CHICAGO, June 17, 2012 – LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the two best basketball players alive right now. LeBron is just a steam engine of offensive balance, defensive tenacity and underlying rage that everyone talking about him won’t shut up.
You can count on your hands the number of people that have made scoring look easier than Durant, but it would be hard to argue that anyone other than that Jordan guy is above him.
It’s hard to say who’s the better player, considering LeBron’s All-Galactic defense and Durant’s insane ability to just finish a game as easily as fans think it should be.
Lucky for us fans, we don’t have to care.
Watching these two Big Threes go at it the past couple games has really shown basketball fans how lucky they are that this generation of players has molded into what it is. You can hardly watch a playoff game anymore without seeing a tested warrior of a superstar showing us what he does best. Think about it: our generation is simply spoiled with talent, so much so that it will surely be labeled the Golden Age Part II when all these guys are just wrinkly season ticket-holders for their respective teams.
LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, somehow-still-Tim Duncan, Carmelo Anthony, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Dirk Nowitski, Chris Bosh, and Deron Williams are all playing right now and are all (except Duncan and Bryant) in the prime of their careers. And just when you think they might be getting a little old or losing a step, here come Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Iguodala, and possibly even Kemba Walker, Brandon Knight and the Flying Unibrow.
These guys are good. It’s hard to think about the magnitude of this era while we’re living in it, but there is so much talent going around the league now that David Stern has every right to have that creepy smile on his face during press conferences.
Seeing all these stars in the league at the same time really makes you sad that none of them ever got into a raging rivalry, doesn’t it? Well, fret no more, sports fans. KD and LBJ have just started a full-scale war between their two cities that won’t be ended until one of them retires. These guys are just so otherworldly good and their cities so thirsty for rings that the series just has to go seven games, just has to be a classic. This is the kind of thing that you tell your grandkids about thirty years from now as “the day when folks could really play basketball, not all this newfangled nonsense.”
You couldn’t ask for more out of a season, an era, or especially an NBA Finals. You’ve got the steady brilliance of Durant, the historically shaky yet lately consistent brilliance of LeBron, the unpredictability of Wade and Westbrook and the somehow still underrated talent in Bosh and Harden. Add that to the fact that Shane Battier is good all of a sudden, Durant almost can’t miss in the fourth and the always-invigorating refs and you have yourselves a final for the ages.
So while you get your season pass and watch hours on hours of superstar-filled sports ecstasy, just remember how lucky you are that you have so many great players to watch, and then flip over to watch the most intriguing rivalry the game’s seen in a long, long time unfold.
To contact Nick Goralka, see above to send him an e-mail containing a question, comment, or scathing insult. His work appears in Alley-oops for Touchdowns! and That Liberal Pinko in the Communities at the Washington Times Online.
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