Just recently, with the elimination of the Miami Heat, NBA fans were robbed of a chance to watch two former teammates and good friends compete against each other for a trip to the NBA Finals. While we didn’t get the Eastern Conference Finals matchup we wanted, we sure did in the West. Kevin Durant and Steph Curry are battling it out for a trip to the NBA Finals, and it is must see TV.
The NBA has a lot of stars, but LeBron James, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant are on a level all their own. The trio has won seven MVP awards and will have a combined ten trips to the NBA Finals once they get underway. Regardless of the matchup, someone will be looking for revenge in the Finals. In 2012, LeBron beat Durant and won his first NBA Championship. Last season, Curry beat LeBron (without Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving) and won his first NBA title (the first for the Warriors since 1975).
When LeBron James made the decision to stop chasing rings with buddy Dwyane Wade and return home to Cleveland, it became pretty clear to me that the only thing LeBron James cares about is making good on his promise to deliver a championship to the city of Cleveland.
At the time, LeBron had a better chance to win more championships and cement his legacy among the all-time greats by staying in Miami instead of bolting for Cleveland. They did just go to four-straight NBA Finals in his four years there. As unselfish of a basketball player that LeBron James is, he made the ultimate unselfish decision to leave the beaches of South Beach and return home to the cold and snowy state of Ohio. At the end of the day, this decision could damage his legacy and hurt him in the standings amongst the all-time greats when talking championships, but winning just one in Cleveland could trump the six that Michael Jordan won in Chicago.
Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, LeBron James, Colin Quinn
Judd Apatow’s films often cover heavy, emotionally complicated territory, but they’re ice cold at the same time. The subject matter is relatable, but the manner in which it’s treated bears little resemblance to real life. (The most egregious offender: “This Is 40.” Now let us never speak of it again.) “Trainwreck,” by comparison, is the most honest, heartfelt film Apatow has made to date, and it’s hard not to notice that it’s also the first time he directed a script that he didn’t have a hand in writing.
Some back story, for the unfamiliar: Apatow has taken heat over the years for underwriting his female roles – and yes, that criticism came largely from Katherine Heigl, who cashed some monster paychecks after receiving a massive career boost by appearing in his 2007 film “Knocked Up,” therefore people accuse her of biting the hand that fed her, and while that may be the case, she’s not wrong – and perhaps this was Apatow’s attempt to make amends, by directing a script written by a woman (Amy Schumer). The crazy thing is, Schumer’s character in many ways embodies the very traits that Heigl protested (reckless, irresponsible, unaccountable), but with the female character in the lead role, you get something that previous Apatow films never provided, and that is perspective: we get both the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of her character’s behavior. Also, there are no shrews in this movie. Apatow’s other movies were loaded with shrews. Who likes shrews that much?
Amy Townsend (Schumer) writes for S’Nuff, a Gawker-esque magazine with roughly 75% less humanity. She also parties nonstop and sleeps around, even though she has a boyfriend (John Cena). A fellow writer pitches an article about Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), a surgeon who’s come up with a revolutionary knee procedure that will greatly reduce recovery time for athletes. S’Nuff editor Dianna (Tilda Swinton, in full Anna Wintour mode) likes the story, but assigns it to Amy, because Amy has admitted that she hates sports, and Dianna likes the idea of the paradox. Amy surprisingly finds herself fascinated with both Aaron and his work, and when she unprofessionally consummates their professional arrangement, she does unthinkable things, like actually agreeing to spend the night at his place and generally being less afraid of commitment. Amy is confused by this new change to the game plan, and she responds to it the only way she knows how: self-destruction.
We’ve witnessed some great series and some surprising performances, and now we’re down to four teams battling for the NBA championship. The Houston Rockets will visit the Golden State Warriors tonight to kick of the Western Conference Finals, and tomorrow night the Cleveland Cavaliers will visit the Atlanta Hawks for the start of the Eastern Conference Finals.
From the moment Lebron James announced he would be leaving Miami and returning home to Cleveland, we all knew this team had a chance to compete for a title. Still, few could have predicted the ups and down and all of the drama that this team would go through over a long season and then the first two rounds of the playoffs. All year long, Kevin Love had some issues as he adjusted to being the third option in Cleveland’s Big Three. Still, he was a critical piece of the puzzle, and losing him for the season as the result of a bush-league foul in Boston was a cruel blow to this franchise.
As we watched the San Antonio Spurs demolish the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals last season, few could have predicted how that result would lead to a demolition of the Heat roster as well. But we all know now that Lebron had been thinking of returning to Cleveland for years, but this loss in the Finals led to his decision to leave Miami in the offseason. Had the Heat won, there’s no way Lebron would have passed on the chance to win four titles in a row. He probably would have ended up back in Cleveland eventually, just not this year.
Lebron’s Decision 2.0 had a ripple effect around the league, with Carmelo deciding to stay in New York and Kevin Love ending up in Cleveland to form a new Big Three with Lebron and Kyrie Irving. Lebron has established himself as the most powerful man in basketball in additional to being the world’s best player. But as usual he’s playing for much more – his legacy. Bringing a title to Cleveland would be a huge achievement for him personally, but it would also represent another star on his resume as he tries to break out of Michael Jordan’s long shadow.