One of the unforeseen consequences of habitual substance abuse comes from addicts commonly losing interest in the things that once brought them joy. It’s been eight years since I watched both the deciding game in the Stanley Cup and the NBA Finals. Quite sad really, when I think about the level of excitement these two spectacles brought me in seasons past. 2011 was the year Dirk Nowitski shed the “soft Eurpean” label to become NBA champion leading his Dallas Mavericks over Lebron James newly assembled Miami Heat Superteam. At the same time Tim Thomas tended the Boston Bruins goal en route to claiming the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP along with the Stanley Cup over the Vancouver Canucks and the magic that was the Sundin Twins.
Last week the world watched as the St. Louis Blues hoisted the franchise first ever Stanley Cup defeating a Boston Bruins team totally different from 2011. One night later the Toronto Raptors, not to be outdone, became NBA champs for the first time. Putting an end to what was a Golden State Warriors dynasty. I would have liked Boston to win although I was happy to see St. Louis get the Cup, and I wanted a Raptors win.
Is this the end to what looked like an unstoppable Warriors dynasty over the past five years? To start Klay Thompson and Kevin Durrant are free agents this year; as are DeMarcus Cousins, Andrew Bogut, Jonas Jerebko, and Kevon Looney. On top of that both Klay and Durrant are in hospital beds with possible career threatening injuries. Kevin’s injury is particularly tragic. After missing over a month following an injury during round two of the playoffs he valiantly attempted a comeback in Game 5. Durant returned with the hopes of helping Golden State, trailing 3-1 in the series at the time, avoid elimination. With the ball at the top of the key to the right, near the three point line, Durant went to make a move from the triple threat position, twisted awkwardly and begun grimacing. After playing only twelve minutes the worst possible outcome took place.
Now he’ll go into free agency a question mark, I’m sure someone still offers him top dollar but this sure complicates things. Naturally there are whispers that he should have never suited up. That’s one of the things we love about sports; when you play hurt and win you’re remembered as a hero but you risk making it worse. There was widespread speculation that Durrant would sign elsewhere before his injury. Who knows what will happen now that he’s likely going to miss all of next season rehabbing from a ruptured Achilles. Klay’s injury, an ACL tear, occurred in Game 6 and typically sidelines a player for nine to twelve months. In other words; Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala are all that’s left.
The NBA Finals
As I watched the fourth quarter of Game 6 between the Warriors and Raptors I remember questioning my desire to see Toronto win the series. More than anything I was grateful to have sports back in my life and didn’t want the season to end. Warriors forward Draymond Green got caught up bitching over a noncall. This resulted in Marc Gasol getting an easy trip to the freethrow line.
Even though Draymond takes some cheap shots and kind of seems like a dick I respect him because he seems to genuinely care about people and I like him because he’s from Saginaw. As the game neared completion I found myself pulling for Golden State to extend the series. DeMarcus Cousins nailed a strong move in the post with around 40 seconds left in the game to bring it within one. Just as the commentator said Toronto shouldn’t call a timeout with around 36 seconds remaining, Nick Nurse calls a time out. It’s always funny to me when commentators make calls that are immediately contradicted by coaches. Golden State substitutes Looney for Cousins, commentator says the substitution swaps offense for defense.
Toronto answers back with Pascal Siakam making it a three point game with just over twenty-two seconds remaining. Less than eighteen seconds remain and Steph goes to the freethrow line. Golden State makes it a one point game. Lowry tosses a pass to Leonard and the Warriors trap. Draymond forces a turnover on Danny Green with 9.6 seconds remaining in a one point game. On the inbound play Golden State tosses a rainbow pass to the far corner, Curry, after getting a backside screen, heaves a three. It misses and the games essentially over. In the final seconds Golden State’s Draymond Green pulls a Chris Webber calling a timeout his team doesn’t have. Toronto Raptors are the 2019 NBA Champion.
How this Relates
A lot has happened in the world of sports over the past eight years. The Detroit Redwings are no longer a guarantee to participate in the Stanley Cup playoffs after their 25 year streak of appearances came to an end in 2016. They haven’t made the postseason since. LeBron James, the NBAs brightest star, has won three NBA titles. Winning two with that Miami Heat Superteam then leaving to return home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The prodigal son returned home to bring Cleveland a title. LeBron “divorced” two teams in the last eight years and now plays in Los Angeles with Anthony Davis.
A lot has happened in my world over the last eight years. Since 2011 I’ve been married and divorced, worked a high paying/high pressure job selling mortgages, and went from the metro Detroit area back to Saginaw. I hit rock bottom hard and bounced back, I’ve been sober, and I’ve had relapses. I created this site, this project, to make amends and work to change the world even if it’s just for one person. I’ve committed myself to making a difference for those suffering from substance abuse disorder and addiction. The point behind all this is simple, thank you 2019 for giving me back sports.