The Finals are finally here. Every fan of the game knows this, of course, but after a season that almost entered a “nuclear winter,” to borrow Commissioner David Stern‘s phrase, the simple fact of its existence is something to be happy about. It’s not the only thing to be excited about, however.
Here are 10 more reasons, starting Tuesday, to watch the NBA Finals with a little more interest.
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10. MORE PRESS CONFERENCE WEIRD FASHION
It’s not really related to basketball, per se, but you can’t tell me Russell Westbrook‘s outfits in postgame press conferences haven’t given NBA TV a spike in its ratings. Westbrook’s at the forefront of a fashion-conscious movement that came out of nowhere like a Kevin Garnett moving screen. The Thunder making the Finals lets us see what else he has in his closet, and whether Dwyane Wade has any more variations of rubber frames without lenses. We’ve already seen the Sally Jesse Raphael glasses and the fish-hook polo from Westbrook, not to mention LeBron’s 1970s-era prom button-up. A subcategory to this storyline that developed after the Eastern Conference Finals’ Game 7 is, “What is Amar’e Wearing?”
9. DEREK FISHER’S‘s RING WATCH.
Right now the veteran guard is tied with 11 other players with five championship titles. Winning No. 6, though, delivers him into another elite realm of players. He’ll be surrounded by pretty much all of the old Celtics, plus Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Robert Horry and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
8. THE DUKE RING WATCH
Shane Battier has the chance to enter the lonely NBA territory that only Danny Ferry has known for ex-Duke players, at least under Coach K. Huh? Yes, for as many players Duke has on NBA rosters and the college success they collectively brought to the pros, the only Blue Devil who played under Mike Krzyzewski to win an NBA title is Ferry. That was in 2003 with San Antonio, when he contributed 6.3 minutes per game. Battier has a much bigger role than that, obviously, and stands as a legitimate piece of evidence against the charge that Dookies can’t win NBA titles.
7. MARIO CHALMERS‘ ROLE ON THE HEAT
The guard from Kansas got so many eye rolls from Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in Game 7 of the East Finals that it was almost as if Erik Spoelstra ended his huddles that day with a “play nice!” Anyone could tell they didn’t want him out there making crucial decisions, which was a strange counterpoint to LeBron crediting the “team” with a win afterward. Chalmers has played the sixth-most minutes in the playoffs (third on Miami) and is only three three-pointers behind Kevin Durant for the playoff lead, but Game 7’s in-game reactions from his star teammates look like he’s regarded as a nuisance at worst, a little brother at best.
6. CITY COMPARISONS
It’s a series between two teams, mind you, but don’t forget the tad ridiculous city rivalry that always develops around title matches. This one is particularly funny if you’re a fan of stark contrasts. The Oklahoman broke down the differences from an OKC perspective recently, poking fun at itself under “tan lines” (Miami: bikinis; Oklahoma City: farmers) and native-son “ESPN blowhards” (Miami: Dan Le Batard; Oklahoma City: Skip Bayless). That they were born just seven years apart is the closest these two have ever come to being similar.