There’s an old saying that goes, “If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody's around to hear it, does it make a sound?” It’s strange how a saying like this can apply to the NBA Playoffs, but in fact it does. This isn’t a story about the Knicks taking stadium sounds out to make the game more authentic, or another player not responding to the always active Twitter fingers around the league. It’s about a player putting on memorable performance night after night while everyone’s attention is elsewhere, as if he’s playing in an arena all by himself.
With Kevin Durant slated to return right before the playoffs while teams are disrespecting the Celtics to the point where they’re being crowned the worst top seed of all time, people already have their minds made up on how the playoffs will go. LeBron and company will rally together like some sort of underdog team in a mildly entertaining sports movie while the stage is set for the Spurs and the Warriors to give us a bloodbath of a Western Conference Finals. Fast forward to June, skip the spring, and get on with it.
In a Ronda Rousey-less world, where ratings are somewhat normal by MMA standards. When the world of Boxing has no real superstar headliner to turn to. Living in a society where robot fighting and fighter genre video games will probably be larger sporting draws in the near future, who does the world have to depend on? Two of combat sports biggest stars, if not their biggest, in Conor McGregor and Floyd “Money” Mayweather, that’s who.
After this NBA season, the majority of NBA writers and fans have the same basic idea on who is in the running for the MVP of the league. You may get a hipster or two that will throw a number of advanced statistics they casually have at the ready as they argue for Kawhi Leonard. You have some of the LeBron lovers voicing about why they believe King James is the most valuable player in the league two seasons before he even started. Then, you have the rest of the league who believes this is a two man race between James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
We’re all familiar with the LOOGY, the “Lefty One Out Guy”. He’s a left handed relief pitcher whose entire job is to come into a game in a high leverage situation and get a single left-handed batter out. It’s a very niche role, but some players, like Jesse Orosco and Randy Choate, made entire careers out of it.
It’s not a secret that the NBA has gotten softer. We marvel about the talent that we’re lucky enough to see every single day but realistically, the league itself is not the same. Yes, this is a “get off my lawn” take, which goes hand in hand with starting every sentence with the cliche’ “back in my day” but the day and age of rivalries in the NBA certainly seems dead.