Top 10 Things That Will Be Missed During the NBA Lockout
As NBA fans around the world express a range of emotions from anger to confusion over not being able to watch their favorite squad hit the hard court this week, the league remains as far apart as ever in signing a Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The media is telling us, the fans, that we should expect to be kept waiting until Dec. 1 as the earliest date for the 2011-2012 season to begin.
In the meantime, and to make the wait even more nostalgic and difficult, let's reflect on why we love the NBA so much.
Here are the top 10 things that the NBA lockout is keeping from us...
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You're lying if you find yourself disagreeing with me, or you're sitting right next to your wife/girlfriend, in which case I understand (wink).
There's nothing better than a short break from watching the sweaty, manly grind on the hardwood than a little dance number from your city's finest talent.
If your wife/girlfriend is still sitting next to you (which she shouldn't be), then she's probably saying something to this effect: "NBA dancers are just a group of bimbos with T&A shakin' it for thousands of drunk jerks."
Au contraire. If you've ever watched one of the many documentary spots covering an NBA team's dancer auditions then you would know that the competition is thick with legitimately talented dancers.
Anybody who's ever attended a live NBA game knows the pride these dancers have, the prudence used in classic song choices (less Wocka Flocka, more 80s hair rock), and the thematic creativity and effort they maintain in their work (see above picture).
And since the NBA plays indoors, you never have to worry about those angels being cold!
9. More Dancers
Perhaps more impressive than their on-court talents are the popping, locking and/or dropping that some of the NBA's biggest stars can throw down despite being half-giants.
If the dunk is the most exciting play in basketball, then nothing gets the fans out of their seats more than a little dunk and dance combo.
Busting out some flavor goes a long way to help us fans humanize our multimillionaire heroes. And I don't know about the rest of the anti-LeBron nation, but watching him goof around on court makes me dislike him just a little less.
8. Coaches and Players Flipping out
Who doesn't love a good brawl, especially when it features old men and giant athletes instead of two oiled up meatheads with padded gloves?
Remember Jeff Van Gundy's famous attempt to pull Alonzo Mourning away from Charles Oakley? Or Tim Hardaway losing it and chucking a sideline TV onto the court? These make for the best "what was he thinking?" moments and provide Charles Barkley yet another chance to call something 'turrible'.
The list of entertaining scuffles, skirmishes and meltdowns goes on and on (Dennis Rodman, Bulls/Celtics 2010, Celtics/Heat 2011, Artest versus the Auburn Palace), and stick with us almost as much as the comebacks and the buzzer beaters.
It's as close as the sane basketball fans get to participating in TMZ fodder, and we miss the drama.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
If the dunk is the NBA's yin, then the block is the yang.
Equally important and equally exciting is the swat.
A good shot-blocker can force a team to alter its strategy, and one block can change the outcome of an important playoff game.
Blocks come in many different forms. The "I'm hunting you down from behind and ruining your breakaway and there's nothing you can do about it" block made famous by LeBron James. The "Spud Webb" block where the short guy tosses the big man. The "Ah, thank you". And of course, the Dikembe.
6. KG's Intensity
5. Ankle Breaking
Since And1 has seemingly faded into the mist, and most of us are not nearly quick enough to actually cross someone over ourselves, we refer to the NBA to satiate our appetite for ankle-breaking.
But one of the great things about watching someone get crossed over is that it doesn't even matter if the play results in a missed shot or the ball flying out of bounds, someone still got embarrassed.
That, though, is the greatest part of all: watching a grown man forced to his bottom by the quickness and ingenuity of the game's best ball-handlers.
4. Catching Fire
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Some of the most memorable single-game moments in recent memory feature a player "catching fire" from long range.
Carmelo Anthony dropped 33 points in one quarter.
Ty Lawson hit 10 consecutive treys to start a game. On point.
In no other sport is there potential for such high-speed big time performances play after play to keep fans on their feet begging for more. Not baseball, football or hockey.
2. The Buzzer Beater
No other play in sports makes the fans hold their collective breath like the last-second shot attempt.
It can take a career from zero to star in an instant.
Michael Jordan solidified his status as the GOAT, walking off into the sunset in style (most of us like to pretend he never played for the Wizards) when he broke off Bryon Russell.
1. The Finals
Sports are all about heroics. And the NBA is certainly not short on such courageous performances.
Whether it's Michael Jordan hitting the game-winning shot and dropping 38 points on the Jazz in Game 5 of the 1997 Finals just hours after throwing up from the flu.
Or Isaiah Thomas gutting out a severely sprained ankle in Game 6 of the '88 Finals to set the Finals record for most points in a quarter with 25 in a losing effort.
The Finals provides a format for individuals to rise above the occasion and do something special.
Its where the 6'9" Magic Johnson took over for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at center to post 42 points and 15 rebounds in the 1980 title-clinching Game 6.
The Finals are a magical time for every NBA fan. Occupy the NBA!