(**NOTE** The above obviously isn’t me. It’s not my bed, either. The girl does convey hopelessness, though. Plus, she’s kinda got it going on a little, I think.)
As I opened my eyes to the ice-blue glow of my digital clock and the utterly uninspiring time of “6:54 AM” staring at me, three things immediately came to mind:
- It is sad that I can’t even sleep until 7:00 AM anymore (on a weekend, no less).
- I have a bunch of stupid things I know I need to do today, and I can’t remember what any of them are.
- It’s officially the Miami Heat vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals.
I desperately wanted to go back to sleep (and maybe stay there for the next two weeks), but that didn’t happen. It never does, actually. Once I’m up, I’m up (* PAUSE *). Up and forced to deal with the ominous reality of a Sunday, a day that should be enjoyed because it’s a day off, but one that is always clouded by the thought of the next day’s work that lingers in the back of my mind. I am, unquestionably, a pessimist.
It’s the same mindset that I want to avoid when it comes to my attitude towards the upcoming series. In all honesty, it’s probably the ideal matchup in the eyes of most. Casual fans can more than embrace the idea of the super-villainous Heat facing the upstart, seemingly-modest Thunder. Basketball die-hards can easily get behind the showdown between the two players who are generally considered to currently be the best at what they do. This was the clash that most predicted prior to the compressed, disjointed season’s commencement and, despite injuries and everything else that seemed to go sideways, it’s actually going to happen.
The two squads had one of the more intense, highly-competitive games of the regular season. They match-up in intriguing ways. There is plenty of star power. What’s not to like?
7:00 AM rolled around, and I was still laying there. I glanced over at the pillow next to me: empty. That doesn’t bother me that much. It’s not like the options aren’t out there. That’s not some braggadocious statement at all – the options are there for everybody. However, when your heart’s not into it, it’s different. You can’t put forth the necessary effort to establish anything meaningful. You can hang out with a few – check a movie or some shit like that – but I’m too moody and/or temperamental to get into anything unless I truly feel it. That’s just me.
That’s why the bed was/is empty, with the exception of a pair of earplugs that I wear on a nightly basis because I require almost complete, absolute silence to sleep. Inevitably, the things fall out of my ears during the middle of the night, and I wake up to the same god damned crow out there, screaming its head off. The fucking bird is relentless. On this morning, it seemed to bark out little phrases, like “GO HEAT,” or “JAMES HARDEN.” Things like that.
Anyway, back to the emptiness. What am I supposed to do here? Anyone who knows me in the slightest has already heard me ramble on, ad nauseum, about losing my team and not exactly being a top supporter of the Thunder because of that. On the flip side, there is something so inherently abhorrent about the Heat. Pick your poison:
- Lebron James and all of the things that come with…
- The team’s overall lackadaisical approach to basketball (I still maintain that, if they aren’t in transition or if one of the mega-stars isn’t in takeover mode, they’re pretty damn boring to watch, from a basketball perspective or otherwise)
- The fan base and the general feeling that it’s made up of lightweight basketball fans…
- The media coverage…
… and so on. I can look past most of the above. I don’t hate Lebron James. The only thing that genuinely bothers me about him is that I think he could actually be so much more than what he already is. That’s a pipe-dream, though. For me, it all comes down to this:
Dwayne Wade. The supposed darling of Miami. One of “the classiest guys in the the NBA…” (according to guys like Mike Wilbon), who spends most of his time doing everything he can to dispel that notion. If you’re trying to count the number of times per game that Wade either complains about a call/non-call and/or admonishes his teammates for actions that were likely the result of his own mistakes, you’ll run out of fingers and toes within five minutes. If you want a professional post-game comment from Wade, you better hope they win easily. Otherwise, he either goes about his business in ways that I could only use terms normally associated with the nether-regions of the female anatomy to describe (I’ll spare you that)… or he just doesn’t show up at all. Now that he’s old, the dirtiest parts of his game are exposed even further.
When times are tough, Wade is always quick to reference how the world is against him and his teammates. Well, guess what, motherfucker? Most of us are… and he’s only got himself to blame. If he’s the face of the Heat, then that’s the tipping point, for me. I can’t root for that. You lie in the $100-million dollar beds you make.
Speaking of beds, I eventually got up from mine. After showering and dressing, I hit the kitchen and prepared my usual breakfast of some liquid-powder protein concoction and a piece of toast (with honey, if I’m feeling frisky). I turned on the television, which remained on NBA TV from the night before. They were already hyping up the Finals, with clips of Lebron’s mean-face, Spoelstra clapping like a man who just may have had his job spared, Heat players dancing around in the locker room like they actually won something of note, etc. Then, they cut to clips of cold-blooded Durant-daggers and those dunks that Westbrook throws… the ones where it looks like he’s going to disrupt his own spinal column based on the sheer force of the movement alone. I thought to myself, “God, how awesome will a few of those be when they happen in the middle of that hideously-yellow painted key of the American Airlines Arena, as half the folks dressed in all-white go, ‘Damn,’ while the other half continue their texts about how D.J. Dicktuck is spinning at some lunatic symposium down the road?!”
And then, I thought, “God, how much better would it be if Westbrook was in the green and gold?”, and I got all conflicted again.
This series will be a roller coaster of emotions (as they say) for me, but at least I’m still getting out of bed.
– Wes Lilliman