Even after my roommate showed it to me, I still didn’t believe him. There was no way. It couldn’t be. But there it was right in front of me.
It was Lebron James’ mom’s phone number; then a text from her; then a pic of the two of them. Somehow, my roommate had turned into Delonte West overnight. He assured me it was harmless. He had a random, late night drunken dinner in Atlantic City with Mrs. James and her buddy. And since then they simply traded a few friendly texts.
It happened about a month before Lebron made his grand “decision.” I wonder if my roommate, a native New Yorker had any impact on Lebron’s choice. Maybe he didn’t want to play in a city where random guys texted his mom.
My roommate hasn’t heard from Mrs. James in a while. She’s been busy and so has her son. After dispatching the Sixers in 5 effortless games, the Heat now host the Celtics in the 2nd round of the playoffs: the new big 3 versus the old big 3; the king, flash, and bosh versus KG, the truth, and Jesus. Lebron’s Mom versus Ray Allen’s Mom. Let’s get it on!
Miami versus Boston
This is going to be an epic series. The Heat have youth, athleticism, and lots of egos. The Celtics have experience, teamwork, and creaky bones. Some say the series will come down to Shaq’s health, but the real wildcard will be the bench. The Celtics are missing that energy/swagger guys from years past: the Leon Powe’s, Nate Robinson’s, Tony Allen’s (who has been amazing for Memphis), Rasheed Wallace’s, Kendrick Perkins’. You really think Jeff Green is going to finally wake up? I sure don’t.
Miami in 7
Chicago versus Atlanta
I met Jamal Crawford last year. He shook my hand and was extremely friendly. But on the court, he is all business. He is a scoring machine, and is one of those players that has no conscious. He truly thinks every one of his shots is going in; a great guy to have in the playoffs.
Unfortunately for him, they’re up against Chicago and Derrick Rose. Rose might not be able to take his SATs, but on the court he is unstoppable. I’m on the bandwagon for him to win MVP. He has the best crossover since Iverson, also includes his teammates, and has even found his range from three point land. Chicago has great athletes, and is also a team. Coach Thibodeau has preached defense, and they've responded. They also have bought into the concept of team; everyone knows their role and they do it no questions asked.
The only question for Chicago is lack of experience, and a few lingering injuries. But those flaws won’t bother them for this series. Plus, they have Brian Scalabrine. Enough said.
Chicago in 6
Los Angeles versus Dallas
I lived in LA for five years, and besides the traffic, the worst part was seeing those damn Lakers flags attached to cars in May and June. LA has some of the worst fans in the world, and seeing them suddenly pumped for another championship run makes me feel ill.
But it’s not a surprise when they have the best basketball player in the world. Kobe is old, brash, stubborn, and let’s face it, an asshole. But he refuses to lose. The last playoff series he lost was to the Celtics in 2008. Since then he has been absolutely dominant. He has molded his game each year so he can play through injuries and fatigue. It helps that he has 3 seven foot beasts (Gasol, Bynum, Odom), and a coach who intimidates most other coaches.
Some people like Dallas because Kobe’s a little banged up. But in the end, do you ever really want to bet against Kobe? I don’t think so.
LA in 6
Oklahoma City versus Memphis
Alex Trebek: And the category is cities. Oklahoma city, Memphis.
What are two cities I will probably never visit?
Alex Trebek: No. Sorry. We we’re looking for: What is the Western Conference Semi Finals?
While I love Oklahoma City, especially with the addition of Kendrick Perkins, the real story is the Memphis Grizzlies. These guys are a collection of castoffs and scrappers that nobody wanted. They’re just the fourth 8th seed to ever upend a number one. How did they do it: defense, hustle and heart. They locked down the Spurs on nearly every possession: diving into the stands, hitting the floor, taking charges, boxing out. They looked like a high school or college team that came together, not for money, but for the love of the game. I wish the Celtics had a few of these guys (see Tony Allen.)
Memphis doesn’t quite have the manpower to shut down Durant and Westbrook, but they’re going to try every trick in the book. It’s always dangerous when the underdog knows they have nothing to lose and are willing to try anything. But Durant has come too far and is too competitive to lose this one.
Oklahoma City in 7
For you gamblers out there:
In the last 28 years, only 7 franchises have won the NBA title: Boston, LA, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, San Antonio, Miami. Compare that to the MLB (19), NFL (14), and NHL (14) and suddenly the NBA doesn’t seem to have much parity.
If you happen to be in Vegas or Atlantic City, you may want to put some money on LA, Boston, Chicago or Miami. And while you’re there, look out for Lebron’s mom. Maybe she’ll buy you dinner one night too.