to-three months of action.
The NBA will return on Christmas Day, and ESPN has compiled a list of the top stories coming into the 2011/12 season. In our opinion, however, this list is far too specific and far too aimed at people who are actually, like, you know… fans.
For most of us, basketball and hockey are lumped into the, “Wake me up when the playoffs arrive” category. In the North American grand scheme of things, they’re what’s on TV when football, college football, and NCIS aren’t.
If the United States was a circus tent, basketball and hockey are the monkeys with the cymbals. They are smarter and have more personality than the elephants, but everyone comes to see the trunks and tusks.
Here’s what White Cover is looking forward to watching in this shortened NBA season…
1. Kevin Durant, Brian Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder
- For real, though, these guys are the most exciting team to watch since the Phoenix Suns were winning games. They make Oklahoma City look cool which is hard to do because of the whole, like, Oklahoma thing.
2. The Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Minnesota Timberwolves
- Just kidding.
3. Manu Ginobili flinging his head every time he takes a lay up
- Ginobili flops more than a pancake, a salmon and a Portuguese soccer player combined. Watching Ginobili go for layups, make it, and then yell like Maria Sharapova is highly irritating and infuriating (especially because the Spurs continue to win), but provides us with an easy laugh and always desirable, “It’s funny because he’s foreign” thing.
4. An old, boring team beating the Miami Heat in the Finals again
- Word to the newbie: if you’re cheering for the Miami Heat and the Three Amigos to win a championship, you’re swimming upstream. Last year, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd had us believing that old white guys could actually dance. This year, the Spurs, Lakers, and Mavericks could be older and back at it again…
5. Lockout commercials
- The only saving grace for hockey fans during the 2004/05 NHL lockout was that Molson Canadian and Coors Light came up with some brilliant commercials to help us cope. The NBA is back, but here’s hoping that Smirnoff, Lexus, and Pepsi still air the ads they were hoping to. Or, at least, come up with ones to “welcome” the NBA back.
6. Burning jerseys
- There’s no reason to believe that Cleveland will burn jerseys in the streets again, or that any NBA city will, but it was highly entertaining and it made the world, for once, care about Cleveland. How many times did you say, “That’s so shameful or LeBron for leaving!” at the TV that night even though you would never move there in a million years?
7. The Curious Case of Rasheed Wallace’s Head
- Rasheed Wallace has had the same bald spot for years, and it’s never gotten bigger or disappeared… it’s a miraculous thing, and I’m truly shocked that Las Vegas odds makers haven’t picked up on it yet.
8. A happy Bill Simmons
- This is a case of “it’s good news as long as it doesn’t become bad news,” because Simmons and Grantland.com were putting up some really solid pieces on hockey and other forgotten sports. Their only real basketball story in the past two months was about Charlotte Hornets gear by Starter from the mid-1990′s, and that was a damn good column. Now, however, Bill Simmons will return to being a giddy basketball fan and that’s a good thing, because a happy Bill means high-quality content from the world’s greatest sports network, ESPN. At the same time, let’s hope it doesn’t mean the end of Simmons’s season tickets with the L.A. Kings, or the columns of Katie Baker.
9. A sequel to Coach Carter
- Maybe? Pllllllleeeeeeease?
10. Philadelphia returning to its spot above Pittsburgh in the national consciousness
- Okay, so it’s not as if the Philadelphia 76′ers are going to do anything, or that anybody actually cares, but the city of Pittsburgh has teams in every sports North American sports league besides the NBA, and they were really having a good winter… I mean, all of a sudden, the World Series ends and the two biggest sports on this side of the Atlantic are football and hockey… Cha Ching! That’s all Pittsburgh cares about! (And, they’re great at both.) Now, however, basketball has returned, and that means that Pittsburgh is irrelevant again in half of the Big Four (which is really a two-tiered system, with football and baseball as 1a and 1b), and that Philadelphia is once again the most dominant sports market in Pennsylvania. It’s not that anybody likes Philly more than Pitt, it’s just that balance has been restored.
- This can apply to any sport, but people love highlight montages mixed to rap songs by Jay-Z, Kanye, and Rihanna… or Coldplay. The return of dunks, alley-oops, and Kobe Bryant only gives us more montages, and that’s a good thing.
That’s it. “We” couldn’t think of 12.