I think the last time I’d written anything substantial about the NBA in this space was during Game One of the 2008 Finals. That also happened to be the first pro basketball game I’d made an effort to sit through from start to finish. And truth be told, I didn’t enjoy that experience at all.
Prior to this past season, I’d watch the NBA with bated breath. I’d tune in for a quarter or two of a Finals game, but never really willingly. It’s not that I hated the league or the pro game, I just didn’t have much interest in it nor did I really have the time to follow it.
I’m not exactly sure when my perception of the NBA changed. I started reading FreeDarko (R.I.P.) a short time after that Celtics-Lakers game and I plowed through “Breaks of the Game” not long after that. Maybe it was Chris Paul, a player I really liked during his days at Wake Forest, becoming a star in the pros that made me flip over to the NBA every so often.
Without the NHL package for the first time in a few years, I found myself gravitating to the basketball games on TNT or the Knicks when the Sabres weren’t on. I watched enough of the Knicks this year where I can confidently say I liked the 2010-11 team a lot more before the arrival of Carmelo Anthony. Chauncey Billups is great, but the Knicks shipped out a lot of their likable guys in that deal. That’s not cool. And it’s why I ended up pulling for the Nuggets in the playoffs until they got bounced.
Since middle school I would joke that I was a Clippers fan because I felt that it was necessary for the team I root for to have the same level of interest in the league as I did. This past season, I even tried to break away from LAC to jump-start my interest in the league. This was definitely the wrong year to try that because Blake Griffin hit the scene.
With the Finals winding down, this might seem like a strange time to write about the NBA for the first time in a long time. But I’m slowly making the transition to actually watching the NBA so expect some more posts about the Association. This isn’t Simmons “finding” hockey again. I was a less-than-casual fan who’s now going to take a more active interest in pro basketball.
I still love hockey most of all and I’m not going to pick sides. I’ve enjoyed both The Finals and the Stanley Cup Final (yes, without an “s”) and I’m glad they’re being played on opposite nights. Hockey will probably still take preference most nights come October (assuming there’s no NBA lockout), but the NBA is carving out its own little corner in my entertainment world that might get bigger as time goes on.