I don’t think excellence is boring.
Some people do. A number of those people have been complaining about the NBA Finals.
I understand what they’re saying. They like to see two well-matched teams go at each other over the course of a series, especially if it’s a seven game series. Beyond the obvious tension, seven games means maximum time for subplots to develop.
But if only one of the teams is excellent and the other one is only extraordinary, the entertainment value of the package doesn’t drop all the way to “boring,” does it?
Not for me.
People who think it does are upset at Kevin Durant for opting to join the Golden State Warriors. The first two games of this year’s Finals suggest that it was his addition to the Warriors that created the mismatch and allegedly made the finals boring. And certainly the Warriors could end up making the Cavaliers, who lost only one game on their way through Eastern Conference, look not just flawed, but inadequate to the current challenge.
And here’s the thing: creating the mismatch that resulted in a series some fans regard as “boring” was pretty much what Kevin Durant had in mind when he decided to become a Warrior.
His decision highlights the gap between the desires of those bored fans and the desire of a player like Kevin Durant. Here’s a man who has nothing to prove on a personal level. He’s making enough money to balance the budgets of several ailing cities. He’s been celebrated as one of the game’s greatest talents.
What’s left for him? Only to be part of a team so dominant that it will win enough championships to earn a spot in future conversations about greatest-ever teams.
Those conversations will be had by fans, of course. And, yeah, some of those conversations will be boring. I’ll go along with that. But not with the idea that the games dominated by a team assembled thoughtfully – albeit at great expense – and coached wisely must necessarily be boring just because suspense isn’t part of the package.
I’m reminded of what my friend Charlie Pierce said when he heard that some jaded sportswriters had said that the dunk contest featured during All-Star Weekend had become boring.
“Really?” Charlie said. “When did it become boring to watch guys fly?”
This segment aired on June 8, 2017.