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Los Angeles is shell shocked, and as of this posting, in about ten minutes, the city will collectively unite behind the jaundiced jerseys of Shaq, Kobe, and the crew for game 2 of the NBA Finals. After Sunday’s “surprise” upset, Angelenos don’t know what to do with themselves. They’re walking in stupors. They’re running into walls. They’re crying in bathroom stalls. And they’re driving erratically (oh, sorry, that’s normal). “Oh, how on Earth can this happen?” they ask. “After my twelve days of dedication to this team, how can they disappoint me now??” Well, fairweather fans, it’s time to snap out of it. Your boys aren’t as great as Jack Nicholson would have you believe. Would you be shocked if I told you Kobe was felled by a kitchen knife this season? Yes, it’s true. The Lakers are fallible, and by the way, the Pistons are actually pretty good.Now I’m not going to act like I’m a lifelong Pistons fan. Truth is I only started watching them recently. It’s hard not to like the law firm of Wallace & Wallace, not to mention the wily Rip Hamilton zipping around in his little mask. And I do respect that Shaq and Kobe and many of the other Lakers are amazing players. But come on people. It’s time to stop jizzing over every sighting of a yellow and purple pattern. People act as if this title has been preselected for the Lakers and are shocked… SHOCKED… that any team would dare strip it away. Headlines read “Lakers better wake up” as if the prize is at the whim of this team, but Dyan Cannon be damned, the Pistons deserve it just as much.
And let’s all admit it. The Pistons are much more interesting team to look at. Rasheed has those cool tattoos (Nike even gives us a guided tour of them in one of its commercials), Rip as the aforementioned facemask, and of course Ben has his fluctuating hair. Sometimes it’s cornrows. Sometimes it’s a dandelion fluff! Shaq is just big and falls down with a thud.
I guess tonight we’ll see if I have to eat my words or get to gloat more. I’m not really looking forward to more football-grafted-to-the-hardcourt commentary from Al Michaels. And let’s talk about ABC here for a moment. Yes, it’s a given that ABC sucks. And yes, the whole cross-promotion of The Bachelor with The Chronicles of Riddick with The Finals is a bit nauseating, especially when Vin Diesel’s voice intermittently growls up on screen to announce he’s watching the game. And yes, I too miss that great John Tesh NBA ditty that NBC heralded for so many years. But what rankles me the most is ABC’s completely hands-off approach to the playoffs. Until this week, weekend games have been on cable and so have the conference finals. NBC would never allow such mishandling of the franchise. By keeping so many of the games on cable – even ESPN – ABC effectively downplays the importance of the league, as well as fumbling an exciting chance to lure viewers. Oy. I shouldn’t get all worked up though. This is the same network that infects us with “According to Jim” and “Dinotopia”.
Okay, at this point, I’m not even talking about actual basketball. But this is TVgasm. If you want in depth analysis, go to ESPN. And feel free to bash me with a comment, Lakers fans.