Starting Lineups: Only 2 Weeks Until The NBA Comes Home

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Before you dive in to today’s Starting Lineups, RIP Wally Bell, longtime baseball umpire who had just finished working the Pittsburgh Pirates/St. Louis Cardinals NLDS.

Since the leaves began to turn into beautiful hues of orange and brown, yours truly has been a little more than elated as the NBA regular season draws closer. In fact, two weeks from today, we will be reacquainted with the always-imitated, never duplicated "Inside the NBA" team and nosh on a small sampling of opening night games before the rest of the league takes over the following night.

This anticipation has gotten the attention of some friends near and far who assume that because I’m here in New York City that looking forward to the NBA season is a way to distract myself from a putrid season for the Giants, times of growing pains for the Jets, no postseason baseball and the weirdness of the early NHL season.

Yeah, no.

As someone who will watch a game eight out of 10 times the television is on, the addition of one more pro sport to the offering brings a joy that can only be matched by … actually, that’s a lie. It can’t be matched.

People get into a tizzy when football draws near, as they should. The NFL’s place as the most popular entertainment company in the United States has lent to some shark-jumping moments in the last few years, but it’s a well-earned place. College football has its own hold on Saturdays, evidenced by Jason Gay’s ode to "Football Twitter." The MLB postseason has been quite exciting to everyone but Torii Hunter, but most of the time on the Twittuh has been spent discussing why folks suddenly don’t like the St. Louis Cardinals. Let us not forget the tremendousness that the NHL brings when there are jersey fouls galore at Puck Daddy.

Yet, the NBA is just a different animal for me. Maybe it’s the sports ADD mentioned earlier, maybe it’s the buzz the league gets in the streets, and it’s definitely assisted by the Knicks being kinda good. It’s not just this Scribe, I’d bet.

In two weeks, we don’t just watch the Miami Heat's push for three straight NBA titles and a fourth consecutive Finals appearance — a first since the 1982-85 Los Angeles Lakers.

We aren’t just going to watch two-team cities declare relatively civil war within Los Angeles and New York.

We won’t just have a front-row seat to watch Derrick Rose shut up Chicago Bulls fans miffed that he chose to sit out all of last season.

It’s not just going to be about looking at the Indiana Pacers show that they won’t be stuck in neutral after an impressive playoff run.

Hell, it’s not even about how Oklahoma City or San Antonio or even Denver or Memphis try to navigate a changing Western Conference.

It’s about Harrison Barnes being one-upped by DeAndre Jordan.

It’s about the tantalizing possibilities of Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, both healthy and intriguing.

It’s about Metta World Peace not remembering or caring what arena he’s in right now.

It’s about Andrew Bynum playing for respect to only regrow his hair again and go bowling.

It’s about whatever rookie stuns us all in the middle of January by dropping 40 and 10 on the Toronto Raptors.

It’s about #LeaguePassAlert!

It’s about the Kobe Stare slowly disintegrating Nick Young from the bench game by game.

It’s about the long, winding and certain-to-be entertaining swan song of David Joel Stern.

It’s about the fun we’re about to have until a champ is crowned in June.

May these next two weeks pass by already.

Bankruptcy for Ailing Detroit, but Prosperity for Its Teams – New York Times

The guy who stole that HR ball in Boston being called “The Angel of Fenway” – HardballTalk

Iman Shumpert trims flattop from existence – ProBasketballTalk (cue the appropriate classic song)

Accused killer of Canes, Redskins star Sean Taylor finally heads to trial – Miami Herald

Watch the Spot; LeBron and Others Scream for Sprite in Latest Campaign – Advertising Age

Marvin Gaye’s 1981 Belgium Documentary With Captivating Rehabilitation Footage – The Smoking Section (by our own Mr. Tinsley)

Netflix Pursues Cable-TV Deals – The Wall Street Journal

“(The Walking)" Dead Gains 16M Viewers, Beats “Sunday Night Football” – MediaPost

Kenan Thompson Blames SNL’s Diversity Issue on Lack of Talented Black Comediennes – TV Guide (Does this explain my lack of viewing it since 2000? Probably not.)

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