This coming Thursday the NBA Finals tips off and all will be right in the world from May 30 to as late as June 16. There are too many intriguing story lines to count, not to mention a plethora of mind-bending basketball schemes being executed on the court. Rather than bore you with free agency speculation, or examining zone-man hybrids, I wanted to lay out 10 things in the game to watch for in the NBA Finals.
This is very niche. But for sneaker-heads everywhere the NBA Finals is an exciting time for exclusive models and colorways. Not to mention Nike (Kevin Durant), Under Armor (Steph Curry) and other brands are all competing for the virtually free publicity.
9. Corporate Advertisements
Not to go all Darren Rovell on you, but people with more business acumen than I will enjoy watching companies try to one-up each other before, during, and after the game. Every second of screen time will serve as a battleground for advertisement; commercials, sideline sponsors, post-game décor, and signage around the arena will be meticulously crafted to catch the eyes of consumers.
8. Body Language
We all saw the spat between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green earlier in the season, since then the speculation about where KD is going this off-season has reached new heights. Watch the slim-reaper closely to see if he gives us any indication regarding how he feels about his teammates.
7. Lebron James Instagram
This is going to be great. You can bet that King James will be VERY active on his Instagram during the Finals. At night, I would suspect he will upload videos of his feet in the sand while drinking the finest of wines. During the day, I’m guessing it will be workout videos carefully captioned with cryptic messages aimed at detractors and other players alike.
The Eastern Conference Finals provided awful ratings. Two smaller media markets (one of which is in Canada) could be to blame for those numbers. However, this will be the first Finals since 2010 without Lebron James in action so it will be interesting to see if the fans still tune in to see a dynastic super-team take on a newcomer from the east.
As soon as the first controversial whistle is blown, people will go in droves to the official NBA Referees twitter account to air their grievances. Additionally, professional athletes and celebrities will be live-tweeting their thoughts on the game. I wish either ABC or one of the many ESPN channels would show a live timeline with all of the tweets coming in throughout the game.
Every year paparazzi give us glimpses of players ducking into exclusive clubs after games or on off-days during the playoffs. Clubs aren’t my style, but we all love to see how twenty-something multi-millionaires spend their valuable down time.
3. Post-game Presser
A few years ago Riley Curry captured America’s heart with her cuteness. Last year Lebron James used the final post-game press conference to wear a soft-cast to seemingly justify the reason for the Finals loss. You can count on more talk-show fodder being manufactured from these pressers.
Movie stars, musicians, and comedians alike will be sitting courtside at all of the games. Whether you’re a fan of Rihanna or Kevin Hart, keep an eye on the floor seats to see how the stars interact with the players. If the Toronto Raptors win the Eastern Conference Finals then you better believe rapper Drake will be in rare form for the Finals.
1. Championship Parade
Once it’s all said and done and a winner is crowned (Golden State) the city-wide parade during the middle of the day is worth keeping up on your desktop while you’re at work. Players are treated like conquering heroes as they drink champagne on a float with confetti being rained down on them. They hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy into the air, and just like that the countdown towards the next season begins.
Pat Benson is a fixture at high school sporting events. He has been a sideline reporter, P.A. announcer, and radio personality. Tweet him @Pat_Benson_Jr.