Saturday, June 07, 2014

Fair Play: NBA finals---Heat or Spurs?

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's June 7 issue)
IT’S the time of the year again when productivity dips and almost everyone’s eager for a wager or two.

Employees—especially fanatics—suddenly find excuses not to do the things they usually do for a couple of hours or so, or worse, even fail to show up for work before noon at all.

It’s the NBA finals and for this basketball-crazy nation, nothing much matters else when it’s game time. Just check how everyone’s becoming experts these days, or how everyone is heckling the favorite player they hate.

I remember, back when I was starting in this job and Michael Jordan and Karl Malone were duking it up in the finals, a lot of government workers went missing from their desks that one official mulled the banning of the airing of games near government offices.

But now in the time of livestreaming, live tweets and social media, you can catch up with developments even without a TV.

So, San Antonio or Miami? Who are you rooting for?

Last year was one great series and that Game 6 win by Miami was one for the books.

There’s no need to point out the details of what happened as almost everybody knows.

Some Miami fans get derided a lot, since a lot of hardcore fans think they only started to support the team when a certain king jumped ship. But who cares? This is sport, everyone needs a reason--some really don’t--to support a team.

It’s the same for me. I started rooting for the Spurs because of one man. I started following the team since I got a copy of David Robinson’s book.

The Admiral was not your typical college player. He was a genius who majored in mathematics at the US Naval Academy and was the top pick in the 1987 draft. However, he had to wait two years before joining the NBA as he was obliged to render service to the US Navy.

And when he was about to join the NBA, he said he really didn’t want to make a big fuss out of it because while he was headed to a life of luxury and perks a sports career brings, his friends were about to go to Iraq for the first Persian Gulf war.

In his first year, the Spurs won 35 games more than the previous season, an NBA record that was broken only when Tim Duncan came along in 1997.

That, of course, is when I started rooting for the Big Fundamental.

Now, who am I rooting for in the finals rematch?

I wrote this before even Game 1 started. Last year’s series went seven games and ended in Miami, I’m hoping for another epic seven-game series, with of course, a different ending.

What are your thoughts in the NBA finals, send them to my e-mail, and I’ll publish some in the section.

WORLD CUP. For football fans, next week is that time again when staying up late becomes a necessity, such are the sacrifices of fans who live in this side of the world.

Ever since I started following the World Cup, I’ve only really backed two teams—England and Brazil—and this year’s edition may mean at least one of them will make it to the semifinals or win it all.

As for England, I remember one expat screaming at a small TV set we were watching the game on, “Not again!” and cursing his way out.

I don’t think that would change this year, heck one writer even said that what makes this year’s English participation in the World Cup different from last year is that FA officials are already making excuses before the World Cup, not after it.

In contrast, Brazil’s coach Luis Felipe Scolari just predicted his team will meet Argentina in the finals. Go figure.

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