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Taped Ankles, Taped Glasses: NBA Finals Preview

If you’ve been absent from class for the past few months of this NBA season, it’s time to get back on the bus. We’re on the verge of one of the most compelling Finals in recent memory. And I’m talking more drama than an 8th grade theater production of The Brothers Grimm. Scoring champ and JanSport afficionado Kevin Durant has led the young and talented Oklahoma City Thunder to the franchise’s first Finals appearance since 1996. Yeah … 1996. Back when the team was the Supersonics and Shawn Kemp was the poster you gazed at above your bed as you procrastinated over your math homework. Of course, Durant is only the Salutatorian to LeBron James, the unanimously agreed upon MVP of the World by anybody with two (or four) functioning eyes.

It’s a new age in the NBA. Not only has there been a sea change in dynastical hierarchy, with the Lakers and Celts relegated almost exclusively to the role of substitute teacher (they hang around, but never really have control), but these young guns leading the NBA have completely flipped the script in this technological post-post-modern-whatever-it-is world.

I’m not the first to note the Urkelian weirdness of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade taking the mic at a press conference looking less like T-Pain and more like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Or Russell Westbrook of the Thunder rocking a Sh-medium shirt that he took from his little brother’s bottom drawer. And I’m not here to comment on the sociological significance of professional athletes rewriting the narrative of black masculinity, although that’s clearly at play. If you ask me, it’s all pretty cool. And just another reason why this NBA Finals is going to be an historic one.

Regardless of which team comes out victorious, one of the NBA’s most talented and provocative young ballers is almost sure to instantaneously elevate himself from perennial All-Star to immortalized NBA Legend*.

And that’s a powerful costume change.

*In LeBron’s case, a championship still won’t extinguish the fire of the haters, but it will cement his 2012 playoff performance in the canon of NBA classics. And that’s the best he can hope for. He’ll be Achilles; fierce but flawed warrior never quite able to reach Olympus. Unless, of course, he keeps on winning…

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