The formalities have all been sorted out. It's time to get down to what we knew was coming all along. Yes, some patience needed to be exercised throughout the regular season, and we had some pretty cool detours thanks to guys like Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and Isaiah Thomas.
But as Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald had once said, "THIS IS IT!!!"
I found it pretty funny that the mental midgets were out here complaining about the respective dominance of Golden State and Cleveland in this year's playoffs. What, you didn't know that two historically great teams with future Hall of Fame talent all over the floor were Debo'ing everybody as a warmup to the third installment of what has become one of the greatest rivalries in NBA history?
Ya'll didn't know that Portland, Utah, San Antonio, Indiana, Toronto and Boston were all playing the role of Red asking Debo for his bike back?
Despite folks being loud and wrong about how terrible the current NBA is, or how watered down the league is, how every team other than Golden State and Cleveland are "trash", or the so-called "narrative" that's been collaborated on by the CIA, Hoteps and the Illuminati to elevate LeBron James past Michael Jordan as the GOAT, we've been treated to a great year.
The league is always at its best when two superpowers collide. That shouldn't detract from what we've been treated to thus far. You don't want to acknowledge the phenomenal emergence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, aka The Greek Freak? How about the tribute that Boston gave to Paul Pierce? What about the delectable promise and social media hilarity of Joel Embiid?
Excited to represent Philly at the Lottery and also excited to see which young fella is gonna have this draft reaction when they get drafted pic.twitter.com/ljVqX2WhJw— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) May 9, 2017
Did you forget about Kyrie Irving's assertion that the earth is flat? The dunk that Andrew Wiggins threw down on JaVale McGee? Kemba Walker Shaqtin' a fool on a missed jumper? Kristaps Porzingis cuffing the Nets on a shot block? Klay Thompson erupting for 60 points in 29 minutes? Devin Booker going for 70!!!? Russell Westbrook's insane 57-point triple-double? That Warriors vs Rockets joint, or the Wizards against the Cavs? Jusuf Nurkic's clap-back against his former Nuggets squad? The ridiculousness of Jame's Harden's offensive weaponry? Kawhi Leonard's seven seconds of funk?
I'm not mad at all at how the regular season and playoffs have played out thus far, because this is what we've all been clamoring for in the 2017 NBA Finals. In LeBron, Kyrie and Cleveland against KD, Steph and the Warriors, we have the makings of what could go down as one of the greatest rivalries in league history.
Both squads ran through their playoff competition like a bad case of diarrhea en route to a third consecutive Finals matchup. If you were around in the '80s to experience Larry Bird's Celtics going against Magic Johnson's Lakers, you instinctively knew that you were being treated to something supernatural. These cats were redefining the game and offering up the modern day blueprint of what a hoops rivalry was supposed to look like.
But those historically great teams never met three times in a row. And with Kevin Durant in the Warriors mix knuckling up against LeBron and his Cavs crew, we have two of the greatest and remarkable talents the game has ever seen, at the crescendo of their prime years, throwing haymakers to decide who will win this rubber match.
We'll be treated to Steph, Kyrie, Kev Love, Draymond and Klay Thompson all in their primes as well. We'll experience passing and ball movement on a celestial level.
LeBron has absolutely nothing to prove at this point. Oh, right, unless of course we're talking about his quest to surpass MJ as the best to ever do it. His string of consecutive Finals appearances hasn't been seen since the great Bill Russell, but that's not enough to simmer down the silly debate.
He'll have to take out this superior Warriors squad in dominant fashion. And make no mistake about it, Golden State is far and above the more lordly collection of talent. Just ask the odds makers in Vegas.
KD needs a ring to get past the exclusive velvet rope of NBA champions. Draymond needs to prove that he won't bug out like Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. And Steph needs to disprove the notion that if Kyrie Irving was healthy in 2015 that the Cavs would actually be the back-to-back league champions.
Mike Brown has to disprove the assertion that he's the Mr. Potato Head of successful NBA coaches who rides his talent to goodness, but never greatness.
If the Warriors smack the Cavs, they'll be in the debate as the greatest team in NBA history. If the Cavs win, LeBron tells all the Kobe and Jordan-riders, Welcome to the Terrordome!
"I got so much trouble on my mind. Refuse to lose!...Raw, metaphysically bold! Never followed a code! Still dropped a load! Never question what I am, God knows!!!"
My bad, I digress.
LeBron is narrowing the Jordan arrears, whether you choose to admit or not, no matter how much you scream that "6-0 in the Finals!" nonsense. And I'm sorry to let ya'll know, but KD is closing in on being better than Jordan as well.
The Warriors won 73 games last year and have now added the incomparable Kevin Durant to the matrix. No team in NBA history has won more over a three-year span than this Golden State juggernaut. They have three of the greatest shooters the league has ever seen. They have one of the most remarkable defenders, who is also a brilliant all-around offensive talent as well in Draymond.
They have the league's best offense AND defense! But LeBron James alongside his designated assassin Kyrie Irving gives them a puncher's chance to kill all of that historical greatness noise coming from the Bay area.
To top it all off, in the tradition of the Bulls vs the Knicks in the '90s, the Celtics vs the 76ers in the '60s and early '80s, the Celtics vs the Pistons in the mid-to-late '80s, those same Pistons vs the Bulls in the late '80s and early '90s and the Lakers and the Celtics through time immortal, the Cavs and the Warriors have a serious disdain for one another.
It doesn't get any better than that.
LeBron came up short with Kyrie and Kevin Love sitting out the 2015 Finals with injuries, carrying a sub-par squad with those missing pieces to a surprising six-game tussle before eventually falling short. Last year, he and Kyrie mopped a 73-win Warriors team that held a 3-1 series lead, delivering Cleveland its first championship since Little Anthony and the Imperials were going out their head back in 1964.
And now we have the rubber match.
If it goes down the way we think it will, the 2017 NBA Finals will rival Roberto Duran vs Esteban DeJesus, Riddick Bowe vs Evander Holyfield, Micky Ward vs Arturo Gatti and Ali vs Frazier as one of the greatest trilogies ever in sports.
And in terms of basketball championship rivalries, we might be about to witness something that will stand entirely alone as the best the NBA has ever offered. Buckle your seat belts folks. It's about to be bananas!