Editor’s Note: Apparently our TJP team gets fired up about basketball… so this article is the first installment of a three part series – TJP Contributors Michael Rossmann and Editor Paddy Gilger will counter Perry on Friday and Sunday.
Even though I see the joy of the resurrection everywhere – Katniss and Peeta reclining together, Dick Vitale’s refusal to die, Demi Moore’s insecurity – I can’t help but see the sorrow of Good Friday in the NBA playoffs. If the NCAA tournament gives us the giddiness of a springtime crush, the NBA playoffs carry the never-ending cross of a marriage gone loveless. Gone is the unconditional adulation of the college fans. Gone are the fight songs and the novelty of teenagers getting their moment of fame national TV. What’s left is a mechanical trudge toward the inevitable.
Here’s what I mean:
- From the get-go, we know where this is headed – there’ll either be resurrection or their won’t. It’ll be either Thunder or Spurs vs. Heat or Bulls (No Rose, no rings). Yet we still gotta watch the bloody mess that gets us there.
- Speaking of bloody mess, the seven-game first-round series are like the scourging in Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion.’ They go on for an unconscionably long time.
- Charles Barkley is like Peter – he makes sweeping and arrogant claims that prove untrue. But, like Jesus for Peter, we never stop loving him for it.
- David Stern = Pontius Pilate … enough said.
- There’s a lot of flopping. Jesus goes down three times – the Roman referees demand a substitution and make Simon the Cyrenian help him carry the cross. Joey Crawford would have just given him a technical.
- And seriously, isn’t the regular season long enough? Like the Gospels before the Passion, it’s a big, “so what?” Jesus raises a dude from the dead and bickers with Pharisees. Sure, it looks cool, but what does it matter? Ditto when Blake Griffin lays down some gravity-defying dunks and Ron Artest [a-hem] Metta World Peace slings some elbow. Whoop-de-doo – what’s the point? Stern (God the Father) makes us wait all the way to June (Easter Sunday) to explain why any of that actually matters.
Yet there’s still reason to suffer all this waiting. Without the glory of the league to come, there’d be no high stakes college basketball. This never-ending season is the price we pay for March Madness. No resurrection without a crucifixion.