Don’t Let Your Fans Down

Charlotte Bobcats v Houston Rockets

James Harden let his fans down. He scored a measly 10 points in a Game 6 AT HOME when the playoff season was on the line. San Antonio was missing two of its superstars – Tony Parker AND Kawhi Leonard – and Houston and Harden still couldn’t muster enough mettle to win the game. And the worst part of it is, he played bad (badly for you English majors) and looked bad doing it. And his poor play in this seminal and signature game is another reason I’m not a James Harden fan.

Everybody has fans. Everybody has a fandom and a fan base and a fan nation that route and cheer us on and up and over the humps of life. These fans are crucial and critical to our psyche and our psychology; our fans are vital to our overall vitality and are essential for the state of our mind and the soundness of our soul.

That’s why we should never let our fans down. Even in defeat, loyal fans will cheer for you and chant your name and boost your game. But don’t let them down. Because fans have short fuses and long memories; while they will long remember your great game, after a dreadful loss, they will not soon forget that you are to blame.

Fans understand that nobody’s perfect and that everybody’s suspect. But when you don’t do your best or give your best or even TRY to play your best, you’ve done the worst thing imaginable in the eyes of your fans.

Your fans need to know that you’ve tried and that you’ve given it your best shot. While Harden had a sensational season, he had an uncharacteristically horrible last game of the series against the Spurs. And that’s what everyone, including this fan, will remember most.

So just remember, here’s what hardened athletes and every human heart beat have in common; it’s your friends and your favorites and your supporters and your sponsors that have your best interest at heart. They have your back. They will defend you against all comers (I’m from Philly so I DARE you to say a cross word about Allen Iverson!) But surely, I digress.

Loyal fans are the ones that will be there for you when the chips are down and the season is suddenly over. Remember not to forget and forestall the very fans you need to support you when the going gets rough.

So don’t let your fans down. At least they like you, bad days and bad games and all.

Is It Time To Worry About The Warriors?

stephen-curry

The Warriors are everybody’s favorite NBA team, right? They have Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Steve Kerr, not to mention Kevin Durant. They’re blowing their opponents out left and right, and they have the chutzpah and charisma we all love.

But wait – this just in: the golden goose, Golden State Warriors are in trouble.

They’ve lost 4 of their last 5. They’re losing the close games they used to win. There is no timetable for Durant’s return, and KD doesn’t know when he’s going to come back. And last night, Coach Kerr rested Curry, Klay, Green and Iggy. It was an impulsive reaction to the challenge of playing the Spurs on the road in prime time because they look worn and weary, forlorn and leery.  And their locker room ranting sounds as bad as they look.

The Warriors are (or were?) the favorite to win the title this year, but that was when Durant was healthy. Now they’re fighting to win home court in the West, so their cake walk to a championship just turned into a challenge of running across burning glass. So is it time to press the panic button if you’re a fan of the Dubs?

If it’s not time to pound on the panic button, it’s at least time to tap it. The season is winding down, and the Warriors are going to have to gear up and figure out a way to win until Durant gets back. If not, the Spurs and the Cavaliers are waiting in the wings to snatch a title from the presumptive favorites.

But we’re not supposed to worry, right? We’re not supposed to fear or fret or sweat or swoon. Instead, we need to exercise faith and fortitude. When things aren’t going our way, we need to hunker down and buckle up. We need to endure the hard times with just as much courage and composure as we display during the good times. Right? And, hopefully, that’s what the Warriors will do.

When the chips are down and our friends are few and the clouds hang low and our pace is slow; when the vultures are circling and the predators are prowling, digging deep and standing strong and holding on and looking up is what we need to do too.

The Best Player vs. The Best Team = Road Kill

Spurs Team 2014Spurs 2014 ChampionshipDid the Miami Heat catch the license plate of that truck that just ran over their face? I mean, really? Seriously, who saw this one comin’? Not the Heat, that’s for sure. On the Spurs side, Tim Duncan and Parker and Ginobli and MVP Kawhi Leonard and the entire Spurs team were certainly spurred on by that awful and painful, forgettable and yet memorable Game 6 Six loss in last year’s Finals. The Spurs were up by SEVENTEEN in the third quarter, only to lose in overtime. Go figure. Since then, the Heat have been in the Spurs crosshairs for revenge.

Did the Miami Heat actually think that this was going to be seven game series? After winning Game 2 on the Road in San Antonio, it seemed possible, even probable. However, after two horrific losses AT HOME, where they lost by double digits, it was clear that this series would be over almost before it began. So much for all that expected TV revenue and all those lost ticket sales.

Did the Miami Heat underestimate the Spurs and did they overestimate themselves? Ya think? Yuper. For anyone and everyone, that’s a recipe for disaster. Spiritually speaking, when we overestimate our ability and underestimate God’s ability, we will lose every time.

So, what can we learn from the Spurs? More importantly, what can the Heat learn from the Spurs? Is it that one man, even if he is the “best player,” can’t beat the best team? Is it that you can’t play 3 on 5 and win? Or is it that LeBron needs more help? Maybe it’s all of the above. My buddy, Dr. Bill Wright, may have said it best:

“Just a thought. The San Antonio Spurs demonstrated what working together as a team can accomplish. Even though Miami had the best player in the world, he was no match for a team. The combination of good front office people, great coaching and working together made this happen for them. For us, having the Lord God as front office and the Holy Spirit as coach and us working together as a team can change the world (that could preach!) Miami went back to school during this championship series.” Boy, did they ever.

So, do the Spurs have another one in them? Can we expect to see this celebration again next year? Will the Spurs retool and refuel and recharge for another championship run? Do they, will they, can they? Who knows, but the Spurs style of team play was poetry in motion, and thing a beauty to watch.

So hats off and hail to the Spurs! And Kudos to Leonard who averaged 17.8 points on 61 percent shooting in the series, becoming the youngest Finals MVP since Tim Duncan won it in 1999.