We're whittled down to the final four teams in the 2013 NBA Playoffs as we've advanced into the conference finals. We've now taken another step toward crowning an eventual champion of both the NBA and the swag rankings.
With the Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs the only teams remaining, something has become obvious: substance is way more important than style.
The Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and even the Milwaukee Bucks represented teams who were incredibly confident in their abilities, incredibly capable of pronouncing themselves the best team in their respective series, and able to wear just about anything to the podium. Now they've all been pushed by the wayside.
What we've got left are three teams who let their playing do all the talking. And the fourth team, the Heat, let their rings do all the talking for them.
Moving forward we're going to see a lot more traditional suits at post-game press conferences, and far fewer attempts at far-out "style."
Of course, Dwyane Wade is still going to be stepping up to the post-game press conference podium, so we're not going to be completely without ridiculously dressed basketball players over the course of the next few weeks.
Aside from Frank Vogel's uncanny ability to color-coordinate with the yellowed-out crowd in Indiana, Paul George's black-on-black pinstriped suit from his Most Improved Player Award press conference and George Hill's subtle colors, the Indiana Pacers just play basketball.
When you look at them as a group of 20-somethings out on the town, the only thing that really sticks out would be the fact that they're all a lot taller than the rest of the people in the club. Otherwise they seem pretty normal.
Tyler Hansbrough gives off the vibe of a frat boy from the late 90s, Roy Hibbert seems a bit dorky at times, David West is little more than a gigantic man designed to annihilate opponents in the post and knock down mid-range jumpers. And there's a dude named Miles on their team.
Indiana goes out onto the court, plays immaculate defense and goes home. That's all they care about, and maybe that's the way it should be.
Tim Duncan is an incredibly goofy looking dude, who is quite possibly one of the dorkiest superstars in any of the four major sports. But he is really the only player on the San Antonio Spurs who is actively uncool.
Even in Duncan's uncoolness, there is something about the way he goes out and plays basketball the way that he wants to that gives off a cool air of confidence.
Tony Parker has the whole international basketball-playing rapper going for him. Boris Diaw doesn't get enough credit for how good a dresser he actually is. And Patty Mills being the best towel waver left in the playoffs has to be worth something.
Maybe they're collectively a bit cooler than I'm giving them credit for.
Well, they do have the only guy in the NBA who wears New Balance sneakers, and there's something notably nerdy about that.
Believe it or not, the slow-paced and boring Memphis Grizzlies tend to be an incredibly stylish bunch.
They've been putting on a fashion show in post-game press conferences, with Zach Randolph, Mike Conley and Tony Allen leading the way.
Memphis isn't a group of guys that go out of the way to make any statements with what they wear. They just put on nice suits, sit down and answer their questions as quickly as possible.
There's something about their way of going about their business without any frills, and they go about dressing in much the same manner.
Somewhere along the way they went from being a group of jaw-punching, hard-nosed basketball players to a group of professional assassins.
Plus it doesn't hurt that Marc Gasol looks like a modern-day, Spanish Paul Bunyan when he starts to get a bit scruffy.
There isn't a team left in these playoffs with a similar combination of style, confidence, and all-out ability to completely control a basketball game quite like the Miami Heat.
It may seem like a foregone conclusion to have them at the top of a list like this, and really it is. But there's a lot more competition out there these days than in the past few years.
With the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors and players all over the league getting into showing off their personality on and off the court in a more flamboyant and peacocky manner.
At times it's cool to see some of these players looking dapper, but as Dwyane Wade has shown us this year, there are also plenty of laughs to be had along the way as well.
However, when it comes to the Heat, there isn't a team left in the playoffs to compete with them. Even with Wade wearing his grandmother's couch cushions as a suit jacket from time-to-time.
It's all in that shiny gold ring hanging off their fingers. Get one of those and your credibility and confidence goes straight through the roof.