It might be against most people’s morals, but I find no problem deriving pleasure from the misfortune of others.
With most of the free world rooting against the Miami Heat as the NBA playoffs begin, I know I’m not alone in the desire to revel in its every loss.
Unlike the majority of NBA teams — 16 of 30 teams make the playoffs — my team isn’t in the playoffs.
It might be the most intriguing playoffs in a while, but they’re also sans-Cleveland Cavaliers for the first time since 2005. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a rooting interest. I’m forced to pick a lesser of multiple evils in rooting against the Heat. It’s an interesting dynamic for Cavs fans, perhaps unheard of in sports before.
We might be forced to root for the Boston Celtics — the same Celtics that twice dashed the Cavs’ playoff dreams, and the same city that harbors the most obnoxious fans in sports.
It would be bittersweet to see them win — yet, at the same time, just plain sweet to see ex-Cavalier Delonte West hoist an Eastern Conference championship trophy while LeBron James weeps in front of his TV.
The only other team in the East that legitimately can stack up against the Heat is the Chicago Bulls.
Although they have the most exciting guard in the game, Derrick Rose, the Bulls counter that goodwill with smarmy Cleveland-hater Joakim Noah and the hairy chest of Carlos Boozer — noted enemies of Cavaliers lore.
I can hold out hope that the Philadelphia 76ers will make it interesting, like they did in 2008 by winning the first two of three against Orlando, but that hope is as false as the notion that Evan Turner is better playing off the ball.
Out West, I can let my hopes ride on the San Antonio Spurs, whose coach looks like the Jigsaw Killer from Saw. More importantly, they swept the Cavs in the 2007 NBA Finals.
The Los Angeles Lakers enter this year’s playoffs as the two-time defending champs, but are slumping toward the end of this season. Plus, I’m not going to pull for another Lakers three-peat — that’s no better than rooting for the New York Yankees.
The only team that I feel has a shot, and is simultaneously respectable, is the Oklahoma City Thunder. The unselfish Kevin Durant and his squad form the yin to the narcissistic James and his team’s yang. That matchup will be the future of the NBA.
For now, my hope is that playoff pressure smacks the Heat in the face like Gloria James slapped the parking attendant … allegedly.
It’s a grueling two-month process ahead, but the anticipation for the NBA playoffs always felt a little like Christmas Eve. If the Heat win, though, it will be the worst holiday ever.