The next big thing?
Every once in a while, something happens in the world of sports that is special, electrifying, even transcendental. Men like Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Arnold Palmer, Muhammad Ali and Tiger Woods grew, in their own inimitable ways, beyond the usual limits of their sport to become instantly recognizable and beloved cultural figures.
I think it’s happening again. I think it’s about to happen really good ’n’ crazy. And, improbably enough, it’s happening in Oakland.
By now, you’ve probably heard that the Golden State Warriors are a really good basketball team. But you may not be fully aware that this remarkable collection of players is now on the verge of soaring into the realm of The Special, and the climax of this metamorphosis will occur in mid-June.
I got hip to all this last year, when I casually starting watching the Dubs (as in The Ws, for the Warriors) in December. And I discovered while watching their games that there were often moments when these guys would play at a level of skill that was higher, better and dare I say more artistic than their opponents, in the way that basketball, when dashingly choreographed on the fly, can indeed be athletically artistic. This stuff was not only fun to watch, it was also thrilling. As golfers used to say about Tiger in his prime, “The guy is playing a game with which I am unfamiliar.” That’s how it was getting to be with The Dubs. These dudes would at times freaking fly on their fast breaks or running their offense, flipping and flinging lightning quick passes that would often be undefensible. It really was basketball as its own unique jocked up ballet, ballin’ at a whole ’nother level, and it didn’t take long before I just got caught up and, yes indeedy, proclaimed myself to be a new member of the rapidly growing Dub Nation.
In April of ’15, it was obvious this was a special team. That suspicion was confirmed when the Warriors beat Lebron and the Cavs for the NBA championship in June. This season, for their encore, the Dubs have raised their already very high bar of performance to where they are, at times, not just good, but scary good. To the point where now, you can make a very good case for the Dubs being the best basketball team ever in the 125-year existence of the sport.
Yes, their leader is the incredible Steph Curry, who not only is the greatest long bomb shooter in the history of the NBA, but an absolute wizard of a ball handler, passer and layup layer. He is, undoubtedly, the new Tiger. But along with the dazzling Curry, you also have Klay, Draymond, Iggy, Bogey, Festus, Mo Buckets, and the great and perfect Coach Kerr, and it all adds up to this extraordinary perfect storm of talent, coolness, and excellence that makes for a spectacle that’s truly worthy of the overused cliche, “must see TV.”