The wait is finally over. The Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder will go head-to-head on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. See who America is cheering for in today’s news, although the answer should be obvious.
- Mike Wise of Washington Post discussed why LeBron James should not be recognized as a villain: “Forget about the ’ball, I’m extremely proud of what he has done,” Walker said. “He’s taken care of his family. He’s staying out of trouble. I don’t have to go visit him in no prison or jail. He’s doing something he’s supposed to do as a black man in this society — and that’s be a good father to his kids.”
- Chris Sheridan asked if there are more Thunder fans in Oklahoma City or Ohio on yesterday’s podcast. It turns out, LeBron James is not the only one that has a large group of people cheering against him. Check out this tweet and picture. Still, the hate for Thunder is mostly just in Washington: “In ESPN’s poll of fan preference, the Thunder carried every state except Florida (home of the Heat) and Washington (home of Seattle). No surprise. “We’re the college team,” said Thunder benchwarmer Royal Ivey. “Guys in a small market. We play the right way. Like a brotherhood. How can’t you like us?”
- One former legend cheering for the success of the Miami Heat is Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon, who taught James how to be more successful in the post: “”If he relaxes and just plays his game, he’ll be fine and I think (the Heat) win it,” said Olajuwon, who said he has become like a “big brother” to James in the past year.”
- Before Derek Fisher joined the Thunder, he was interested in joining the Heat and met with Pat Riley; however, Riley chose a different path: “It’s easy to see why the Heat didn’t want Fisher. He’s 37. The Lakers, a contending team, knew him best and released him. It’s hard to see where he would have fit into the Heat with Chalmers and Cole.”
- The mayor of Seattle wants a new team and met with David Stern to discuss the matter: “”We met so the mayor could show his commitment to bringing an NBA team back to Seattle,” wrote McGinn spokesman Aaron Pickus in an email.”
- Jackie MacMullan of ESPN writes that despite inevitable changes coming, the future of the Celtics is in good hands because of Doc Rivers: “Rivers informed Allen he’d be coming off the bench so Bradley could be inserted into the starting lineup, even though, by Doc’s admission, Allen was “really unhappy about that.” He told Kevin Garnett that he would be playing the 5, a move that KG publicly declared he abhorred. Rivers juggled the clashing egos of Allen and headstrong point guard Rajon Rondo by imploring them to trust each other. He chastised Paul Pierce, mostly in private, to resist the temptation to play “hero ball,” a mentality Pierce was occasionally guilty of adopting.”
- Vanessa and Kobe Bryant were supposed to file for divorce, but there seems to have been a change of heart, according to TMZ: “We’ve learned Kobe and Vanessa are trying to work out the issues that caused her to file for divorce back in December. They spend a lot of time together but he has not officially moved back in with her.”
- A CNBC Senior Stocks Commentator is wondering how and why Robert Pera is choosing to buy the Memphis Grizzlies at this particular time: “Where is Pera getting the money buy the basketball team? What’s Pera doing buying a basketball team when his company (like any company at this stage) would appear to require more than 100 percent of his time?”
- Former NBA player Orlando Woolridge recently passed away, and his son made an emotional tribute for his father with a rap song. The video will display the amazing athleticism of Mr. Woolridge.
- Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Magic have narrowed the general manager search to three candidates: Hennigan, 30, joins San Antonio Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey and former New Orleans Hornets GM Jeff Bower as three candidates who will travel to Michigan to meet with Magic ownership in the next several days, sources said. Orlando wants to have a general manager hired within about 10 days of the June 28 NBA draft, a source familiar with the process said.
- Woj also reported that Danny Ferry is a prime candidate to replace Rod Thorn as the 76ers general manager.
For LeBron James and Kevin Durant as rivals, click here.
For players’ thoughts heading into Game 1 of the Finals, click here.
James Park is a regular contributor and blogger for SheridanHoops.com. You can follow him on twitter @nbatupark.