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Riveting commentary will win the NBA final

What this NBA final lacks in star-power, it makes up for in the commentators who are likely to ruffle some feathers. Basketball commentators don’t complicate their lives with objectivity – they are actors who are simply here for a good time
Thu, Jun 02, 2022

PHOTO: @NBA Twitter

The 2022 NBA Finals are upon us. This spectacle lacks any true global superstars like Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who are labelled as “the best players in the world.” Instead, we have the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics.

Do not be misled, the dynastic Warriors still feature Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. As well as a surplus of youngsters yet to prove their mettle. Among the Celtics’ star players are Jayson Tatum; Jalen Brown; the defensive player of the year in Marcus Smart; and the OG Al Horford, a 15-year veteran who will compete in his first finals. As far as entertaining television is concerned, the OG and young Tatum have a dramatic edge.

PHOTO: @NBA Twitter

It’s a juicy-nyana proposition that the basketball media punts as the best final ever. All things being equal, a Lebron vs KD or Giannis final would be more exciting. Even a Steph vs KD matchup would have historical significance. However, the airplay in the promotion of this final is similar to Rumble in the Jungle with Don King pulling the strings.

Incorporating Afro-American culture as well as hip-hop – where most of its leading athletes come from – the NBA finds its voice in the lingua franca of the streets. Accordingly, commentators and analysts follow the linguistic tenets from parts of American Black culture which are repeated around the world.

The other day, I was talking to an acquaintance on social media whom I have yet to meet about the finals. Instead of asking him, “Who do you think will win the Warriors-Celtics final?”, I asked, “Celtics and Warriors, who you got?”. His retort? “I got the Warriors in six.” To which I replied, “nah B, I got the Celtics in seven”. Aiight, bet! In case the parlance is confusing, NBA finals and playoffs are decided by a best-of-seven series.

PHOTO: @NBA Twitter

Black and white media personalities use this kind of language (sans the accent) in their analysis, which finds its way to all corners of the globe. My learned Facebook friend is from Mapetla, Soweto, and I’m from Nkowankowa, Tzaneen.

American basketball shows are no paragons of objectivity but rather are based on personalities who have chosen sides. That is, of course, for television purposes. Their modus operandi is the debate format, and the back and forth of it all is bound to intrigue neutrals who don’t support either team in the finals.

Stephen A. Smith, Nick Wright, Kendrick Perkins, Chris Broussard, Skip Bayless, Chuck and Shaq are some of the leading proponents of the sport and sell it on every episode. Instead of trying to peddle objectivity, they act as ambassadors of the game, not the channels for which they work. With the passion of actors, they compel the viewer to watch.

PHOTO: @NBA Twitter

There has been an up and down, win-lose pattern during this post-season, but the tactical and strategic moves that both teams have very little of my interest. The side commentary and theatrics of analysts, especially Wright, who said tech billionaires (Warriors are from San Francisco) hate him as much as someone named Sully from a bar definitely have my attention.

That being said, Celtics in seven!

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