Heat, Thunder, and a Chance of Rain…

So the 2012 Weather Channel Finals begin tonight in Oklahoma City. It’s still weird to me to say “Oklahoma City” in reference to an NBA franchise.  It’s just wrong on so many levels, and I’m not even from Seattle.

What could have been…

See, that’s the reason I’m very conflicted about the Finals this year. With the Oklahoma City ZombieSonics playing South Beach Hollywood as Hell for the title, there is no good outcome. A Miami victory not only validates their premature title celebration in the summer of 2010, but it takes away my one key argument against Lebron James: he doesn’t have what it takes to win a championship. Full disclosure: I’ve been drinking the LBJ Haterade long before “the Decision.” Plus, D-Wade is a jerk.

Better than Prometheus?

On the other hand, while the OKC Thunder is not a hard team to root for if you just consider the players on the roster, Game 1 of the Finals should be played in Seattle tonight. It’s always tough when teams change cities, but it’s even tougher when it’s a franchise as storied as the Seattle Supersonics. It’s even worse when said team was bought by an out of town owner who had no intentions on keeping them in their city, but held the city for ransom nonetheless. So, I guess what I’m saying is Clay Bennet is a jerk.

Which brings me back to square one. Who to root for? It’s like what the tagline of Alien vs. Predators so eloquently said, “Whoever Wins, We Lose!”

So after the jump, I’m going to run down all my reasons for and against rooting for each team in the Finals this year.

Let’s start with the Miami Heat.

Thank the old gods and the new for Joakim Noah.

I’ve already stated my disdain for this team. Full disclosure, I’m a dyed in the wool fan of the Chicago Bulls. So, in my estimation, whoever wins the title this year will have a big, fat asterisk next to their name: for winning a title in a lockout-shortened season. And for Derrick Rose’s knee.  Also, being a fan of the Bulls, it’s written that you cannot under any circumstances root for the Heat. It’s in the contract.

If the Heat win, I’m trademarking #Sposanity now.

That said, the only reason I can think of to root for the Heat is for their head coach Eric Spoelstra. Long before #Linsanity took over the world, Coach Spo was arguably the most important Asian American in the NBA. When he took over the Heat in 2008, Spoelstra, who’s Filipino, became the first Asian American head coach in any of the major American pro sports (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL). At the time, I even wrote about it over on Rice Daddies. So I guess it would be nice to see an APA coach hoisting the Larry O’Brien, but even if the Heat were to win the title, I get the feeling Spo won’t get any of the credit. And I think he’s been unfairly criticized throughout the Big Three era. Sure, he was outcoached by Doc Rivers in four of the seven Conference Finals games, but Doc’s one of the best coaches in the game. I also feel bad for Spo because it’s obvious at times that Wade and James aren’t really listening to him. But I guess good coaching is also convincing your best players to listen to you even if they don’t like you. Other wise known as “why Phil Jackson is Better than Mike Brown” theory.

But yeah, other than ethnic pride, I gots no other reason to cheer on LBJ, D-Wade and their pet dinosaur.

OKC is more complicated. I’ve already stated that rooting for them is tantamount to cheering for other NBA cities to be treated like Seattle. But more than that, cheering for OKC means I have to support a team with a truly horrendous logo. Really, have you seen the Thunder logo? It’s awful. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. And their road unis are the worst. Seriously, the font and the typography of it are just atrocious. People actually paid someone loads of money to “design” that? Seriously?! Nevermind the whole Seattle fiasco, I can’t root for a team with such an awful brand identity.

KD’s going bungee jumping after the presser

On the other hand, I love KD. Dude is so fluid on the court. And I always make sure I’m not downloading “Doodle Jump” when a Thunder game is on. Plus, I seriously love that he single-handedly tried to make wearing backpacks cool a couple years ago. Also, he reps the DMV.

Oh, you know who else is kicking themselves over the Thunder’s ascension? The Portland Trailblazers. Remember, Durant went second in the 2007 draft and the Blazers had the number one pick that year. And you know whenever Portland has a choice between a dynamic, high-scoring, charismatic, franchise-building superstar and an injury-prone big man, they’re always going to go for the big man. It’s their gift and their curse.

An OKC title also means a sixth ring for D-Fish, officially making him the Steve Kerr of the 21st century. (Wonder how Kobe will feel about that.) The other reason to root for OKC?

Two words: the beard.

Would I love to see Durant crowned an NBA champion before Lebron? God, yes! Imagine the following scenario: it’s game 7 in OKC with the score tied in the waning moments and Durant rises up to nail a three with 10 seconds left on the clock. In the ensuing possession, James plays hot potato with D-Wade until Mario Chalmers throws up a desperation three that clanks against the back of the rim while time expires. That would be glorious.

Of course, that would also mean Clay Bennet (who I admit is way eviler than Lebron) would be handed the trophy by Stuart Scott. And the entire city of Seattle would burst into tears (it’ll probably already be raining) while Shawn Kemp and Xavier McDaniel turn over in their graves.

I’m sure Thunder-Heat is going to be a hell of an entertaining series to watch, and to be honest, I really don’t have a dog in this fight.


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