The NBA Finals have made me want a professional sport to be like professional wrestling. Not only would I like to see Russell Westbrook fly off the top rope with a drop kick to Lebron James, I really want to see Shane Battier turn face.
In the world of professional wrestling, like the WWE, good guys are faces and bad guys are heels. The Miami Heat are the quintessential heel team. They are the nWo from the 1990’s glory days of WCW, complete with James playing the ultimate turncoat villain, Hollywood Hulk Hogan.
The Oklahoma City Thunder play the face role perfectly (for everyone except half-interested Miami fans, disgruntled Seattle Sonic fans and Shane here at Tobacco Road Blues). OKC is led by the young, hungry and humble Kevin Durant, the high-flying, risk-taking Westbrook, and the lovable bearded guy James Harden.
In my imaginary world of WBF, World Basketball Federation, the Heat would once again be in control of the game late until Battier subs in at a crucial moment. James steals a pass and goes by an OKC defender on his way to an easy dunk to seal the game. As he jumps to end the Thunder’s chance and the series, Battier comes from behind to swat the ball away.
Heat fans look on in horror as Battier takes off his Heat jersey to reveal an OKC one underneath. James has the same look on his face as Cavalier fans did on the night of “The Decision” – betrayed. Dwayne Wade dons fake glasses and falls to the ground in an apparent injury. Chris Bosh looks like this.
Battier helps the Thunder take game 5 and then arrives to a hero’s welcome in Oklahoma City, where he and his new team complete the historic comeback over the shellshocked Heat.
That’s what I wished would happen. What will actually happen?
I’ll shake my head every time Miami gets yet another toss-up call, except when it involves Battier. I’ll mumble after each no call goes against OKC, except when Battier would pick up the foul. I’ll plead for the ball to bounce out of the rim on every kick-out three the Miami Heat take, except when Battier shoots it.
I’ll hate the Heat relentlessly, but boo Battier? As a Duke fan, I could never do that. He gave us 2001.
Every clutch three, amazing defensive play, sneaky charge and dive on the floor reminds me why I love to watch him play. It reminds me why it just feels right to see him playing lights out for a championship. It reminds me why I want to see him turn on the Miami Heat so badly.
Is anyone else OK with hating the Heat, but refusing to boo Battier? Anyone have any tips on how to deal with college fandom conflicting with your professional rooting interests?