In the beginning, there was Rasheed Wallace.
The well-traveled forward, now retired and working as an assistant coach with Detroit, was a modern-day basketball Confucius, working the Earth and teaching basketball aphorisms like "ball don't lie" and "CTC: cut the check."
But Sheed's most lasting contribution to NBA culture might have been the championship belt. After winning the 2004 NBA championship with the Pistons, Sheed spent the next season walking around with a WWE-style championship belt draped over his shoulder. And it was glorious.
This season, some Internet genius has taken Sheed's idea and run with it, creating the NBA Championship Belt website.
The site uses the "lineal champion" rules of boxing and pro wrestling—i.e., "the man who beat the man"—which means last year's champion starts off the season as the reigning champions, but forfeits the title with their first loss of the season. And the team which beat the champs became the new NBA champions. There are no playoffs: The year-end champion is the team holding the belt at the end of the season.
Check out this Championship Belt alternate history:
|Year||Real Champ||Belt Champ|
|2008-09||LA Lakers||LA Lakers|
A world where the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks are champions? Has the world gone topsy-turvy!
And you know what the belt rules mean for this season, people: Presenting your reigning NBA champions, the Philadelphia 76ers!
Judging the NBA under these rules also means that Friday night's Sixers-Wizards matchup is akin to an NBA Finals Game 7.
Even more beautiful.