The third seed Orlando Magic has lived up to their name, riding team chemistry into the NBA finals.
Sweeping Detroit and Atlanta were impressive victories, but all of those ten or more point wins did not ensure Cleveland a spot in the NBA finals. Orlando’s more difficult playoff run proved to bring together the team, while adding a proud underdog fight to an eastern conference finals series that was one amazing LeBron shot away from an Orlando Magic sweep.
On Saturday night Orlando prevailed, sending LeBron home upset. LeBron, proving again that he is still young and emotional, stormed out of the Amway arena without shaking hands with the Magic, or speaking to the media. Right now, LeBron is angry that his team did not prevail. But every season for his entire career, LeBron will have a chance at a championship. In the future, LeBron will see that there was no excuse for his childish lack of sportsmanship. He is respected and will, hopefully, learn to respect his competition and the game he plays.
Meanwhile, someone will have to make a Dwight Howard muppet to replace the LeBron James muppet in Nike’s advertising campaign.
The battle of the superstars that seemingly everyone was looking for, the highly anticipated Kobe Bryant versus LeBron James Finals will not happen. Not this year, at least.
Perhaps a battle between two superstars should not happen because basketball is, in theory, a team sport. Kobe has a more of a team around him then LeBron does, which may explain how the Kobe versus LeBron final failed to be. While Dwight Howard is the shiny, happy star in Orlando, he is certainly one in a team effort that declares themselves as underrated.
The NBA finals is now a familiar match: the favored team and the underdogs. The Magic love this position, the Lakers are comfortable as the powerhouse they’ve been for years.
Shaq, possibly the best player to match up against the enormous and strong Howard, can watch the finals on the sidelines as his past teams battle without him.
The finals should be a good contest between two resilient teams from two orange producing sunshine states. Disney facing Disney promises to be a magical adventure.
Originally published on June 3rd in Citizen News (Sherman, New Fairfield Edition)