Thursday, June 05, 2008

Shadow Reads The News Today, Oh Boy

Any NBA fan born before 1980, takes one of two sides: the Lakers or the Celtics. If you were introduced to the NBA before bald heads, tats, and baggy shorts, back when Michael Jordan was just a brash, skinny kid who could really jump, you would think that in this league, only the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics matter.

Not without reason. During the 1980s, the Lakers and the Celtics won eight NBA titles between them (Lakers - 80, 82, 85, 87, 88; Celtics - 81, 84, 86). They played for the title three times (84, 85, 87), with the Lakers winning twice. Each team had one of the two best players in the league - LA had Magic, Beantown had Bird. The other players were not too shabby either: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale.

Both franchises fell into the pits after both Bird and Magic retired. The Lakers won three more titles with Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, but tomorrow will be the first time, in more than 20 years, that these two old rivals will play for the trophy once again. This time it will be the Lakers' Bryant and Pau Gasol going up against the Celtics' Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

* * *

My Modern History professor (God bless his soul) at the Ateneo was an old American Jesuit. He taught history as if he were simply recalling what he himself witnessed just the day before. History according to Fr. Leonard was like a first-hand account. He was already old at the time, and it wouldn't surprise me if someone told me today that the old man was really there at the Battle of Verdun.

I remembered him last night after I heard the news that Barack Obama has clinched the Democratic Party's nomination for US President. In one of his classes, Fr. Leonard told us how he never imagined that he would still be alive to see the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of Communism (specifically, the Soviet Union). Well, I lived to see the day that one of the two predominant political parties in the United States nominated an African-American - "a skinny kid from the south side of Chicago" - for President. Come November, we might also very well live to see the day that an African-American is elected President of the United States.

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