Part of the beauty of sports is unpredictability. While there is some value in watching rivals meet year after year with something at stake (think Lakers and Celtics of the 1980s), I personally don’t mind a few surprises when it comes to sports at any level.
That’s why I am currently enjoying the NBA playoffs. While I don’t get to watch nearly as many games as I would like, it’s somewhat refreshing to me to know that we won’t have another rematch of the Warriors and Cavaliers in the NBA finals for what seems like 10 years in a row (actually only the past four consecutive years).
What’s even more fun to me is having teams like Milwaukee and Denver be relevant again. Some of my earliest memories of the NBA is watching the Milwaukee Bucks win the 1974 NBA championship with a team consisting of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (who had just changed him name from Lew Alcindor), along with Oscar Robertson and Bobby Dandridge.
I also watched a bunch of Denver Nuggets games back in the 1970s, because KWGN out of Denver was part of our cable package. Of course, that’s back when the Nuggets played in the old ABA with the red, white and blue basketball and their star player was David Thompson.
While the Bucks and Nuggets have had some outstanding players and even made a rare run deep into the playoffs, for the most part, neither has been considered a potential NBA champion until this season. For sure, the Nuggets still have to get to the next round where they would likely be underdogs against the defending champion Warriors or perhaps even the Houston Rockets, but it’s safe to say they have shown they can hold their own.
Milwaukee has already advanced to the Eastern Conference finals and would actually own home-court advantage should the Bucks make it to the NBA championship series. It’s been a long, long time since the Bucks were this relevant.
Time will soon tell who will play on basketball’s biggest stage. It could very well be the Warriors for another year, but it might not be, and even if it is, a new foe would await them in the championship series. For a person who likes routine and hates surprises in general, I must say not knowing the exact script for this year’s NBA post season is well worth the unknown journey.