Heat Make NBA Finals Again
June 5, 2014
I think it is safe to say that the Miami Heat have reached dynasty status. They have now made four straight Finals appearances in a row and are the first team to do so since Larry Bird’s Celtics & Magic Johnson’s Lakers in the mid-80s. Michael and the Bulls never did it, Kobe and Shaq never did it. Isiah and the Pistons never did it.
In the modern era of the NBA, reaching the Finals four or more consecutive years is extremely noteworthy. The league is loaded with talent and the salary-cap era makes the feat more unbelievable. Do they need to beat the Spurs again, or, are they already there? Or does LeBron and Miami need to beat the San Antonio Spurs again to win a third consecutive title? Win or lose, they’re a dynasty in my eyes. However, this could be the Heats’ toughest test as the Spurs are a slight favorite.
I got Miami in seven.
Did you realize that no one under the age of 36 has ever seen a horse win the Triple Crown? California Chrome will attempt to end the drought on Saturday with a win at the Belmont Stakes in New York. Coming off solid victories in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, the famous three-year-old colt is primed to make history.
It was 1978 when Affirmed sealed the last Triple Crown with a triumph at the Belmont. Thirty-six long years ago. To put the long wait in perspective, here are a few things that were new and exciting in 1978. Believe me, they were. I was there.
California Chrome, horsing around with his staff
Music lovers may be interested in knowing that Sony Introduced The Walkman. No one had a clue that iPods and MP-3 players would come along. Comic strip lovers would be interested in knowing that Garfield was introduced in 1978. Toga Parties became the norm on college campuses as the movie Animal House was released. The top rated television show was Laverne & Shirley. Who remembers what that was about? John Travolta became a household name when the movie Grease came out. Sports-wise, the Washington Bullets won the NBA title. They have not come close since.
Yes, I remember them all. But it is time to move on. Go California Chrome.
Only In America
Donald Sterling and the Los Angeles Clippers remained in the news last week. Everything came to a head when former Microsoft tycoon Steve Ballmer agreed to pay the ridiculous, over-priced price for the franchise.
How wildly over-priced did the team go for you ask? Try $2 billion. But the brutal truth is that Sterling and wife Shelly, made out far better than they should have with the announced sale of the team. My first thought was that the sale price sent the message that bigotry can have its own rewards. The Sterlings in essence cashed in on his well-documented bigotry the same way that undeserving corrupt government workers get paid leave.
Shirley & Laverne, 70’s stars
The Clippers are a near textbook example of how its owner can be a racist, his business can be flawed and failed, and he and it can still prosper and thrive. Since he bought the Clippers in 1981, he instantly became controversial within the NBA structure. Despite a half-hearted effort by NBA officials to get rid of him in the early days of his ownership for questionable practices, he survived. He never thrived, however, at least financially, with his team. Not until this past week.
Some say that bad public relations is better then none. Before his racist rant, the low-side estimate on the Clippers’ value on an open-market sale was $575 million. The high side was $700 million. One national scandal and he gets $2 billion. In this case, it took one willing and able multi-billionaire to shell out the eye-popping amount for the team. Sterling used the media with his baseless threats of not selling and court action. It worked. It ended up raising the price.
Why the long face, Sterling?
Sterling will continue to rank for a time as America’s number one sports villain. He will continue to draw the wrath of the fans, the NBA establishment, and much of the media whenever his name is mentioned. But that’s less important than that the inflated sell price is proof once more that wealthy and powerful people can say and do almost anything they like. Sterling’s image took a hit but he did not have much of one to begin with. You could say that he was rewarded $2 billion for being a bigot.