No bloom is a late one
Is it just me, or does it feel like the Finals should be already spreading glop across the world? A break was nice, I guess, but this last day is a poor excuse for suspese-building. I also don't think that the NBA gets that they've transformed the postseason into a viewing war of attrition, by the end not all that different from watching the regular thing. Yes, we want to see teams rise and champions born, but the fatigue that sets in just doesn't exist with regard to the other notable second seasons. Factor in the cynicism that's floated over the Finals in last half-decade (Lakers killing people, The West killing people, Spurs/Pistons) and it's hard to not see how the hype dissipates over the month and half, rather than build the way it does with the NFL, for instance. The Superbowl is an event that virtually transcends sports; with the Association, it's the early rounds that generate the most apparent precipitous crossover buzz.
So since Brickowski never got around to explaining why my version of basketball consumption is morally fucked, I thought I'd hit you with its latest mad scientist creation: NO SHAME IN THE BANDWAGON!!! It's been occurring to me in fits and starts that I really, really like these Mavs and would have a nice day were they to capture the most perfect treasure. This is not the same March Madness-like shit I derided when I saw it happening with the Clippers; that was a totally generic application of self-interest to an unknown quantity, and this is at least a team I've been well-acquainted with since the jump. You can't pretend, though, that they haven't really hit their stride in these Playoffs, making them suddenly all the more easy to love than they were back in April. Partly it's getting to understand them in a context that really puts the stamp of wisdom on action, seeing the truth brought out in them, and watching them respond to split-second adversity; this doesn't mean Dirk objectively becomes the best player in the league, but it's a perfectly good excuse to welcome him into your heart.
I'm torn as to who gets blamed for this: does the team all of a sudden emerge in a burst of self-actualizing fury, or are people like me just slow to have the lightbulb flicker up atop our skulls? Either way, though, what's garrulously intact here is the presence of choice, the option, taste, whatever you want to call this "fairweather" impulse that spits pebbles in the face of traditional fandom. For reasons I have yet to fully comprehend, people treat their teams like family: totally unconditional commitments that persist through thick and thin, no matter what the changes in personel, style, or overall philosophy. In short, they are family, not friends. Now, I realize how ridiculous it is to presume that man would want no family. But let me ask you this: would you want all the other people in your life to be tethered by kinship, without the option of exercising any preference or reserving the right to cut ties? There is a time and a place for lifelong marriages arranged by those who know better; it's called the land of college football, and it is a society far too primitive and stubborn for me to call my own.
Responsible bandwagoneering simply asserts "I see you." The past matter not; what the Mavs were or were not earlier in the season, and whether I did or did not acknowledge them as such, is irrelevant to the fact that now I really want to kick it with this proud band of characters. You can't teach yourself to feel fondness for another; it sneaks up upon us, and is at its most sweet when it takes root in the soils of familiarity. That this should occur at a time of heightened sensitivity only proves that there is a rhythm to all seasons, natural or otherwise.