They meet again. A younger version of Bird-Johnson, Chamberlain-Russell. This time, Kobe meets Kevin Garnett.
It’s the NBA Championships. This time, it’s for keeps. This time, these two teams will match the New York Yankees and Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers for the most meetings in any championship in any sport. It’s Liberty Valance meeting the man that he would shoot. These two franchises, who have combined to win 61 NBA titles, are from opposite ends of the United States last met in 1987, with the Lakers winning in six games. It’s New England Clam Chowder meets Spring Roll.
This time, it’s revenge. Granted, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant are too young to remember the events that took place. However, I am sure that the elders (Bird and Johnson) have told them about it. History will judge these two and the way they play in this current meeting.
For you history buffs, John Paul II was still pope and Ronald Reagan was finishing his second and last term in the White House. The top song in America was “Walk Like An Egyptian,” by the Bangles, “Cosby” ruled the airwaves and gas was well under $4 a gallon. Best picture? "The Last Emperor."
Boston’s 16 NBA titles rank second behind the New York Yankees’ 26 and the Montreal Canadiens 24 Stanley Cup titles. Los Angeles’ 14 puts them in some pretty good company, too.
It’s not going to come down to talent alone. They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t have talent. It’s going to come down to who wants it more. Los Angeles has played exceptional basketball both at home and on the road, while Boston’s problems away from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are well documented. Ask Atlanta and Cleveland.
Stopping Garnett or Bryant is not even going to be an issue. “You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him,” Dan Patrick once said. It’s not going to be easy. It can be done.
Enough about the history. Put the stats aside. There are some that are picking the Lakers. So will I. Although I think the Celtics have the success story of coming back from a bad season, their road struggles scare me if I had to put any money on them. This may be one of the most watched NBA finals in the history of the game. Lakers in 6, even though Boston will be a force to be dealt with.