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Homer D. Sayson
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List of Articles by Homer D. Sayson


 

NBA Finals Diaries 1 -- PhilBoxing.com has arrived

By Homer D. Sayson
PhilBoxing.com
20 Jun 2012



MIAMI -- It was 8:20 pm eastern standard time Monday night when AmericanAirlines Flight 1438 touched down at the Miami International airport from Chicago. And as soon as the Boeing 737's doors flung open after a 3-hour-5-minute trip, I was greeted with a sense of deja vu.

Oh yeah, I've been here before in this welcoming city teeming with beautiful people. And just like in 2006 when the Miami Heat captured their first NBA title against the Dallas Mavericks, I'm happily back at South Beach to cover the NBA Finals 2012 edition.

But what a difference a half dozen years make.

The travel remained tediously long but increasingly safe. Food is still, well, airline food. And for $9.99 the internet was pleasantly available above 10,000 feet through a service called gogo. I melted the hours by reading USA Today and the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. I also, regrettably, watched the flight's featured movie entitled "John Carter."

Without checked luggage, I made a quick airport exit. And after a 15-minute, $22 ride, a friendly Pakistani driver named Mohamad spat me out of his cab and into the lobby of a hotel along Biscayne Boulevard down the street from the American Airlines Arena.

With the bright lights of downtown Miami flickering on the horizon, I went out into the tropical night to feed my famished belly. I grabbed a take-out from a shack called Pollo Tropical. It was an unspectacular meal worth $4.99, a combo of a quarter chicken with rice and beans, salty and overcooked fries, and bread that was stiff as a Kevin Garnett elbow.

The highlight of the meal was the winter-cold 24-ounce Budweiser I used to wash the grease down.

LIKE everything else, the cast and characters of these Finals have changed, too.

Although Dwyane Wade is still a revered icon in the entire state of Florida, he no longer is the center of tension and attention. That mantle has been taken over by The King, LeBron James, a 3-time MVP who is relentlessly pursuing an elusive ring he hopes will validate what certainly is down the road a Hall-of-Fame career.

Shaq has retired, but with Chris Bosh, Wade and James, the Heat have a dazzling collection of All-Stars dubbed as the Big Three.

The Mavs, last year's champs, are not here. They've been replaced by the kids who detrhoned them, the hot-shooting, fastbreak-crazy Oklahoma City Thunder. Gone, too, is the singular sensation that is Dirk Nowitzki who won our hearts with his indefensible, off-balance fadeaway jumpers.

But with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, the Thunder bring a triple dose of happiness with their cocky confidence, destructive firepower and easy charm.

Although I took a break for a couple years, this is my 10th NBA Finals accreditation in 12 years. And my first coverage under the banner of PhilBoxing.com.

With the blessings of top honcho Dong Secuya, PhilBoxing.com has widened its coverage of the NBA this season. Under the helm of yours truly as NBA section editor, PhilBoxing.com currently has a modest roster of NBA writers who cover the LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, among others.

The hope is grow even bigger in the seasons and champions come and go. In the words of Boss Dong, who gushes with wisdom the way a fountain spits water, "the more the merrier."

And so here we are, officially credentialed to witness basketball's greatest show on earth. (Homer D. Sayson)


Back to Homer D. Sayson's Articles Listing



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