Bring in the funk
For awhile there, it seemed like the most entertaining team in the NBA playoffs was going to be the Roswell Rayguns. They are the fictional ABA team that Nike, presumably with the help of Mr. Peabody and the Wayback machine, sent Vince Carter, Jerry Stackhouse, Baron Davis, and Jermaine O'Neal back in time to play for.
"It's 1975 and we're just keeping the Funk alive!" Bootsy Collins sings as the Rayguns mix it up with George Gervin and the San Antonio Spurs, not to mention our own Kentucky Colonels. They played with style and flair. They played with the Funk. The Funk has been sorely missing from professional basketball for over 10 years.
Remember Magic Johnson and Showtime? That was the Funk.
Dr. J had the Funk.
Michael Jordan was a little too corporate for the Funk.
There was a time in the beginning, like when he threw down 63 on Larry Bird and the Celtics, where the Funk was showing, but he never fully embraced it. Every time these commercials came on TV, it served as a reminder that there was a time when professional basketball was exciting and fun. Where guys ran up and down the court, actually trying to outscore the other team, and games ended up 115-110 as opposed to 85-79. It looked like those days were long gone. Thank God for the Sacramento Kings and the Dallas Mavericks.
If there is a Lord above, the Sacramento Kings will ride their momentum of winning this series and go on to win the Western Conference over the Lakers and go to the NBA Finals.
The Sacramento versus Dallas series has been so much fun to watch, I only wish it could have gone seven games. It's enough to renew one's faith in professional roundball. Their strategy is, are you ready, because this is pretty radical; to outrun, outgun, and outscore their opponents. Defense, you may see a little. Slowing down the ball and pounding it inside, well, that is not going to happen. Their teams are completely different from almost every other team in the league, and it's great.
What's not to love? We can start with Mavericks point guard Steve Nash. Imagine Kelly Leak from the Bad News Bears all grown up and you have Nash. Not only is the guy a great basketball player, he has dated Elizabeth Hurley and one of the Spice Girls, which may not sound impressive now, but the Spice Girls used to be huge, trust me.
With his new backcourt teammate Tricky Nick Van Exel, the Mavs have one of most offensively explosive backcourts in the NBA. Dallas also boasts two 7 footers, Dirk Nowitzki and Raef LaFrentz, who are more likely to score off a deep three-pointer then they are from in the paint. In fact, Nowitzki has such a strong all-around game, he is being compared with Hall-of-Famer, and owner of a bit of the Funk himself, Larry Bird.
The talent of Dallas does nothing to diminish the talent of the Kings, who are advancing because they realize that de-fence is something more than what goes around de-yard. The Kings are the highest scoring team in the NBA, and the owner of the best overall regular season record. The thing that is most amazing about them is their ability to pass the ball. Mike Bibby, the point guard who replaced the more Funky, but less consistent Jason Williams, may not even be the best passer on the team. Center Vlade Divac has no equal in finding the open man out of the post position. Whether he whips it to perennial All-Star Chris Webber for an open jam or to three-point bomber Peja Stojakovic, Divac sees the floor as well as most guards in the league. This threat of "anybody can score from anywhere on the floor" makes both of these teams difficult to defend, but a lot of fun to watch.
IS the Funk back to stay?
It is extremely possible that the Lakers will win the West and we will be deprived of seeing the Kings rewarded for their exciting style of play. Shaq may be an unstoppable force, but the Funk he is not. If we have a Funk-free final, I guess I will have to go back to rooting for the Rayguns.
Professional basketball is fun again.
As Bootsy says, "Well-uh, Glory be the Funk's on me!"
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