We happen to be living in a very cynical age; a time when it is very hard to take things at face-value, because so many of us have been burned countless times. We are being bombarded this year with candidates running for office, who remain silent about how they will fix things, but have plenty of degrading comments about their opponents.
We no longer admire or respect professional athletes as we did 40-50 years ago in this nation, as we have seen far too many athletes revealed to be spoiled, overpaid, Divas; who act like spoiled brats when things go wrong. Teams that get the most attention, from the media and the fans, are not necessarily the best. In our current era, pro players settle for being notorious to capture their share of the limelight; becoming infamous rather than famous. The more outrageous and ignorant the act or the words that come out of some pro player’s mouth, the more time they will dominate the media.
The Miami Heat grabbed the public’s attention in the Summer of 2010, when they signed Free Agent forwards LeBron James and Chris Bosh, to play alongside their All-Star guard Dwyane Wade. The trio was welcomed like gods descending from Olympus in South Beach, with James boasting about how many NBA Titles the three players would bring to the city. Although fans of the franchise were deliriously happy, many fans of the Association were put off by the way the team was constructed and the attitude of the Big Three; James especially got very defensive and the Heat would be greeted with boos and catcalls in most NBA Arenas last year.
Maybe, that is why so many NBA observers find it so refreshing that the Oklahoma City Thunder, will be representing the Association’s Western Conference, as the Thunder are truly the antithesis of the team from Miami. This is a team that ended the 2008-2009 campaign with a record of 23-59; which actually was an improvement over their 20-62 finish the season before. Midway through the 2008-2009 season, the team fired coach P. J. Carlesimo and replaced him with Scott Brooks, who when he was playing in the NBA, was a guy who left everything out on the hardwood each time he was put into a game.
That blue-collar mind-set has been adopted by his players, which became a big factor in their rapid rise in the last four years. The Thunder have their own trio of very talented players; although they have not adopted the title the Big Three, which the Heat co-opted from the Boston Celtics. Still the team from Oklahoma City’s stars are just as impressive as the three who play for the Heat; with All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, joined by NBA Sixth Man Of The Year James Harden. Westbrook is the most demonstrative of the trio; however you don’t hear bragging or boasts from this club; they just get it done on the court.
With this being written prior to the start of game six in the Eastern Conference Finals, we are unaware of which team, the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics, that the Thunder will be playing in this year’s Finals. Either way though they have to be heavy favorites of winning their first Championship since moving to Oklahoma City and that most likely we will continue to see other teams follow their blueprint for success in the Association.