As the horn sounded to end game 7, I wasnt happy...but some things stood out to me that gave me some hope for the NBA. As much as I rooted for the Spurs, the Heat had more weapons at their disposal, and in the end they found their hot hands more often. They were the recipient of good luck in a game 6 that, with one more SA rebound or free-throw, would have seen San Antonio hoist the trophy.
I was prepared to feel a bit nauseated by the Heat celebration, but to my surprise, Lebron, Wade and others reacted not with chest thumping and thuggish posturing...instead seeking out Duncan, Pop and Ginobli before ever celebrating their own success. THEY knew that they just won a championship that should have probably went to the Spurs...and their muted response was both appropriate and noteworthy. Even their first comments after the win were all about the Spurs...acknowledging without saying the words that "hey, we have the trophy, but we are not necessarily the better team"
Another reason that this was the best NBA finals for fans since the 80's was the nearly complete absence of chest-up confrontations, cheap elbows, and childish yapping and trash talk. No over-reactive scuffles or controversial suspensions to mar the outcome. Just, for the most part, basketball played in rhythm without uneccesary fouls or phantom calls. In fact, other than the no-call on Ginobli in game 6, this series was less affected by refereeing than any other series I've seen in the last 30 years. This series was devoid of those ryhthm-robbing offensive fouls off the ball....and those phantom touch fouls that lead to 60 free throw attempts in regular season games.
Credit goes to the players and coaches for concentrating on basketball instead of brutality...teamwork over testosterone. Hopefully the NBA pays attention. Hopefully players and organizations start promoting the product we saw over the last 7 games... instead of self promotion, money grubbing and overall thug mentality. This type of play and sportsmanship is what kids should see and learn... and it was pretty exciting for adults as well. Two teams concentrating on what they needed to do without bothering with personal garbage that either detracts from focus, or turns attention from the goal to an individual.
Though the team I was pulling for did not win, indeed The NBA won tonight.