By Gary Dickman.
For the last several months, while talking about the NBA, I have often said, “If the playoffs started today” and then follow that with, “I know they’re not today.” Well, today I can say the first line without the disclaimer. Finally, the playoffs start today. And don’t tell me it’s the Play-In Tournament, it’s the playoffs.
This year will be a lot better than last year. I didn’t like what the bubble brought in that it wasn’t a normal year. It was the best choice of the options, but it just was so different. I’m glad all teams are playing in their own arenas now, even though Toronto just spent the year playing its home games in Tampa Bay. And many arenas are increasing the amount of fans that will get to attend. This just-concluded regular season had the lowest overall winning percentage in NBA history. Mainly, cause fans weren’t allowed at all or were in very small capacity numbers. I’m glad that’s changing. I know my NY Knicks are going from 2,000 to 13,000 fans this weekend. I’m glad teams will get to enjoy a home court advantage that they’ve earned. But also, for me, this is a big step in getting sports back to normal. I want so badly for things to be the same as they were. Small amounts of fans was better than no fans, but I can’t wait to hear or be at a game where the fans are loud and in big numbers.
Getting back to the NBA playoffs, by the time you read this the game could be over, but on Wednesday, the game between Golden State and the LA Lakers should be a classic. It’s basically a Game 7 in a first round of the playoffs. I’ve said how I’m not a fan overall of this new format, but what I do like based on this matchup is that the loser of the Lakers vs Warriors game gets another chance to qualify for the 8 team field in the Western Conference. The winner will be the #7 seed, the loser plays the winner of Memphis vs San Antonio. I see both the Lakers and Warriors getting in the final 8. I’m predicting that if they both get in, one or both will beat the 1 or 2 seed, Utah and Phoenix. I believe an 8 seed has won only three times in NBA history, so it rarely happens, but this could be the year it does again. Either way, we have great games to look forward to until July 22, the date of a Game 7 of this year’s NBA Finals.
I’m still in a semi state of shock and disbelief with the death of Colt Brennan last week. In a way, Colt’s sudden passing reminded me of January 2020, when Kobe Bryant was taken from us in a so sudden and tragic way. Both Colt and Kobe were fairly young, too young to die at such young ages. I know a lot of us are maybe feeling similar feelings. I’ve enjoyed reading so many tributes and messages of appreciation for what Colt did for the University of Hawaii, the state and of course the fans. They’re have been so many touching stories of personal interaction with Colt. I do have mixed feelings on a popular topic that’s been brought up a lot this last week. Everyone has been hoping that UH will now retire the #15 that Brennan made famous. My thoughts are, it should have been retired years ago. On one side, better late than never. I get that. But I also feel that in any of these sad situations, if you retire a number only after an athlete has passed away, the school is saying the athlete didn’t deserve to have his or her number retired while they were alive, but now that they’ve passed away, we’ll retire the number now, it’s kind of disrespectful in a way. Also, is that fair to other athletes that might be as good, but they won’t get their numbers retired because they’re alive?
I’ve been told that UH is planning something in the memory of Colt Brennan, and I’m pretty confident that we will all appreciate what they’ll do. I just think generally in these situations, instead of better late then never, I wish it was better early than too late.
# # #