Lessons From 2009 NBA Finals
Every NBA finals has some lessons. The 2008 Finals showed us that three
aging superstars could put away their egos and play as a team and bring
the Celtics a championship. The 2007 Finals showed us that three
players – Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli - from foreign
countries could mesh and bring a championship back to San Antonio. This
year the Lakers beat the Magic in five games. Two of the games were
overtimes. What did we learn? What lessons did the 2009 NBA Finals
teach us? Well, actually there were many lessons, things to keep in
mind on future finals:
old NBA Slogan “Stay in School” – fuggetiboutit ! Two of the top five
players in the NBA were in these finals – Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard
– and they never walked on a college campus. What does that say about
being seasoned in college? Not much, apparently, because the
second best players on the Lakers and the Magic – Pau Gasol and Hedo
Turkoglu – never went to college either. They both matured playing
European ball. Okay, you say, don’t be such a downer because at least
the third best player on each team – Andrew Bynum and Rashard Lewis –
went to college. Err, no, both high schoolers. So that’s the lesson. If
you want to make it to the NBA finals your top three players should not
have gone to college.
- If you are a coach in the finals, having a TV announcer as your brother, will not help.
Yes, Jeff Van Gundy called the games where his brother Stan Van Gundy
coached the Magic. No, it did not keep Stan Van Gundy’s suit from
looking like he just got off a 12 hour flight. Also, it did not keep
Jeff from saying so when his brother was making bonehead plays.
- No matter who won, someone was going to Disney. It made no difference that both
teams were from a Disneyland or a Disneyworld locale or that the star
players – Bryant and Howard – had been to their Disney park dozens of
times before, still someone from the winning team was going to a theme
park except, this time, with a whole lot of cash.
matter which teams were in the finals, Kobe and LeBron puppets were
bound to show up in the commercials. Two loveable puppets who looked
nothing like the players they were supposed to be. Par for the course
since the voices didn’t match either. However, since the LeBron puppet
refused to shake hands with the eventual winner, it is up for an Emmy
name of the team has very little to do with how they’ll play. Los
Angeles doesn’t have a lot of lakes. And Orlando, with a team named
after the “Magic Kingdom” didn’t have a lot of Magic. They choked away
two games, Game 2 and Game 4, they had locked up. The magic was with
the Lakers and in those two games Orlando’s victories fell in the lake.
Let that be a lesson for future finals teams.
Can the aging superstars of San Antonio be Spurred on? Can Cleveland be too Cavalier about their destiny?
We won’t know but we can be assured about one thing,
there will always be lessons. Every NBA Finals can teach us something.