With all due respect to Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic, I want to spend a minute to focus on the two most interesting teams in the Eastern Conference. As a basketball fan, the Celtics-Cavs second round series brings us a level of intrigue and excitement that is suspiciously absent from our current Lakers-Jazz match-up.
It also presents a dilemma for Lakers fans across the nation: Who do we root for?
The Boston Celtics and their deplorable fan-base represent everything wrong with basketball. I hate the Celtics with more vigor that any other sports team in existence. I’m not alone, either. Lakers fans hold more contempt for the Celtics than they do for the Pistons, Jazz, Blazers, Kings, and Suns combined. From our basketball product to our way of life, Boston and LA simply couldn’t be more different. But that is what makes our rivalry so beautiful. We almost enjoy watching the Boston Celtics lose as much as we enjoy watching the Lakers win.
Then we have the Cleveland Cavaliers, a perennial doormat of a franchise. When we think Cleveland basketball, we think of them losing. The Shot. The Shot Part II. Ricky Davis and his “triple double”. Of course all that changed in 2003, when they won the lottery of lotteries and acquired the services of LeBron James. “The Chosen One”, as they call him, is the only man on the planet capable of going toe-to-toe with Lakers’ superstar Kobe Bryant. For a decade Kobe has ruled the court without a rival, but it finally looks like a worthy adversary has arrived.
As a Lakers fan I must admit, this is all a bit unsettling. The Iversons, Carters, McGradys, and Wades have come and gone, with Bryant emerging victorious in every case. The James Gang, however, is another story.
A different animal.
A worthy contender.
The media has crowned him King of the NBA for years, and this year he is supposed to win his first title to prove the coronation wasn’t premature. Everything was on schedule until Game 2 against Boston. Now Lebron has his hands full with the Celtics.
By now most of us have heard the rumors that Lakers fans are actually (gasp) rooting for the Boston Celtics to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. The reason, of course, is because Lakers fans are “afraid” of LeBron and his Cavs. While a small minority may feel that way, it’s certainly not the case for me. In a perfect world, the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers would play 7 hard fought games with the winner limping their way into the Eastern Conference Finals.
When I woke up this morning I didn’t care who wins the series, just as long as it isn’t easy.
But all that changed with an email I read from a die-hard Cleveland fan this morning.