The 2013 NBA finals feature two teams that any long time Maverick fan hates. On the one hand, there are the San Antonio Spurs, who have long played the role of 'big brother', beating Dallas just often enough and in ways so frustrating to become a life long anathema. On the other we have the Miami Heat, the team the Mavericks lost to in painful fashion in 2006 before eventually getting their revenge in 2011.
Assuming you aren't rooting for both teams to lose, who are you supporting in the finals? Mae West is famous for saying "When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before". I assume she wasn't choosing between hated rivals when making that statement.
I hadn't really given this argument much thought until I took a glance at facebook on Sunday night. Usually I only log on to that particular social network once a day or so, opting for the immediate feedback and chatroom feel of Twitter. I was suprised to see so many people rooting for the Heat. "How", I wondered, "could so many people be rooting for a team that caused Dallas so much pain and frustration?"
When posited I had it thrown back in my face to some degree. 'It's the SPURS man. I hate the Spurs. I will never NOT hate the Spurs", one friend told me. A valid argument, one I'd come to underestimate as my hatred has ebbed into a healthy respect as the Spurs have kept chugging along for better than half my life.
There's really an argument to be had for supporting either side. Folks who happen to like the Heat in this match up tend to enjoy the sheer brilliance of Lebron James. This is a man who regularly committs feats of basketball so absurd that we can't properly process it. He's so good he's become boring. They also point out that this particular Heat team also only has two players from the 2006 title squad: DWade and Udonis Haslem. The Flying Death Machine is a fun team to watch and latch on to, particularly if it means beating the crap out of our neighbors to the south.
For me, the Spurs were the easier team to hitch my wagon to. They play such a fluid and beautiful brand of basketball it's hard not to get caught up watching their ball movement. Tony Parker is so insanely good at abusing opposing point guards it's nearly become mundane. Kawhi Leonard is the kind of player every single team in the NBA would love to have; his defense and swagger is really a sight to behold. Tim Duncan is the best forth option ever. And Tiago Splitter... how can you not root for a guy who seems like the 7 feet tall version of all of us? And Coach Pop seems like the scariest man alive.
Hating each of these teams is also really, shockingly easy. The Heat are so talented and arrogant that one roots against them the way other countries root against the United States. Chris Bosh vacilitates between excellent and terrible. DWade flops and pouts and travels and doesn't play defense and wears man-capris. Lebron has that dang headband. Chris Anderson plays like a jerk. The Miami PA announcer is the spawn of Satan. Mario Chalmers is ridiculous. Eric Spolestra walks on to the floor and coaches like he's reading catch phrases out of a manual found at Barnes and Noble. Mike Miller's haircut, ugh.
The Spurs have been so good for so long that we all, at some point, have wished for them to go away. Tim Duncan makes the absurd Tim Duncan face. Tony Parker falls to the ground all the time. Manu Ginobli hits insane shots he has no business making and also has that terrible bald spot. Spurs fans are insuffereable in their martyrdom. The Riverwalk and it's existence. Boris Diaw is fatter than fat and yet is still somehow good. "GO SPURS GO" is so freaking annoying. Manu flopping and flopping and flopping. Matt Bonner is an evil ginger.
How can anyone support either team? Gah, after typing all that out I hate both of these teams so, so much. I guess I'm still sticking with the Spurs, but I can understand if you think I'm crazy. Let us know who you are rooting for and why in the comments.