Man Seeking NBA Team: A Hardcourt Romance

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It can be difficult to explain my obsession to even my closest friends, let alone the anonymous masses of the Internet, but I’ll do my best. You see, I’m obsessed with The Bachelor.

Yes, I’m openly admitting I find enjoyment in watching ABC’s reality dating television show, whose target audience is middle aged women with too much time on their hands. For those unacquainted, The Bachelor features a hulking ball of muscle that spouts clichés about love as he casually courts 27 women, who are hopped up on cheap champaign and pheromones, with the intention of finding a bride. The show isn’t entertaining merely because of the alcohol fueled diatribes about love or the over-the-top romantic settings in which the producers set each date. It’s the ability to play along at home.

Each episode allows viewers to partake in the bachelor’s journey by judging the women along side the show’s central figure. You’re able to put yourself in the place of the bachelor and bemoan bad dates and champion the cause of the wholesome dame you fear may be sent packing. If you ever have the misfortune of watching The Bachelor with me, you’d hear excited utterances such as, “She’s there for the wrong reasons!” or “She’s starting all the drama!” or “Seriously, was there a sale on champaign at Costco?”

While this show is inevitably an interactive program, I have no desire to pursue forever love at the Bachelor mansion. However, there is a part of my sport watching life that is empty. As a boy born and raised in the great state of New Jersey, I immediately fell in love with my hometown teams. I rooted for my Devils, spelled out the moniker for my J-E-T-S more times than I can remember, and claimed that Yankee blue was my favorite color since kindergarten. But I’ve been missing a basketball team to root for ever since the New Jersey Nets announced they’d be taking their lack of talent to Brooklyn.

I was a die-hard Nets fan, attending every game I could  during the team’s historically mediocre run. I could finally bring my love public when the team compiled the original Big 3, with  Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin making back-to-back trips to the NBA finals. But once the team announced they wanted nothing to do with New Jersey anymore, its was a clean split. The Nets were moving to the Big Apple, but my heart was staying in the Garden State.

Since then, I’ve yet to fall in love with another NBA team. With no reason to jump off the couch after a monstrous dunk or game winning shot, watching an NBA game has always been a little unfulfilling. Since the Net’s departure, I’ve been on a never ending pursuit to find an NBA team to pledge my allegiance. I’ve dabbled with fandoms of different teams, but after each season, I never seem to find a team I’m ready to settle down with.

So, this season, it’s time to take a lesson out of The Bachelor and crank my NBA dating life up to 11. I’ve decided to pursue all 30 NBA teams, watch every game I can, cheer for every player, and slowly whittle down the list until 1 team remains. The criteria will be completely subjective, because honestly, I don’t know exactly what I want in an NBA team. Sure, it’s fun to root for an underdog, but do I want to pair myself with a franchise that’s not going anywhere? Sure, some of those West Coast teams seem nice, but do I want a team that has nightly tip-offs at 10 pm?

So, I humbly ask you to join me on this journey of basketball discovery. Play along and see what team you’d be rooting for if not for your already irrational love of one franchise.

But before I begin, here are 3 teams I’ve already sent packing.

The Eliminated

Brooklyn Nets

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This one I believe is simple. I won’t be crawling back to the team that already broke my heart. Sure, the Nets are having a great time in their new Brooklyn pad. They hang out with new friends like Jay Z. They got a rich new owner willing to spend millions over the cap to field a star studded team. They got new friend Jay Z to give the team a makeover. Hell they even got my childhood hero to coach the team.

But no. I must be strong. Plus, have you seen the disaster that’s been the Nets’ season so far? Watching your ex fall flat on her face in the wake of a tough breakup is so satisfying. Eat it Brooklyn! While it could be easy to give into temptation, I’m ending this Ross and Rachel story before it even starts. The Nets are off my list.

Boston Celtics

Charlotte Bobcats v Boston Celtics

This one might be the hardest elimination of them all, and it’s right at the beginning of this cruel, sick game I’ve created. This isn’t a knock against the Celtics at all. They have everything you could want in a basketball organization.

They have an amazing history with 17 NBA championships and  countless hall of famers. They’re beginning a rebuilding process, which makes them underdogs. Who doesn’t love rooting for the underdog? They have Brad Stevens who looks so young, it’s like he’s the NBA’s version of Rookie of the Year.

The Celtics are the perfect team to root for. But, I’ve been conditioned to hate all Boston athletic franchises. As a Jets fan, I’ve loathed the Patriots dominance. As a Devils fan, I’ve cursed the Bruins countless times. And as a Yankees fan, I’ve been a part of my fair share of “Boston Sucks” chants. How can I be a Celtics fan when I’ve been programed to follow the word Boston with “sucks”?

I’m sorry Celtics. It’s not you. It’s your city.

Miami Heat

heat

I would love to just root for the best team in the NBA, but picking the Heat right now would be too easy. That would be the ultimate bandwagon move to become a Heat fan in the middle of their reign atop the NBA.

Plus, it’s not like the Heat fans have the best track record.

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Do I really want to be one of them? Answer: no. Sorry Heat. Enjoy the King, your pet velociraptor and your warm weather. I’ll be finding my team elsewhere.


So there you have it. Three teams down and 27 eligible suitors still to go. This process might be crazy, it might get weird and it might just end with me becoming a fan of the Milwaukee Beers. Who knows.

So play along at home. Cheer on your favorite NBA team. And above all, take it easy on the champagne.

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