Other than the fact that most games will end long after I've fallen asleep, either by choice or biological destiny, I'm incredibly excited for the NBA Finals. In truth, this might be the most I've anticipated a final series since the '87 matchup between the Celtics and Lakers, way back when I actively cared about professional hoops on a full-time basis.
I've got a bit of a problem, though (in addition to the aforementioned somnolence issues). I want both teams to win.
Recent media-driven mini-backlash aside, it's impossible to dislike the Warriors. They're what we say we want in our champions: innovative, exciting, skilled, free-flowing, and even somewhat humble (by the standards of modern professional athletes). Though they made the game look impossible easy for long stretches this season, they surmounted significant adversity during the playoffs, summoning reserves of grit and resilience to match their skill and intelligence in overcoming a very game Thunder squad. They showed guts last postseason, too, fighting back from series deficits twice on their way to the title.
As for the Cavaliers, it's easy to understand the sporting public's mixed emotions. Everyone wants to take shots at the king, and despite Prince Steph's meteoric rise, there's still only one King. LeBron has his momentary missteps, unquestionably, but there is no denying the fact the he remains the most unique basketball weapon of all time. And our fondness for him is both well-documented and unlikely to change because he says things on occasion that may seem either manufactured or arrogant. The dude's been literally worshipped by the American sports-media complex since he was 16. You'd be a little weird, too.
I'm not just rooting for the Cavs because of LeBron, though. I love a good narrative, and the prodigal son returning to Cleveland to deliver a championship to the longest of long-suffering fanbases is as good a story as we get in sports, non-Leicester City category. LeBron paying off his debt to his hometown by vanquishing the best team in NBA history? That's some epic shit, right there. They'll write books and stuff.
And while I do like the Warriors' bit players somewhat more than I do their counterparts in navy and wine, it's impossible not to admire Kyrie Irving's fearless basket attacks, or Kevin Love's understanding of spacing and willingness to play the Chris Bosh role. Delly's both irritating and amusing, and J.R. Smith is alternately thrilling and be-musing. I always liked Tyronn Lue as a player, even back to his Nebraska days, and he's stepped into a tough spot and never seemed over his head.
But I've written all those words, and I still don't have an answer. I want LeBron to bring a title to Cleveland, and I want the Warriors to validate this jaw-dropping season. I guess I'll have to arm-wrestle myself.