Upside/Downside: The 2013 NBA Finals


"Upside/ Downside" is not a concept that I created, but I like using when it comes to addressing a multitude of questions and issues that have some correlation to each other but all really exist as their own topics. It gives me a way to try and put together a cohesive column that's really a lot of random threads sewn together. Below is the 2013 NBA Finals version of Upside/Downside.

1. Pat Riley's facial expression in the photo above.

Upside: There's always ridiculous upside when it comes to championship celebrations at the club. In the last few years, I've heavily anticipated the post-game club celebration photo set that inevitably makes its way online the next day (this year's version is here). From Wade's #3ForWade shirt to LeBron's incredible cool but "only a select few people in this world is capable of pulling this off" tank top to special guest appearances by Drake (more on this later) and Danny Green (also, more on this later) to the bar tab that was covered by the club owner, this year's edition did not disappoint. But Pat Riley's expression in the photo above is my personal highlight, which is an incredible feat when you look at LeBron's expression.

Downside: That facial expression isn't even the craziest or creepiest Riley-related news item from that night. Here's Riley and Rachel Nichols, presented without comment.


2. The mysterious confetti that found its way into Chris Bosh's mouth. 

Upside: Two years ago, Bosh had to be consoled by Erick Dampier after Miami's Finals loss to the Mavericks. Last year, we got the Bosh Champagne Facial that is in the Hall of Fame of something out there on the Internet. This year, we got the confetti. And lest we forget, "The Adventures of Christopher Bosh in the Multiverse" short film that happened this season. Add all that together, and a man who was once the whipping boy for a lot of things is now both an entertainment to us all and a winner in his own right. Bosh scored zero points in Game 7, and even if LeBron and Wade barred him from the club on Thursday and sent a box of donuts to his crib, he'd still smile and pour a bottle of champagne on himself. What a life.

Downside: Can't think of any in this scenario.


3. Danny Green made an appearance at the club where the Heat players were celebrating their championship win.

Upside: This story was picked up on Friday and received a lot of chatter, because when the Finals are over and some narratives are put to bed until the next season, club appearances become a key talking point. So sure, I will indulge in it too. Green's whole appearance has been subjected to so much criticism that LeBron himself sent out this tweet (and this one) to defend his former teammate. Somehow, LeBron is able to use a situation involving his opponent and turn it into good PR for himself. He's really arrived.

Downside: Here's the thing: If Green was just dropping by the club, fine. But after you saw just how devastated Duncan, Parker and Ginobili were in the post-game press conference (Pop, was as always, full of perspective, though you have to believe this one will sting for a long time), it's probably not the best decision to show up and be photographed in the same club as LeBron, even for optics alone. Again, a LeBron-Green dap at a club need not to dissolve into a conversation about how this generation of players has no real rivalries with each other anymore and how that hurts the competitiveness of the league (did you just not see the best demonstration of competitiveness in these Finals?), but personally, if I just lost the Finals in the manner the Spurs did, even if I don't want to waste a night out in Miami, I'd choose a club where my opponent wasn't at. Green went from an unlikely front-runner for Finals MVP after Game 5 to shooting 2 for 19 in the last two games of the series, followed by this whole club fiasco. If there was ever a time to introduce the term "regression to the Green," this would be it.


4. Drake denied access to Miami's locker room, declares himself as "media."

Upside: Does this type of moment ever happen to someone like, say, Jay-Z? No, he would be in the locker room before the cameras even got there, and he'd be breaking all the rules of tampering to build a dynasty with Roc Nation Sports. That's the thing with Drake. On some level, he's achieved this level of fame where he himself and many of us see him as the upper echelon of music, of celebrity. But if you really are at the very top, you can't slip up and have a moment like this. The upside to all this: It might motivate Drake to be a better celebrity.

Downside: A mixtape devoted to this moment of rejection and how sad and empty he felt partying with LeBron after.


5. LeBron wins second consecutive title, and we all seem ready for a different narrative. 

Upside: Everything. The man's got no worries, he both a) told the media to fuck off in the locker room while he celebrated, then b) went to the podium for his press conference and ended with thanking the media and telling them to keep him motivated because he needs it. Check the track record in the past two postseasons, in every game that you could classify as a "must win," whether because the Heat was facing a deficit in a series or in an elimination game, he's answered the call.

It's gotten to the point where his box scores are just a given. He's doing these amazing things, yet there's no amazement to go along with it. It's now just the norm.

There's something mundane and repetitive about seeing the best player in the game dominate year in and year out. That's just human nature. We tune in because we want something different. Being fed the same thing over and over again can become boring no matter what it is.

But I think given the time, we'll start appreciating the greatness of what LeBron is doing, if we haven't already. After awhile, even if you hate him for whatever reasons you want to, you have to admit that every question about him has been answered these past two years.

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