Good morning and greetings, change of season fans. Last Friday in North America, where I like to do most of my shopping, the summer solstice began at 10:04 am, as we moved from spring to the late Donna Summer. At that exact moment, Miami Heat fans were still dancing in the streets of South Beach, as LeBron James and company captured their second straight NBA title. It was the end of a glorious Estefan season, as this roller coaster ride of a series had incredible drama, with end to end non-stop action, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and that was just during the TV timeouts.
They say champions are made, not born or bought. And that it is better to give than to receive. How true this was in this series, as without some very timely help from the San Antonio Spurs, there would have been no joy in little Havana. As Mother Theresa once said, “If you can’t feed one hundred people, feed just one.” And that would also describe the play of the Miami Heat in the crucial fourth quarter of game seven, with the one being fed, Finals MVP LeBron James.
In an act of incredible generosity that would have buckled Mother Theresa knees, the Spurs gave game six of this best of seven series away to the Heat on a silver platter. This was with less than a minute to go in the final quarter, with the MVP ballots counted and the championship trophy literally waiting courtside to be handed to the Spurs. But they somehow let this golden opportunity get away, as the victory that would have annointed them as a dynasty slipped away because of a couple of missed free throws and rebounds.
Confucius said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Well, after the Spurs tanked a couple of crucial free throws and didn’t grab a couple of rebounds, legacies from both franchises were changed forever, as history was changed in an instant. It was so amazing that I could barely believe it was happening, as the Heat overcame a five point deficit to tie the game in regulation before going on to win in overtime.
After watching thousand off games, I had never witnessed a turnaround like this, in one of the most crucial games in NBA history, and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t see it coming. And that is the beauty of sports. It is totally unscripted, and if you watch long enough, you’ll be an insider to an experience that fans will be talking about for decades. And this was one of these nights, one of those crazy, crazy old nights.
Unfortunately, a segment of the hometown crowd in Miami missed out on this experience as they left the arena in the final minute, thinking that they were at a Dodger game. Seems wanted to beat the traffic back to Fort Lauderdale. When they heard the announcement of the comeback from speakers outside American Airlines Arena, they tried to reenter the arena, only to be turned back at the doors. And what an overtime period they missed, as the defending NBA champions turned on the after burners and forced a final and deciding game seven of this epic championship series.
Fans were in a state of shock back in Texas, as this stunning turn of events made the Alamo almost looked like a win. The great Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” And the Spurs climbed to the top of the Unfortunate 500 Club charts as they gave away a championship. It was a shocking turn of events in a game that will go down as one of the best in NBA history.
Tim Duncan and the Spurs will be haunted by this untimely event for years to come. It was the championship that got away, and was so close they could have more than tasted it.
The following day, with my voice sounding like a young Demi Moore because of my incessant ranting and raging during this unbelievable overtime contest, I was able to recount the highs and lows, the twists and turns, the incredible ups and downs on the radio as the “NBA Insider,” which is what my mother used to call me when I was still camped out in her womb. She claims I was collicky as a fetus, but I was just preparing for life on the outside. I believe it was either Karl Marx or Carl Jung who said, “He who looks outside dreams. He who looks inside awakes.” I prefer the former, as I’m not a big fan of fracking for natural gas or deep understanding of myself.
And here’s the most amazing thing. Game seven ended over 72 hours ago, and I’m still buzzing with excitement from the events that unfolded that night and over the last two months. NBA action, it really is fantastic.
So the NBA season and spring 2013, like trying to figure out what’s happening with Don Draper on “Mad Men,” is now history. But summer is in the air, and the weather last week, like LeBron James’ performance in game 7, was outstanding. The mornings were warm, as I’m always surprised when I don’t need to be wearing my full metal jacket when parading down West Cliff.
The nature highlight of the week came last Tuesday, as my wife and I were strolling along the coast when a long chain of pelicans appeared off shore. I stopped in my tracks to count their number, as my wife was regaling me with a story about the Kabbalah and the late Tony Soprano. The count was over 80 birds, and their flight was truly one of those Animal Planet moments. It’s the magic at the edge.
But I know that despite this teasing of warm summer days and nights, the fog was hovering somewhere off the coast, waiting to invade and spoil the weekend plans of visitors from the inland empire. We on the central coast are so lucky to be living in this Mediterranean climate, where the temperature is never too hot or cold and the ocean water is chillier than my reception back in 1970 at the Selective Service office. America, change it or lose it.
So last Friday was the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. On this morning, thousands gather around the world to greet the sunrise and pay their utility bills. And that leads us into our photo segment of today’s program, a lovely sunrise from the morning of January 19. The sky did its usual winter dance at Lighthouse Point and on the sand at Its Beach, and I was lucky enough to be invited to the recital. Seeing the sunrise over Monterey Bay is never a bad way to start the day.
On to some late night humor. “President Obama is in Ireland for the big G-8 summit. Security for the overseas presidential trip is unbelievable. He has 14 limousines, trucks loaded with sheets of bullet proof glass to cover the hotel windows, and fighter jets flying in shifts. That’s to protect the president. Joe Biden gets a pair of running shoes and a can of pepper spray. The Taliban is now recruiting women to become suicide bombers. And it’s not easy to qualify. The women must be able to push a car loaded with explosives because, as you know, they’re not allowed to drive over there.” –Jay Leno
“Germany is mad at the United States for the NSA eavesdropping. This, ladies and gentlemen, from the country that gave us the Gestapo. This story comes up about twice a year. They think they have located the body of Jimmy Hoffa, the former Teamsters union leader, after 40 years of being dead. Nothing on the NSA whistle-blower, but we think we know where Jimmy Hoffa is.” –David Letterman
“NASA is challenging Americans to help them figure out a better way to find threatening asteroids. Americans said, ‘What do we get if you pick our idea?’ And NASA said, ‘To live.’ “The Senate’s new immigration bill is apparently more than a thousand pages long and weighs 24 pounds. That doesn’t sound like an immigration bill. That sounds like a menu at The Cheesecake Factory.” –Jimmy Fallon
“Obama decided we’re going to arm the rebels in Syria. Yes! This is why I voted for Obama in the first place, so he could carry out McCain’s bad ideas.
The great news about getting into another war in the Middle East is that the next one’s free. Syrian President Assad crossed a red line. He used chemicals weapons. Using harmful chemicals to hurt your own people – who does he think he is, Monsanto?” –Bill Maher
Now for a joke. A couple is lying in bed, on their 20th wedding anniversary. The woman suddenly feels her husband touching her in ways that he hadn’t done in years. He started at her neck, and slowly traced a line downward, past the small of her back. He caressed one shoulder, then the other, and continued down across her breasts, stopping just below her navel. Next, he placed his hand on her left inner arm, and caressed down her side, stopping at her hip. He started over again on her right side, then brushed gently across her buttocks, and down her leg. As his hand was making its way up the inside of her left leg, he abruptly stopped and rolled over. She had become very aroused by all of this attention, and asked in a loving voice, “That was amazing, darling. Why did you stop?” He cleared his throat, looked at her and said “Found the remote.”
So that’s our NBA report. We’ll catch you showing the world why, despite just falling short of a championship this season, you’re a class act and one of the greatest power forwards of all times. Aloha, mahalo and later, Tim Duncan fans.