Monday , Nov , 07 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Why I Love This Game: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and more…

What’s good, basketball fans?

As we stand, there have been six nights’ games since the start of the season, and already we’ve seen the trademarks of yet another classic year in the NBA. From the high-wire highlights to the underdog victories to the off-court drama, the league is back with a vengeance, bringing with it all the action that keeps millions across the globe entertained for nine months of the year.

What makes it so great then?

Well, that depends on who you are. For some, it’s the atmosphere in an arena when the scores are knotted and the game clock reads single digits. For others, it’s the feeling of being a fan, of seeing your team step off the court with a W under their belt. For others, the enjoyment is in being able to watch some of the world’s elite athletes lock horns night in, night out.

Why I Love This Game: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and more...

Why do you love the game? Only you can answer that question, but what I can tell you is why I’ll always be a basketball fan. In fact, since we’ve had six nights, I’ll give you six reasons. Let me know yours via email ([email protected]) or the comment box at the bottom of the page.
The Question Marks
We all enjoy the summer, but for a true fan, the off-season is too long by far. With the only hoops being played on the street courts (sorry, girls: the WNBA doesn’t count), there’s more than enough time to discuss the upcoming year. Inevitably, talk turns to predictions, and with the arrival of the season, the time has come to see which were right, and which went awry.
“T.J. Ford is going to kill it this year.”
“You might as well give Miami the title right now.”
“LeBron will average a triple-double.”
With the truth content of such claims revealed, a lot of mouths either opened wider or closed completely. All you can do now is hope that nobody remembered when you said that Shaq would stay injury-free all year. You should know better than that by now.
The Rookies
The graduates, early entrants, high schoolers, Europeans and token Argentinean have all made their debut, and seeing the kids out there for the first time reminded me why I play myself. With their boundless energy, questionable shot selection and general look of awe as they set foot on the floor alongside their heroes, the rookies are always a source of amusement, and their clear love for basketball can’t help but fire your passion for the game.
The “Chemistry?” Squads
Each new year sees a handful of squads take the floor with a range of expectations wider than Mark Cuban’s pockets. This year, at least six teams (I can count the Pacers, Heat, Warriors, Lakers, Suns and Celtics, among others) have split opinions to the extent that you’d be hard pressed to find two “experts” who agree on their fate. Whatever turns out to be the case for these and other franchises, it’s going to be fun finding out.
The Melodrama
I don’t watch reality television. Celebrity gossip interests me about as much as sewing. You’d have to pay me to watch a soap drama. Despite this, I still love to hear the latest he said, she said rumours and the inside word on locker-room sniping. Tom Cruise could marry his girl on the moon and I wouldn’t care, but an unconfirmed quote suggesting that one player hates another is enough to make me sprint to my computer in search of more information.
The Furious Finishes
My game is basketball, and the one reason it could never be anything else is the way in which the rules facilitate classic finishes. How often does a football match end with a last-second goal? When was the last time you saw a game of hockey come down to the last shot? Who watches squash expecting to see the winning shot beat the clock by milliseconds?
Yet in hoops, rarely does a week go by when at least one game isn’t won with the sound of the swish following the sound of the horn. Seeing a crowd celebrate a buzzer-beating game-winner gives you an insight into why we love this game, but watching those on the other side tells you more. If the simple act of a synthetic leather ball passing through a nylon net can break your heart, you know you’ve got it bad for basketball.
The Superstars
LeBron sank six triples against the Hornets. Kobe beat the buzzer and the Nuggets with a twenty-foot jumper. K.G., Michael Redd and Jesus have all worked their magic in the fourth and beyond to bring their teams a win, and others in the NBA’s upper echelon have reminded the world why you can find someone wearing their jersey in every city. These guys are the best of the best of the best, and regardless of who takes home the Larry O’Brien trophy this year, we’re guaranteed some stunning performances from the handful of players with a legitimate claim to superstardom.
As always, you can reach me with your comments, questions and suggestions via email ([email protected]) or the comment box at the bottom of the page.
Until tomorrow, take it easy.