So, no Kobe vs. LeBron. It's hard not to be upset. It really is. Cleveland-LA would have been great. Could have been great. There was the potential for a seven-game series, and lots of close games decided by the two best players in the world.
Now that that's out of the way, we can get to the ranting. Here it comes.
David Stern deserves this. Nike deserves this. Don't think I've forgotten you either, Vitamin Water. Millions of dollars will be lost for ABC and the NBA due to a lack of Kobe-LeBron. True NBA fans will still watch this series, but I know a handful who have already told me that they won't be glued to the boob tube for the Finals.
Nike loses out with their puppets. No more (admittedly awesome) 1-on-1 puppet basketball games. Unfortunately, they can't bust out a Dwight Howard puppet because, unlike the chosen two, he's signed with Adidas. Oh no!
Vitamin Water another culprit here. The "Boy Gets His Vitamins" commercial was cool...the first couple of times. What really irked me was that those spots originated during the conference semifinals! Umm, eager much? Seriously, I think Dwight Howard gets his vitamins, too. I mean, just look at the
beast man. His shoulders should have their own zip codes. Even A-Rod wants to know what Howard uses to bulk up (hint hint: it's called hard work).
Finally, there's the commish himself. I know the NBA is a superstar's league, but come on. Even I had to agree with Bill Simmons about how often and easily LeBron got to the foul line against Orlando. Same for Kobe, though not as much. David Stern needs to do a better job getting his referees trained. Or, at least add a couple more during the playoffs. It wouldn't be too hard. One underneath the basket, two on the sidelines, and two at the wings. It's not like the NBA pays refs much money. They're not losing much money on that. Stern also has to make the game fair for everyone, not just teams with superstars that he can pimp out to the rest of the country and world.
Finally, there's one dirty little secret you should know about an LA-Orlando series: Orlando is good. Really good. They swept the Lakers this year, though both games were before the All-Star break. Both games were high scoring affairs (106-103 and 109-103). Jameer Nelson could be back, which would be a great story (if the league actually cares anymore). He played extremely well in both wins. No one on the Lakers can guard Rashard Lewis or Hedo Turkoglu, though Lamar Odom will have to try. Plus, there's one last story that no one will want to miss.
I'm talking, of course, about Adam Morrison vs. J.J. Redick. This is one exciting matchup that everyone has eagerly anticipated from the beginning of their respective careers. We'll all be on the edge of our seats for that one. Or at least all the Gonzaga and Duke fans will be. Or will it just be me?
So listen up David Stern. Talent has spoken. The Magic rule the day. Now get out here and try not to think about money. Who knows? You might just have an entertaining series on your hands.