The Golden State Warriors will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in a highly-anticipated rematch of last year’s NBA Finals. There’s a lot at stake in this series.
The time has finally come.
The Finals rematch that we’ve been anticipating all season is finally here. What a ride it has been for both teams. From subtweets in Cleveland to 3-1 playoff comebacks in Oakland, both of these teams have battled adversity and major obstacles to get to this point.
Let’s take a look at what’s at stake here.
One of the reasons why the NBA is the best league in the world is because of its storylines. Adam Silver and the NBA have to be salivating for this series. Imagine the slander LeBron James will get from fans and media if he loses. A loss in these finals would make LeBron 2-5 all time, and you know idiots out there are going to use that to discredit his greatness.
You can’t help but feel for LeBron. Other than his debacle in 2011, James has been dealt some crappy hands in his Finals appearances. In 2007 he took his AAU level Cavs team through the east before meeting prime Spurs big 3. In 2014 he battled the Spurs for a third time, one year after Ray Allen‘s shot heard ’round the world. San Antonio came into the season hungry, and they handed James another L in the finals, thanks in part to other stars for the ‘Heatles’ not showing up.
That’s part of the reason this Finals rematch is so anticipated. Both teams are pretty much at full strength. Meaning there’s no excuses for the loser. A win for the Warriors would validate last season’s championship, and likely place the building blocks of a dynasty.
However a loss would be a Mike Tyson-esque blow to the Warriors’ legacy. When Golden State was down 3-1 to the Thunder, critics came out of nowhere with the hottest of hot takes. You would hear how “overrated” the Warriors are, or how their recent ascent to the top is a “fluke”. Don’t get me wrong, a 73 win season is nothing without the Larry O’Brien trophy, but some of the takes you’d see from media and fans would be straight up blasphemy.
This Finals rematch pits two polar opposites against each other. In one corner, you have the hip, economically booming area powered by the Silicon Valley and its basketball team’s rabid fan base. Led by the Baby-Faced Assassin, the Warriors are ushering in a new era of basketball.
In the other corner, you have the blue collar city led by its larger than life superhero “the Chosen One”. The often-ridiculed city would like nothing more than James to save them from their 50+ year championship drought. It would be challenging for most people to find nice things to say about the city and its fans, but like it or not they are a diehard fan base patiently waiting for a title.
That is part of what makes this finals matchup so intriguing. The Bay Area vs. Cleveland. Techy vs. Blue collar. Steph vs. LeBron.
No matter what Steph says, a win for Golden State in these Finals would almost certainly complete his dethroning of LeBron. Back to back MVPs, leading jersey sales, coupled with another Finals victory would back up this sentiment.
But it’s not going to be easy for Curry & co. They are facing a new and vastly improved Cavs team. New coach, altered style, and Love and Irving are playing.
Storylines are important to NBA fandom, and the NBA couldn’t have drawn this one up any better. Either LeBron brings a starving, depressed fan base hungry for success its first ring since the Lyndon B. Johnson administration or Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors cap off the best single season in the history of the National Basketball Association.
We may be in store for one memorable Finals.