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I have never been a big NBA fan. I remember the cocaine era. I cheered the wildly inconsistent Seattle Supersonics in that era. I appreciated the magic of the Chicago Bulls with star-whisperer Phil Jackson, Michael Jordon, Scotty Pippen, and “The Worm” Dennis Rodman. I admired “the admiral” David Robinson‘s career as a leader with the San Antonio Spurs, along with Tim Duncan, back when they were a distinctly locker-room-disciplined team. And yet, I remember the cocaine era, the referee point-shaving era, the radical leftist ChiCom kowtowing, America-trashing ongoing era, most notoriously embodied in LeBron James.
So, the enemy of my enemy gets my provisional, limited, and temporary rooting interest. The Phoenix [“The Valley?”] Suns apparently managed the second-best record in a self-created asterisk-laden 2020-2021 season. They proceeded to eject the megalomaniacally self-titled “King” LeBron James, and his current star vehicle, the Los Angeles Lakers (a formerly great team), from the playoffs for the first time in Pawn James’ career.
After embarrassing the Lakers in Phoenix with a lopsided 115-85 win on 1 June 2021, the Suns went to L.A. and defended MJ’s legacy. Stuffing LeBron’s playoff run in the first round for the first time ever, the Suns denied a poorly aging LeBron the chance to even get a sniff at Air Jordon’s stratospheric record of six NBA championship rings. LeBron James’s pursuit of MJ’s record led him to Los Angeles because it was supposed to be a team with deep-pocketed owners who would buy a couple of championships in the hottest, coolest global media spotlight. He has only four championship rings, leaving him stuck on the third tier.
Among this generation of NBA players, Jordan has GOAT status. His six rings are the bar all of them must clear to be in that conversation. Five rings gets you on the same mountain peak as all-time greats like Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan.
James was 31 when he got to three rings with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. It took him until age 35 to win his fourth ring last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, but he and his new co-star, Anthony Davis, looked like they could win a few more — if they stayed healthy.
Oops. A younger, hungrier, faster Suns team turned up the heat and cooked LeBron’s goose in convincing style. They went to Los Angeles on Thursday evening with a 3-2 best-of-seven series lead. In the opening minutes, the Suns sprinted to a double-digit lead. They never gave it back, although they almost slipped to single digits early in the last quarter. The Suns ended up eliminating the Lakers in Game 6, 113-100. They will face the Denver Nuggets, who torched the Portland Trailblazers like a Portland small business on another Antifa-BLM
bonfire rally riot evening.
I have no further interest, beyond the bonus joy that only the Rodney Dangerfield of NBA franchises, the L.A. Clippers, survives, trailing Dallas 3-2, in this year’s playoffs. Every other Left Coast team was either shut out of the playoffs or shown the door in the first round. I will cheer for Dallas for one night only, hoping for a complete Cal-tastrophe and a left behind storyline.Published in