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Why you should still pay attention to the NBA playoffs

Former+SuperSonic+Kevin+Durant+takes+a+shot+on+April%2C+8+2008.
Former SuperSonic Kevin Durant takes a shot on April, 8 2008.

Former SuperSonic Kevin Durant takes a shot on April, 8 2008.

Former SuperSonic Kevin Durant takes a shot on April, 8 2008.

CHRIS ARNESON | Evergreen columnist

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With the NBA playoffs in full swing, Pacific Northwest basketball fans can be left wondering why they should pay attention to a league that isn’t doing a whole lot to reestablish a team in Seattle.

Most Seattleites have been left with a cold feeling by the league that stole their Sonics in 2008, as they were relocated and rebranded into the Oklahoma City Thunder. Former NBA Commissioner David Stern allowed Seattle’s franchise to move with ease.

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Although the new NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, has recently sat in discussions of possible league expansion, the odds are stacked against basketball lovers from the Emerald City.

Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz, perhaps the best proxy for zombie Sonics fans for the time being, are tied with the Los Angeles Clippers at one game apiece in their first round of a seven-game series.

Since attending back-to-back regular season Utah Jazz games in Salt Lake City in January, I have a unique connection with a team that has not reached the postseason since 2012. The fans in Utah were rowdy and unbridled in support of their home team, and left me wishing for nights at Key Arena watching Squatch soar through the air for a sweet trampoline dunk.

But why should you follow this year’s playoffs if your only horse in the race has been barred from competing, and you haven’t had the time to go to Salt Lake City, Portland or any nearby home game? Because despite the grudge you rightfully hold, the NBA has transformed into the most fan friendly professional sports league in the world over the past few years.

No other professional sports league puts its superstars in the spotlight and lets them reap the benefits that come with being the public’s main focus. Think of all the different NBA players who have come out with shoes in the past decade. Now think of all the National Football League and Major League Baseball players who have come out with their own athletic brands in the past decade. The numbers are staggeringly in the NBA’s favor.

In addition, the NBA is currently experiencing its greatest talent influx in its history. Russell Westbrook averages a triple-double this season, and many experts argue whether he should be the MVP. Not only are there more superstars in the league, most of them play for teams that are in the playoffs. This means you get first-round matchups that will make die-hard fans drool: The Splash Brothers vs. Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook vs. James Harden and Lance Stephenson vs. the Pacers’ team psychologist.

If you love basketball, you know the league is on the brink of something that has never happened in its illustrious history: three consecutive NBA Finals matchups between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.

I will be dreaming about LeBron James and Kyrie Irving against Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and former MVP off-season addition Kevin Durant. Although the Cavaliers have been struggling as of late, I am never one to doubt James’ ability to get his team to the finals.

Chris Arneson is a senior sports management major from Bothell, Washington. He can be contacted at 335-2290 or by [email protected]

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Why you should still pay attention to the NBA playoffs