What a glorious time in the year, as yet another hoops season has bestowed us with greatness — and in no bigger fashion than watching the championship favorites, the Golden State Warriors, drop their first home match since last April by 29 points to an underrated Spurs team of the past.
Regardless of the loss in the Golden State’s home opener (somehow people forget what happened just four years ago to another player-created superteam down in South Beach), this season remains between two juggernauts, LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers and the star-studded Warriors. The promise of glory already generates front-page ESPN news despite a destined Cubs-Tribe World Series and the promise of football Sunday.
In essence, it seems that commissioner Adam Silver was wrong: These super teams have not only benefitted the NBA but have also generated more news cycles than two sports that have captivated the American public for generations prior.
That’s not to say that basketball has become America’s “favorite pastime” or replaced the NFL’s monstrous hold on the American public’s attention, but never in my time as an NBA fanatic have I seen this buzz for the arrival of a NBA season, all due to the promise of a trilogy finale between the King and his assassins.
However, I think it’s safe to say that the Warriors and the Cavs trilogy, the upcoming eight months of the basketball season, has become a finely crafted media machine, not only controlling news cycles even during the offseason but also turning all heads around the nation towards the NBA.
The prospect of Golden State and Cleveland playing again in the Finals entices so many throughout the nation and abroad and continues to create out-of-this-world playoff storylines. The mere rise and fall of Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson along with the heroic story of LeBron in his hometown symbolizes the heroic monomyth by Joseph Campbell to a tee.
Not to mention the media fallout that occurs around the league. The Warriors’ and the Cavs’ destined fate to an instant classic series not only create more TV ratings in the playoffs in June but also caused high ratings throughout the entirety of the last regular season. While the NFL has been inexplicably struggling in ratings this year, the NBA only seems to capture the lost fans, even though the league consists of these super teams.
Furthermore, with nearly all NBA analysts predicting the Golden State and Cleveland Finals appearance, teams and general managers have begun to rethink actions in different perspectives. Teams such as the Jazz or the Trail Blazers, two franchises with relatively poor records for the past couple of years, now generate media attention simply by accumulating young, talented guards instead of the flashiness and the Kobe-mentality of old.
As much as this pains me to say as a unabashed Los Angeles native, the Warriors and the Cavs are helping the sport that I love, at least for now. While I evidently don’t advocate for the league to become top-heavy like the Premier League, this season can be a year to remember for the NBA, both from the fans’ perspective and the financial perspective.
Amid so much controversy and fluidity around the sports nation, the NBA will definitely profit from a year of disparity while at the same time creating a rivalry for years to come, which will delight any true basketball fan around the nation. All fans can do now is watch history unfold.
Contact Lorenzo Rosas at enzor9 ‘at’ stanford.edu.