In an age when many Americans are saying we are in a battle of “Class Warfare” in this country, could we possibly ask for a better match-up starting Tuesday night as the Miami Heat come to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder in the 2012 NBA Finals?
We will be witnessing the “Sun And Fun Capital Of The World” taking on “Frontier Country.”
The Cosmopolitans of South Beach battles the Silent Majority of Brick City.
Small-Market vs. Big-Market.
The One Percent goes up against the Ninety-Nine Percent.
Will Darth Vader (LeBron James) and the Empire be able to defeat Luke Skywalker and the Jedi? Or, are we about to witness a franchise that formed around three All-Stars who conspired to join forces to win an NBA Title (something that James’ Idol, Michael Jordan stated that he, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson would never have done) fall to a club that was constructed through great draft selections by Thunder General Manager Sam Presti?
Now in all fairness, longtime NBA observers will watch this series with at least a tinge of regret that the Thunder spent their first 41-years of their existence as the Seattle Supersonics, as Team Owner Clay Bennett took away the city’s first professional sports team. However, the turnaround of this club over the past four years and the way they play the game has eclipsed any resentment those outside of the Seattle area feel.
The Heat adopted the persona of the villains of the Association last season, as they were getting booed in every arena they went to outside of their own. Although James is no longer glowering through every post-game press conference and has admitted that he allowed the reception by opposing fans to get under his skin last season, we have witnessed Dwyane Wade make some pretty classless moves this year.
Wade ridiculed Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard for expressing his loyalty to his team and his city earlier this season when he chose to honor the final year of his contract before the March 15, NBA trade deadline. The All-Star also picked up Knicks guard Mike Bibby’s shoe and threw it down-court during a first round Playoff contest, the type of behavior one would expect from children instead of professional athletes.
The Thunder had to defeat the last three teams to win the NBA Title from the Western Conference to reach this year’s Finals, knocking out last year’s Champions the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. They would beat the winners of back-to-back Titles in 2009 and 2010 as they defeated the Lakers in the second round and then dispatched the Spurs who won the NBA Finals in 2007 in the Conference Finals. Miami got through the Post Season without having to take on the Magic with a healthy Dwight Howard, or the Bulls with Derrick Rose who tore his ACL in the first game of the Playoffs. Instead they played a banged up Knicks squad, the Pacers whose inexperience allowed them to crumble when Miami struck back after Indiana took a 2-1 lead in the series and an aging Celtics team that almost defeated them in seven games in this past round.
Throw all that right out the window come Tuesday however, as the scoreboard gets reset to zero. My prediction: Thunder wins the series 4-2.