A great book has an ending that people usually expect. The Prince gets the girl, the Hero saves the world, good beats bad and everyone lives happily ever after. We know when we open the book, that the main character is probably going to win. (Excluding Game Of Thrones of course). This does not take away our enjoyment of the novel, and most of the greatest books I have ever read have had happy endings that we could have predicted. Harry beats Voldemort. Frodo returns the ring to Mordor. And Bella and Edward live happily ever after. (Do they? I don’t actually know, never read that one). This is expected! The greatest and the best take down their competition and meet their villain at the end, and win. We as popular culture all expect that to happen, and we are all happy when it does. So why is it different in the NBA?
People like underdogs. We like seeing the little guy come up from nothing and beat the defending champion. Its why we like movies like Rocky and the Karate Kid. It’s also a reason why people love the NCAA tournament. We love the 16 seeds beating the 1 seeds (RIP Virginia). But this season in the NBA, the favorites are here. The two battle tested teams coming back to fight one more time, for the fourth year in a row. These guy’s are not the plucky upstarts. Those guys lost in the first and second rounds, like young teams usually do. Sports are not movies. Unless its Space Jam and that’s a whole other story. Sports are sports, and the better teams win. And a lot of those times, those teams are older. That’s why this is a great story if you take the long view of not just this season, but this half of a decade.
People don’t remember five years ago when Steph Curry and his splash bro were the plucky upstarts. They don’t remember the Miami Heat team that was supposed to rule this decade. That’s where this story truly starts. It’s the old king being tossed from his throne by the young prince, and the constant struggle between them for the throne. The King relies on his knowledge and battle tested compadres, while the young Prince gathers his allies and friends to hold the throne. This is the final battle. Each Franchise has had to fight to get back here again. Game 7’s and all stars all trying to stop them. Great heroes and villains all trying to make it so these two do not face off once more. But to truly appreciate the story, you cannot think of this as a battle between good and evil, but between two equally deserving heroes. This is John Snow V.S. Daenerys Targaryen. Not Katniss V.S. the evil government.
The twists and turns of this Novel would be perfect. We all want the ending to be between the strongest, but we never want the ending to be telegraphed. Even a week ago, who would have guessed it would be these two teams once again? A great ending is one we all expected, but what matters is the unexpected journey to get there.