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Why the Boston Celtics & Los Angeles Lakers Will Entertain at the NBA Finals

PHOENIX - MAY 29:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers hugs teammate Ron Artest #37 after defeating the Phoenix Suns 111-103 in Game Six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at US Airways Center on May 29, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Lakers will play the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Christina De NicolaCorrespondent IJune 3, 2010

Cameron Crazies. March Madness. The Final Four. 

From the season's first game in November until April's championship game, NCAA basketball is all about heart.

Students paint themselves in school colors and cheer on their classmates competing for conference bragging rights.

They make posters for Dick Vitale, curse out the referee after a bad call, and rush the court after an upset.

It's a time for passion and teamwork. It's a time for balancing school and basketball. 

The majority of the players in college basketball will not be selected as one of the 60 picks in the NBA Draft. Few will sign as free agents and see playing time in the league.

With the start of the NBA Finals tonight, grown men will revert back to their playground days back when it was about the love of the game.

And not the paycheck.

After cruising through an 82-game regular season and turning up the heat during the playoffs, it all comes down to two teams: the Lakers and the Celtics.

Both faced challenges to get this far.

For Los Angeles, the young and overlooked Oklahoma City Thunder surprised the nation in a six-game series.

For Boston, a short bench, due to concussions and other injuries, gave the Orlando Magic hope.

But both teams also brought their best efforts.

Rajon Rondo will surely dive for a loose ball. Kobe Bryant will provide deftly shooting down the stretch.

The STAPLES Center and TD Garden will resemble college atmospheres.

Fans will be waving their rally towels, trash talking in the concession lines, and hoping to get on television.

And for a couple of weeks, the league's historical free-agency period, set to begin on July 1, will take a step back as two legendary franchises battle it out.

Starting tonight it's about more than money.

The Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy is on the line.

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