So Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors is the NBA's Most Valuable Player.
Was it ever really in doubt? Despite the hyped idea of a tight ‘race' the 100+ first place votes suggested it wasn't much of a contest for the league's most prestigious individual award.
As Miami Heat followers, we should be more appreciative of Curry's brilliance than most folks outside of the Bay Area. While that might sound a little strange, here's a quick poll:
How many of you, following a deflating defeat, switched channels at 10:30pm and were gradually brought back to equilibrium by Curry's ridiculous antics on the other side of the nation?
The bamboozling moves that left greats like Chris Paul on their rears, the all-net threes for days, the clutch shots and those physics-defying layups... By the time the action was over at The Oracle, at least you could go to bed feeling like you'd broken even for the evening's viewing. At least I did.
And that's the thing. If there was one thing I did appreciate about this troublesome season in Miami, it was the opportunity to view the game through slightly different eyes.
When your team is the top dog, everyone else is measured on the threat scale. You look at the potential usurpers with equal parts fear and disdain in a way more suited to the Lannisters of Game Of Thrones' King's Landing than the dude on the couch watching ball and drinking beer.
Instead of appreciating great play and the game's biggest stars, I'd often worry about how Miami was going to deal with it; how that team or this player might manage to knock the Heat off the throne. The Steph Currys, Jimmy Butlers, Russell Westbooks, Blake Griffins, and Kawhi Leonards of the world weren't to be esteemed and heralded; they were to be quickly vanquished as if their last name was Stark.
Would I be enjoying Curry's play so much right now if it were foreboding a potential Finals showdown with Miami? Somehow I don't think so. However, things change when your team is, shall we say, taking a brief, yet well-earned breather from the championship scene.
Take, the San Antonio Spurs, for example. Following the epic battles over the last couple of years, I never imagined actually pulling for them. The mere site of coach Gregg Popovich on the sideline was often enough to raise my blood pressure, now the respect shines through and you find yourself appreciating the man and his idiosyncrasies. Once the fog of war clears, everything is just, well, more enjoyable.
This time last year, most Heat fans would have been ecstatic to see San Antonio unceremoniously dumped out by the Dallas Mavericks in that Game 7. Now the Los Angeles Clippers have done just that this year, I'm bummed to be missing out on a Warriors/Spurs showdown.
The Chicago Bulls are another great example. Wasn't it really annoying how that team invariably managed to raise its game against Miami and come away with a gritty W? Now I find myself rooting for Chicago's would-be ‘Kingslayers' against Cleveland, hoping this talented group overcomes years of bad luck with injuries and gets to the finals.
Even Paul Pierce... wait, no, I still can't find anything that complimentary to say about Paul Pierce... Ok, ok, he's playing pretty well and it's kinda fun to watch and he actually doesn't appear to be that bad after all.
Look, joking aside, as disappointing as the nightly slog of the 2014/2015 Miami Heat has been, the temporary souring of the homebrew has broadened my horizons. It's allowed me to sample more of the vintage brews from across the nation. And guess what? They they sure do taste better with all of that bitterness removed.
While, in an ideal world, Miami will be challenging for the championship again sooner rather than later, I'm grateful for this season. Not only for allowing me to appreciate how good the Heat Nation had it during that four-year run, but for the an opportunity to become a bigger basketball fan, rather than someone who relied on the Heat for a fix. Bereft of the highest highs and the lowest lows, I feel richer for the experience.
So thanks for missing the play-offs and being a practical irrelevance this year, Miami. Just don't let it happen again okay?