Straight out of Illtown in the early 90s, Naughty By Nature was the ultimate Catch 22 in the rap game. Specifically Treach, a gritty, sharp, wicked rhymesayer who had lived the true ghetto life in East Orange, NJ, and rapped about being homeless, growing up a "ghetto bastard" and sending about 10 minutes of shoutouts to all his 118th street posse (the song "Thankx for Sleepwalking" is essentially just one long shoutout). On the other edge of the blade, so to speak, they enjoyed IMMENSE radio and MTV airplay with OPP and later with Hip Hop Hooray. I always wondered what the driving force of the group was... obviously Treach is one of the most talented, underrated rappers of the 90s, and is still going today, but I wondered if the hooks on their tracks weren't just the perfect amount of sugar to appeal to the MTV crowd. The beat for OPP, for example, sampled directly from ABC, is a sweet bubbly hook, with Treach overtop of it going on about giggly subject matter that had the whole world asking if they were down with it. But like I say, the truth is that Treach was as ghetto as they come, rapping about bus cards and saying how he's "been through more shit within the last week, than a fly going through doo-doo on the concrete". The duality of Man, I suppose.
Regardless, I think I'm seeing the same things from the NBA finals.
On one hand, I pull for the team with potential, the team that can break expectations. The worst thing for me in sports is predictability, and though I hate negative predictability more (see Timberwolves, Minnesota), postitive predictability is also bothersome. This is why the Spurs ultimately are a disappointment to watch. They are predictably good. I would feel the same way if the Pistons would do what they had the potential to (win 3 championships in a row). I think back to the Lakers, and the Bulls before them, and the Lakers and Celtics before them. They were great, and they won multiple championships, but most importantly, they kept changing, kept pushing the limits of what they could do as a team, kept steamrolling bad opponents and stepping up to the great ones. They were DYNAMIC. The Spurs are not.
ON THE OTHER HAND, I do love properly played basketball. I enjoy seeing the Spurs take control of the floor on both ends. Tony Parker's the kind of guy who I would love to like, as is Tim Duncan, based on their games.
It's like, I know in my head that they are - simultaneously - playing great, watchable basketball, and also that they are no fun to watch.
I've thought about this a lot. I've taken quite a bit in from media sources - probably too much. I've tried it from every angle imaginable. But I still end up pulling fora guy named Boobie. And for Donyell Marshall. I know! Isn't that twisted? That I want Donyell Marshall to win an NBA championship more than Robert Horry, because nobody thinks Donyell "deserves" it? I did the same thing last year! For some reason, I wanted nothing more in the world than Jason Williams and Antoine Walker to win a title. Why? Because everyone ragged on them for their entire careers about how they couldn't make a team better and they were too selfish.
I think LeBron is out of the argument for now. I just wanted the Cavs to win because they had personality, they had flaws, they surprised the world by beating Detroit, and they were playing with house money. Their coach is undermatched, and he doesn't know how to respond. So they just go out and do whatever they can to win games, and it ends up being something with a lot more character than the Spurs plodding through yet another well-constructed win.
Christ, who bore this uneasiness in me? Where did this come from?
In the end, I think it goes back to the flopping. I don't cheer for floppers. Ever. Vlade showed me what pure hatred was, and I haven't turned back. Manu and Parker can flat out kiss it. There. There's the reason.