Year after year, my homies and I debate the same handful of questions at the start of the NBA season, among them, “Who’s coming out of the Eastern and Western Conferences?” As a self-loathing Orlando Magic fan I can regrettably say I have given the same, hopeless answer for the last four years – “LeBron and the ‘Heatles,’ and anyone but the Spurs.” And yet, here we are: the Big Fundamental and his merry Europeans are back. To be honest though, I’m not too mad about it this time around. How could you not get excited for this matchup? Just take a step back and look at what’s at stake, it’s an ESPN 30 for 30 in the making. The defending champions are on the heels of solidifying the first dynasty to come out of the Eastern Conference since the ’96-’98 Bulls, and the four Horsemen from San Antonio aim to add a fifth title to the outer rim of their own fading dynasty. To make it that much more exciting, this series will mark the first time since 1998 and the fifth since the NBA/ABA merger in 1976, that the Finals will be a rematch of the prior year. Unfortunately for the Heat, only one defending champ has come out victorious: the 1998 Bulls.
The Spurs will get a chance to avenge last year’s Jesus Shuttlesworth resurrection in Game 6 with a stronger bench and the always reliable big three (as long as Tony Parker’s left ankle doesn’t continue to hinder his play). In Miami however, the Heat have strengthened their team chemistry, a healthy Dwyane Wade is playing superb on both ends of the floor, and LeBron is the best player in the universe – no MVP award required. So what do you think; will the Spurs make use of their home court advantage to take home their fifth title in 15 years, or will LeBron James encroach further onto MJ’s legacy with his own three-peat?
The 68th NBA Finals will tip-off this Thursday, June 5 at 9 p.m. EST.
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