10 Thoughts On The NBA Soap Opera, Starring Lebron, Steph, Ayesha, And Kyrie

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

1. Saying Lebron James is the best basketball player in the world feels like such a matter-of-fact and unnecessary assertion that saying it aloud makes me feel dumber. Like saying "Hey, that dog over there is a mammal." Or perhaps "That Kappa over there is wearing a sweater vest. In July. While playing flag football." But apparently it's necessary, because there are otherwise sane people who believed he is not. And yes, I used the past tense of believe intentionally. Because regardless of what happens Sunday night, anyone who has watched these games and can still come away believing Steph Curry has replaced Lebron as the NBA's best is either not sane anymore or a member of the Curry family.


2. I am not mad at Ayesha Curry, whose series of tweets last night helped her morph from "The World’s Most Controversial Couscous-Recipe-Tweeting Demi-Celebrity" to literally every 32-to-55-year-old Black man in a barbershop today. She is just very passionate (for obvious reasons) and very wrong; traits she just happens to share with most sports fans and Stephen A. Smith.

3. Every foul called on Steph last night was a foul. And at least four of those fouls were dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb-ass fouls that a person like him should know better than committing in a game like that. They were the type of fouls I'd bench 8th graders for when I was coaching a 13 and under AAU team.


That last foul on Lebron — where he fouled him three times before anything was called — was the worst. They (the Warriors) had some momentum, and then he goes and tries to make a steal he had 0000007% chance of making, and fouls Lebron 80 feet from the basket. I'm kinda surprised he lost his composure like that.

4. Speaking of Steph, a significant part of the Cavs' offensive strategy over the last four games seems to be "find whoever Steph is guarding, and give him the ball." This has been especially advantageous for them when he's guarding Lebron or Kyrie.

That Steph would have trouble controlling Lebron is understandable and expected. But I'm not sure if very many people — well, very many people aside from the person writing this right now — expected Steph to have so much trouble with Kyrie. There was a point during last night's game when the unanimous MVP was switched on to the four years younger and similarly-sized Irving, and could be seen screaming "Help!"

This is also what Oklahoma City attempted to do. But it's been a bit more successful for the Cavs because Lebron is stronger, savvier, and better than Kevin Durant. And while Russell Westbrook is a force of nature, he's (mostly) bursts of explosive energy; a 6'4 squirrel after seven Jagerbombs. Kyrie, on the other hand, is a bit trickier and craftier and harder to predict. And, with Kobe retiring, is perhaps the league's most versatile shot-maker. ("Most versatile" doesn't mean "the best." Just the most versatile.) He's also deceptively big (6'3.5 and 200 pounds) and powerful enough to bully past Steph and even Klay Thompson sometimes.


Anyway, this seems to have taken a toll on Steph, who now has to expend energy actually guarding people instead of being stashed on non-threats. It's also mentally taxing to have to settle and compose yourself after a guy just made a Vine out of you on national TV.

5. In no way would the results of Sunday night change the fact that the Warriors had the best regular season of all-time. Win or lose, I would however refrain from placing them in any conversations about the "Best Team of All-Time." They're still the favorites and they still should win. But neither the Thunder nor the Cavs are on anyone's list of the top teams ever, but the Thunder should have beat them and the Cavs still can.


6. After all of this ends, Kevin Love and Harrison Barnes should probably go somewhere and get a beer together and just talk about, like, life and stuff. That would be nice for both of them.

7. Tristan Thompson is a financial paradox. Against the 28 other NBA teams, he seems vastly overpaid. Insultingly overpaid, actually. Against the Warriors, he seems vastly underpaid.


8. It's kinda of amusing watching people adopt a football-watching and assessing dynamic to NBA basketball. You just can not make any grand proclamations after one (or two) games of a seven game series. Especially when accounting for variables like injuries. Yet people still continue to do it. And I get why, because its fun. But you end up having to eat crow like 24 hours later. And I've always hated the taste of crow. So I don't say shit that'll need to be unsaid.

9. I've said nothing about the refereeing, because complaining about the refereeing, blaming it for a team's misfortunes, and even crafting conspiracies is dumb. And it's a great way of announcing "Hey, everyone. I've never played a sport on a high level before! And I regularly blame my failures on other people!"


10. VSB-favorite Dahntay Jones scored five points last night. A few months ago, I was on a panel at Google with his wife. (Who's very nice!)

This has no real relevance or connection to anything else. I just wanted to share.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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The Nba is getting exactly what it wanted a seventh game in the finals between the two most talked about teams in the league. Do I think the NBA more than almost any league nudges things to get what they want of course, not suspended a guy for a groin kick, which they can go back and do. They change out a official in game 7 of a Western finals where a certain team scored fewer points and had more fouls called on them by this certain official. The league decides two days after a game to upgrade a foul to a flagrant which could have been done in the prior series. The momentum of the series has changed which creates more games and revenue for the league, sponsors and don't forget Vegas and the betting industry.