NBA PLAYOFFS/NOT JUST FOR HOOPS JUNKIES

This month marks the start of the NBA playoff season, and if you are a serious hoops junkie like I am, this is the time of year you wait for….Actually I am a total sports nut, but only for the sports I played as a youngster, baseball, football and basketball, because it is the only personal measuring stick I can apply to the amazing athletic feats I see demonstrated on TV….I mean, I KNOW the degree of difficulty it takes to make some of those amazing plays from personal experience, by trying to emulate my sports heroes from youth, and therefore can truly appreciate these plays I see on the pro level for the astonishing displays of sheer athleticism they are….

 Especially the basketball players, who many critics scoff at because sometimes they seem to just be going through the motions a lot during the regular season, holding back, not really giving their all…Part of the problem I am sure is just fatigue, the NBA players have to play a grueling 82 game season just to get to the playoffs, and they have to pack their out sized bodies into airplanes several times a week….
Because unlike baseball where they can rest in one city all weekend for a 3 or 4 game set, or football where they only play once a week, pro basketball players have to play in a different venue every game, in a different city every next game so they often must fly 2-3 times a week…They must at least be permanently jet lagged! Maybe that accounts for their seemingly sometime sluggish play during the season, pure fatigue!
Well, true or not, once the playoffs start, every single NBA basketball player, who are some of the most astonishingly gifted group of athletes on the planet, all give it their full 100% attention, dedication and devotion…They get to exhibit all their considerable skills in a highly choreographed, intricately plotted out, game planned, team display of almost ballerina like sheer grace and skill…That observation was not originally mine, but that of my high school English teacher after she went to her first basketball game…

Soaring through the air for slam dunks, racing up the court to make the most perfect pass, especially the alley oop pass to another player in mid air, dribbling through a crowd of defenders, whirling and twirling and side stepping their way ever closer to the hoop is mesmerizing to watch…..Watching them fend off other players from the spots they want to get to, knocking away passes, racing at full speed in precise geometric angles of attack or just blocking their opponents shots takes exquisite timing, balance and skill…

They need to have the stamina of race horses too, because after every shot they must race down to the other side of the basketball court to play either defense or offense…Once the playoff starts, these athletes hold nothing back, there is literally no tomorrow for them, they must win each series, best 4 out of 7 to advance to the next round and ultimately the two best teams are the last teams standing…. And the winner of that series is crowned the NBA Champion for that year!

These are world class athletes, and they put on a world class show…I am personally involved in this years playoffs because my local team, The Golden State Warriors, had the best record in basketball (67-15) this year and are considered favorites in many circles to win it all….I am not a gambling man myself, but there will surely be millions of dollars wagered on the outcome of these playoffs all across the country….

The office pools will be humming and the Vegas bookies will be jumping out of their three piece suits with all the odds on each game, each series…The winner ultimately has to win 16 games to be crowned champions, so it is like a second season…

So even if you are not a hoops junkie, if you pass by a TV and a game is on, stop for just a minute and watch a few plays, I guarantee you will be astounded at the level of absolute grace and athletically inspired moves these huge, sometimes 7′ tall men are capable of performing…

It is like the circus is in town, and the individual players transcend themselves, transform themselves into an astonishingly pure and athletic blend of skill, ability and desire, displaying grace under fire and rising to tap into their very inner core as athletes, they will hold nothing back, because if the lose, there is no tomorrow…..

They are all like high wire artists and jugglers and contortionists all rolled into one…Forget the circus, to me the pro game, the NBA playoffs, is truly the “Greatest show on earth!”

Just leave it like it is right now

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