I couldn’t wait for Tuesday. What a day Tuesday was going to be. Sure, most people are probably glad Friday is here now but, trust me, Tuesday was where it was at.
The weekend prior had a lot of ups and downs. When the Miami Dolphins are the only one of your sports teams to win on Sunday, you know it’s a weird weekend, but I took solace in the fact that on Tuesday I would be happy.
I was absolutely buzzing for last Tuesday night. And I shouldn’t have been. This is still relatively new to me. Six or so years ago, Tuesday night would have done nothing for me. But now, I’d been genuinely excited about it for the past few weeks, counting down the days to “¦ Opening night.
The NBA was back. Basketball. Finally.
I remember the Finals game 7 clearly in my head. I cheered on the Cavaliers to complete the comeback and knock off the favourites, Golden State. There’s nothing quite like an upset. LeBron’s virtuoso performance, backed up with Kyrie’s wizardry, left me astounded. I never truly expected Steph Curry and the Warriors to end up as anything other than champions following their record-breaking regular season run.
The Finals are always so fun and exciting, but in the immediate aftermath you end up with a basketball hangover, as the sad realisation sets in that you have to wait another three to four months to see the next outrageous Blake Griffin alley-oop dunk. I’m dying to see a “Splash Bros 3pt Shooting” clinic. There’s something innately beautiful about a “nothing but net” three-point shot and the way the ball flies downwards through the hoop.
But basketball is typically not something I ever loved growing up. Those of you who know me will recognise how generally uncoordinated, clumsy and unathletic I can be. I’m not a student athlete; I’m a sports person. I happen to be decent at kicking a ball into a net, but athleticism and hand-eye coordination have never been part of my skillset. Basketball was therefore an absolute horror for me to attempt to play. Being young and immature, I of course decided I did not like the sports because I happened to be useless at playing it. In hindsight, I could not have been more wrong. The sport of basketball is a truly magical game. I really got into it during my gap year before coming to Trinity. I was working as a bartender, and upon finishing my shifts at midnight, the only thing worth watching on TV in England was the NBA. And I fell in love with it! I’ve been an avid fan ever since.
But this season has a special feeling about it. There’s buzz of the unknown throughout the league. This year’s NBA season is so exciting because we really have no idea what to expect. Can the Warriors really incorporate Durant into their team successfully? How will the Spurs react to losing Tim Duncan? What are the Lakers like post-Kobe? How will LeBron, Kyrie and the Cavs go about defending their title? Will there be any surprise packages awaiting us in the playoffs?*
*(Spoilers: The Warriors fit Durant seamlessly into their team, kill most of their opposition and face the Spurs, who led by Kawhi show no ill effects of losing Tim Duncan, in the Western Conference Finals, with the Lakers failing to win 30 games. LeBron and the defending champion Cavaliers will be waiting in the Finals for the winners of Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs. Put your money on it now.)
So Tuesday night, I sat down to watch our hometown San Antonio Spurs take on the Golden State Warriors. And what a game it was. The Spurs were simply incredible. Tim who? The usual suspects (Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker) were backed up by superb bench support that even former MVPs Curry and Durant could not match. After a white-hot start, the Spurs bench took over the game, culminating in Jonathan Simmons first half-buzzer beater to close the second quarter. The Spurs went on to win by 29 points. I know Zac Treu and the rest of the Trinity Spurs fan club were going nuts. And I loved it too. I think a 29-point win at Golden State is an upset for any team. What a start to the season.
Basketball, it’s great to have you back.