Wrestling, Racing, & the 2016 NBA Finals

When I was about 10 years old, me and my parents and grandmother would watch wrestling on Channel 2 every Saturday night at 10:30. One of my favorite wrestlers was a Native American who went by the name Danny Little Bear.

One summer it was announced that the wrestlers from Channel 2 would be coming to the local fair and Danny Little Bear would be there for the main event. We went to the fair to see the wrestlers, and I was down by the ring cheering on Danny. He was getting the crap kicked out of him. All of a sudden I saw Danny reach into his wrestling trunks and put something that looked like a red capsule in his mouth. Then the other wrestler let him up, and after Danny was standing the other wrestler landed a hard shot on Danny’s face.

Blood started trickling out of Danny’s mouth. It was not real blood. It was fake blood from the capsule. Danny Little Bear lost the match. I was glad.

I figured out that professional wrestling was not all I thought it was – that some of the action was rigged.

Fast forward to 2007 and I was watching the Daytona 500. NASCAR had made a rule that when there was a crash, the field would be frozen and if it was the last lap, the winner would be the leader. It was a safety thing. One of my favorite drivers, Mark Martin, was leading the race with one lap left when a crash occurred. NASCAR did not throw a caution flag and they allowed everyone to race back to the line although some drivers saw the crash and let up. Martin should have won the Daytona 500 that year. I’ve never watched a full race since then. To me, NASCAR seems good at changing or rigging the rules as they go along – maybe for more exciting racing or maybe for something else.

This year’s NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors was another inglorious moment in my sports history that I won’t soon forget. Before you go saying I’m a Warriors fan, slap yourself. I have been a Boston Celtics fan since the days of Bird, McHale, and Ainge.

It seemed that after the Warriors went up three games to one on the Cavs, the officiating changed. Starting with game five, the refs allowed the Cavs to beat the crap out the Warriors’ Stephen Curry. The assault of Curry continued in game six and seven – and the refs did nothing.

There was more whining than ever in these NBA finals from Cavs players, especially 6’8” 250 pound LeBron James who sometimes acted like he was 5’3” and being picked on by a bully on the playground. His crybaby attitude stands out. Kids are watching him and acting like him in sports, which is too bad. The NBA needs to break him of it with a few fines and technical fouls. In game seven, the first foul was called on LeBron James with three minutes three seconds left in the third quarter – think about that.

By the way, please don’t even mention LeBron James in the same breath as Michael Jordan. Jordan is the best there’s ever been.

During one timeout in game seven, several Cavs players went to whine to the referee instead of going to talk to their coach. One person tweeted, “Refs are doing exactly what the NBA wants and keeping this one close.”

Game five was also the game that the Warriors lost Draymond Green. Green was suspended for a phantom hit to LeBron’s groin – that was after LeBron stepped over Green when Green was on the floor. That happened in game four.

It seems when the Cavs were just about to be eliminated something happened. People on Twitter are wondering if it was rigged to make it go seven games. It would make more money for the NBA – and better ratings.

I don’t know if I believe that or not. Anything is possible. I do know that something changed in Game 5.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has a problem with fouls and whining and crybabies and basketball resembling a pro-wrestling match. It looks like whichever player is the biggest and strongest wins the little battle.

Silver’s other problem is that people are whispering that the 2016 NBA Finals don’t pass the smell test – it’s starting to resemble pro wrestling and NASCAR.

Hello, Cleveland…

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