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Whether we like it or not, football season is slowly nearing the end. However, the silver lining behind that cloud is that means that it is now time for the National Basketball Association to get back in to the spotlight.
I admittedly am not a very dedicated viewer, as I usually just try to pay attention to the game scores and playoff races. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good game though.
The thing I love most about basketball is that you can find arguably the best athletes in the world on the court in any given night. While football, volleyball and baseball players are all great athletes in their own rite, basketball players are the embodiment of what a truly gifted athlete is. They combine speed, explosiveness, hand-eye coordination and vision to score at an incredible rate.
Take Lebron James for example. I know most people are probably sick of hearing about him, but the truth is, he is the best all-around player since Michael Jordan retired for the last time.
The man is every bit of 6’8” and weighs in at around 250 pounds. That is five inches and 10 pounds heavier than the average NFL tight end. Yet, even at the immense size, he has been rumored to run a 4.6 second forty-yard dash. That is an average of .17 seconds faster than that average NFL tight end. Combine that with his 40-plus inch vertical leap and an uncanny passing ability, he is the best-of-the-best when it comes to these great athletes.
Not a LeBron fan? How about we take a look at the likable Tim Duncan. Duncan recently retired as one of the best players in San Antonio Spurs history and is a likely first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee. He also was a swimming champion with aspirations of making the United States Olympic squad. At 6’11”. If it weren’t for a hurricane taking out the only Olympic-sized pool he had access to, he likely would have completed his goal and never become the great basketball player he is now known for. He was so great of an athlete, he could have been world-class in either sport.
Even less popular players such as John Wall, Derrick Rose, DeMarcus Cousins, Russell Westbrook and even Nate Robinson can all stake claims to being among the most explosive and strongest athletes in the world.
They also show incredible endurance, playing at a pace much greater than football for 66 more regular season games than the NFL players do. Granted, the NFL has much harder physical collisions that make it necessary for the league to limit the season to just 16 games, but playing 82 games over five months can take a toll on a player as well.
I know I said earlier that I don’t watch games religiously like I do with the NFL, but I still have my team. Growing up in the Michael Jordan era with a best friend that was a Chicago native, the Chicago Bulls had no trouble finding my heart. Now they have one of my favorite players, Dwayne Wade, and are looking as good - so far - as they’ve been since Derrick Rose’s early years. The key to their season will be whether or not Wade can make it through a season without knee trouble and if Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler can coexist for 82 games.
However, I think you still have to accept that the likely finals match up will be a rematch of last year’s Cleveland - Golden State showdown. The Warriors don’t have the same strong bench play as they did last year, but when you have a starting lineup that is averaging a combined 83 points per game for their career, you may not need a great scorer off the bench. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, made very few changes after last year’s championship season. They will be in the thick of it until the end.