At the outset of this season’s NBA Finals, none of the experts thought they could do it. But the Celtics wrapped up the NBA Finals tonight in a series that contained some of the most memorable basketball playing in our generation.
I didn’t follow basketball much this season. Based on how poorly the Celtics had done this decade, I really expected the Lakers to wipe the floor with them. I came away with four strong impressions:
- Kobe Bryant is not the best player on the planet, though he may be the most overrated man to hold US citizenship.
- The Lakers are the worst basketball team in recent memory to play really excellent basketball in (short) spurts
- Whenever the Lakers have a halfway decent team, the world goes crazy over how superlative they are.
- The Celtics are a much better team than the Lakers this year, outplaying the Lakers even in the games they lost.
This is also a great win for Boston, making it the pre-eminent sports town of the decade.
And I couldn’t happier about the fact that they beat Phil Jackson’s team. Phil Jackson is a man who I find to be perfectly loathsome for a couple of reasons.
Phil Jackson repeatedly defended Dennis Rodman’s indefensible and unsportsmanlike antics. Most famously, Rodman said about playing the Jazz in Utah, "It’s difficult to get in sync because of all the f*cking Mormons out here. And you can quote me on that." After Rodman was quoted on that, fined, and forced to apologize, Jackson offered a half-hearted apology that was worse than Rodman’s original insult: "To Dennis, a Mormon may just be a nickname for people from Utah. He may not even know itâ€™s a religious cult or sect or whatever." Rather than enforce any kind of discipline, Jackson was repeatedly happy to say nothing more than, "We love Dennis for who he is." So I dislike Jackson for who he is not: A stand-up guy with principles and backbone.
In addition to the championship, we have game 4 and the 24 point comeback. We have game 6 and the largest margin of victory in a decisive game. And we have the first sports championship won here in Boston since 1986. Congratulations Celtics!