A guest post by excellent blogger and friend of the Brofamily,Â Timothy Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell.
The Bulls and Celtics have given birth to one of the best series of my lifetime. It’s the best series this decade, having moved ahead of the previous co-champs, Lakers-Kings (2002) and Spurs-Mavs (2006). Taken together, they represent the NBA at its finest. They remind me that my justification for watching basketball is no different than my justification for taking in a Kandinsky. Art is art.
Sometimes the art for art’s sake stuff can be a hard pill to swallow. Yet there comes a time when the capitalists stop protesting Diego Rivera.Â My time came during the 2006 Western Conference Semifinals. I’m a Spurs guy. But sometime during Game 6, all my silver and black bled out. I wanted the Spurs to win. I did. But I wanted the Spurs to win more because I wanted a Game 7 than because I wanted them to win Game 7. There is a difference. The fact of Game 7 was somehow more important to me than the result of Game 7.Â All I cared about was getting one more game of the same mind-bending intensity and heroic play the first 6 had provided.Â By the end of Game 7, with the Spurs battling back from 20 down behind the power that is Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan’s epic 41 and 15, I almost didn’t care when Ginobili fouled away the series–and, we all know this to be true, a championship. I blasphemed my team at the final buzzer. I smiled. It was a series for T.S. Eliot to hate. The game ended with a bang.Â I smiled because the final 2 minutes were the measure of all that came before. By the end of the series, my love for the Spurs had been swallowed up by my love for basketball. All that is loyal lost to all that is lovely.
The 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Kings and Lakers more closely approximates my feelings about the current Bulls-Celtics series. Loyalty is a needed nuisance. But sometimes its nice to exist without the fanatical yearning within. My wife and I had just married. She wasn’t a basketball fan. But I swear that she became an addict as the final 8 seconds tick-tocked an ending to Game 5. During Game 6 she learned to yell at the television, cursing the cathode wall that separated the refs from her pleas for justice. Game 7 had all the drama of a tumultuous romance, and was every bit as enjoyable. It was a love letter from a man to the woman who tried to kill him. 19 leads. 16 ties. Overtime. Lakers win in Sactown. Captivating. Breathtaking. Beautiful.
So I’ve learned something over the years, and it’s this: the beauty of basketball transcends the politics of basketball.Â On Saturday, stop cheering and learn to love.
Rhodora ! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that, if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for Being;