Christmas. It’s a stressful time of year.
We’ve got parents and cousins and girlfriends and boyfriends and gift stealing friends intent on plundering the MacGruber DVD just opened during the White Elephant gift exchange.
Even television, our reliable friend that brings us news of Kim Richard’s crazy and Tina Fey’s perfection, can turn against us during the holidays. Because as cheery as A Christmas Story, Love Actually, and It’s a Wonderful Life are, we just don’t need them on repeat 24/7. We already know Jimmie Stewart forgot that having a huge family and tons of tiny mouths to feed when you’re broke and losing your business is actually really awesome. We’ve already seen when Keira Knightley’s husband’s best friend decided to ruin his life, her life and his best friend’s life by telling her he really loved her. And we’re still sad about the fact that Laura Linney didn’t sleep with that incredibly hot man.
But ladies, I have news that will make the stresses of the holiday season bearable. The boys are back in town! And by boys I mean the physical specimens (read: muscular giants) who play in the NBA.
Yes, the NBA will begin play on Christmas day (rhyming not intentional). The lock out is over. The very very rich made a deal with the very rich, so we can go back to following the most exciting professional league in sports. And because it’s been awhile since we’ve heard the name “Lebron James” howled from every sports writer’s lips, I’ve prepared a cheat sheet of the Five Best Storylines for the upcoming season.
1. Lebron James: Boom or Bust?
I’m sure you remember this one, folks. Hometown hero Lebron James re-breaks the already broken hearts of northeastern Ohioans and flees to the swamps of southern Florida and the soft embrace of D. Wade’s jump shot. As an Ohioan who has also fled the scene, I understand the desire for less humid pastures (wait… Florida is more humid??), but the way Lebron exited was a mistake that will not be forgotten any time soon (at least I had the decency to tell my parents in person instead of holding a nationally televised press conference, despite CNN’s requests). And to make matters more interesting, King Bron forgot to show in nearly every 4th quarter of the finals last year. So the question is: Just how good is Mr. James? Who will show this year in the playoffs? The man who single-handedly took an ugly cavaliers team to the NBA finals or the man whose defensive skills made Jason Terry (and his ill-advised Lebron taunts) look good?
2. James Harden: A vegan hipster from Brooklyn or an NBA basketball player?
Oh, James Harden and your wondrous beard and glasses and sweater vest. It’s an astonishment you ever made it out of the industrial fields of Williamsburg, but I’m sure glad you did. So let’s watch to see if Mr. Harden can complete a third NBA season or if his hipster calling proves too strong and he is pulled back to Brooklyn to start his own vegan cafe. I’ll be sad if he leaves court, but let me tell you this; Mr. Harden makes a mean gazpacho.
3. Rajon Rondo: Which Rajon will take his seat at the Celtics family table?
Rajon Rondo won my heart with his spirited play in the 2008 championship. Such speed. Such agility. Such ridiculously bad free throws. But last year we saw a change in play from Rondo. Many speculated that he was suffering from “mind games” he played with his own mind. Shaq even offered the hypothesis that Rondo’s deteriorating play came from hurt feelings after a jab from President Obama. Which, if that is truly the case, is the best reason for shooting misery I’ve ever heard. I mean think about it. If Obama insulted your dressing skills, you would probably need to invest in a dressing coach to even make it out of the house. So the question remains, which Rondo will show this year? The loving little brother of Paul Pierce, KG, and Ray Allen or the scorned little bro, angry about the lack of attention from Papa Doc Rivers (the coach – not the Haitian dictator)? But I’m still on team Rondo. I mean, the guy played after dislocating his elbow! Not to mention he looks like an alien. So if that doesn’t get you on his side, I don’t know what will.
4. WHO WILL WIN THE COVETED BEST-DRESSED IN THE NBA AWARD?
Will it be Lebron with his Mad Men style or nerdy chic D. Wade? Perhaps Kevin Durant, who refuses to put down his space age backpack? Or will it be an unknown player who shocks us all with his elegant fashion choices (Zach Randolph and his flannel collection)? Only time and post game press conferences will tell (but seriously, WHAT is in that back pack?! Shoes? Gatorade? Cologne? Big league chew?! I AM DYING TO KNOW).
Actually, I really don’t want to talk about Kobe (I’m like his legs at this point – very, very tired), but we must never forget: He took Brandy to prom.
So there you go, folks – a season full of storylines to fill your gaping hearts. Now let’s all bask in the possibility of a Kazaam 2. That truly would be a Christmas miracle. After all Shaq’s retired now, so don’t let us down big fella.