I can imagine, during Russell Westbrook’s first game versus the warriors, there’s gonna be a moment. A sliver in time where the long-limbed athletic maelstrom of warriors perimeter defense is going to slip, and in that moment Westbrook will enter the lane with the kind of forceful rudeness reserved for the Kool-Aid guy bursting through the walls of unsuspecting suburbanites. Once there Russell will rise and dunk the ball so hard there will be tectonic shifts in the upper crust of the earth that will have an old man in Mozambique questioning whether the end times are upon him, but then some cheeky kid will laugh, pull down his headphones, and look up from his tablet just to give him a withering stare reminiscent of Will Smith in “Parents Just Don’t Understand” to let him know that “nah pop that’s just Russell Westbrook.” Never mind that Russell will most likely have an atrocious shooting percentage, or that coming off the first game of a back-to-back, the legs of he and his teammates will probably be shot… none of that matters. The people are here for fireworks, and Russell Westbrook is coming armed with a whole trunk of illegal joints he bought on the side of the highway.
This is akin to when you see your ex out in public and you need to show just how much better you are off without them. Except in this example, your ex started dating a doctor who does pro-bono work in impoverished countries in his free time. You are going to end up taking the L in this cold-war, but you have to try. There needs to be camera that just follows Westbrook’s facial expressions throughout the course of the game. I would suggest a mic, but how much actual words would we hear beyond the primal screams and curse words?
All Hail the Villains
Are the Golden State Warriors going to fully embrace their villainy? Has Draymond Green been working with Chuck Norris in the off-season to perfect his roundhouse kicks? Will the whole team grow mustaches like Steven Adams? Will they be hipster bad guys? You know the type who refuse to kiss babies and shake hands, but draw the line at eating meat and argue during practices about the best craft IPA of the season? Will Kevin Durant do a rehash of his old Footlocker commercials and start going around shirtless at Oakland day parties? Will Riley Curry start a gang that involves all the other children of players, and go around pulling off pranks that become progressively less cute and increasingly dangerous? Will Steph and Ayesha Curry have to stage an intervention for their daughter where they have to let her know, that her addiction to ring pops is tearing the family apart? Most importantly, will making “3-1 lead” jokes ever get old? That’s about as likely as Draymond Green NOT getting suspended for Game 5 of the NBA Finals after repeatedly hitting dudes in the in-seam like an in-seam seeking missile.
The Ghost of Kobe Past
Is Kobe Bryant going to be like that creepy 19 year old who graduated, but keeps coming back to hangout around the old stomping grounds of his high school? Is Kobe going to be like that old grizzled sales veteran at your job who any chance he gets, reminds you that he used to play and was “pretty nice with the orange” back in his day? Is D’Angelo Russell going to try and show everybody there’s a new sheriff in town, by doing a mash-up of the “mamba scowl” & “ice in my veins”? Is Brandon Ingram going to start wearing Kanye-inspired “I feel like Kobe” tees that are printed on Gildan shirts? Which ends up being a statement or microcosm of the state of the Lakers at large, a cheap knockoff we been bamboozled into thinking is the real thing just because of the name on the front of the jersey? How long before that encroaching bald-spot on the back of Luke Walton’s head, turns into a full blown cul-de-sac, with much-too-high HOA fees and neighbors who bring down the property value by never taking care of their yard?
I have a lot of questions, and not a lot of answers. That is the beauty of the NBA, as much as we always know who the top teams will be, probably more than any sport… the stories and characters more than make up for it.
Warriors over Cavs in 6
Kevin Durant – MVP (James Harden runner-up)
Joel Embiid – ROY
Dennis Schroeder – MIP
Jordan Clarkson – 6th Man
Follow my leisurely rants about sports, fried chicken sammiches, and sneakers @JothamKabuye