As noted a couple days ago, my wife and I started our Branson vacation yesterday. We drove down, with our dog Reggie in the backseat. Of course, driving through Missouri means you are going to drive by at least 4 different fireworks shops/stands/tents in each town you drive through. It really is phenomenal.
I get having a couple fireworks stores near the border. Iowa doesn't have fireworks stores so you can get customers as people cross the border. But how does a random town an hour plus away from the border have multiple fireworks stands?! Are Missourians just shooting off fireworks every night and I don't know about it? Is a random Thursday in September in Missouri like the 4th of July in Iowa? How can a state support that many fireworks stands? I just don't get it.
Missouri readers, I need you to fill me in on this....it's actually kind of bugging me. How often are you guys shooting fireworks off at your place? How much of your yearly income is spent at Phantom's Fireworks and Pyro City?
OK so here's another weird thing we noticed on our trip through Missouri yesterday. I don't know if this is a trend or just some freak coincidence. But apparently Missourians have a fascination with cartoon characters giving people the bird.
So we are less than 30 minutes into Missouri and pulls beside us in the other lane going through town. On their back window though is a sticker with Mickey Mouse giving us the middle finger. Not the most obscene thing you will see on a bumper sticker or back window by any means but one of America's most iconic cartoon characters giving you the bird is a bit jarring. But ultimately I didn't think much of it.
Until about an hour later when this happens again. Another car pulls beside us driving through a town and in their back window, almost in the identical spot as the first car, is a sticker of Marvin the Martian giving us the middle finger. MARVIN THE MARTIAN.
That can't just be a coincidence right? I can see Mickey Mouse since he's so iconic and well known. Marvin the Martian though is a pretty niche cartoon character. He's probably not even in the Top 10 of most people's all-time Looney Tune list (For the record though, he would be in mine. Thought he called a great game in Space Jam. College officials could learn a lot from his game tape.) For him to just be randomly on someone's car giving me the bird, about an hour after I saw Mickey Mouse doing the same thing, is hard to buy. This has to be a thing in Missouri....the vulgar cartoon character stickers.
I kept an eye out for more stickers the rest of the day but couldn't find any more. So Missouri readers I need you to fill me in on this one too. What's the deal with the cartoon characters giving the middle finger stickers?
Before we get into the "what does it mean" and "legacy" portion of this I just want to point out how entertaining that game was last night. That was high level basketball with points being scored on each side. That was a pivotal Game Three in the NBA Finals where I'd say inarguably the three best players in the league at this time were competing. And all competing at a high level. In modern day sports we have a tendency, which I'm going to do below, to look ahead so much that we don't appreciate what we were given. We were given a hell of a game last night.
Not a scorching #HotTake here by any means but that's a back-breaker for Cleveland last night. They were beaten down, fairly soundly, in Games 1 and 2 but there is always that feeling of hope when you come back home. I thought the Cavs would win Games 3 and 4 and return the series tied 2-2 to Golden State. And they were in position to do it, and then didn't. It wasn't even a slow turn that you could see coming or really do anything about. They were up multiple possessions, then Durant took over, then they were losing, then the game was over. All within like a 4 minute span in real life. The Cavs were in control, then they weren't and now the series looks all but over.
Legacies. I'm not going to talk about what this game, and essentially the series, does to the legacies on anyone for Golden State because I really don't know how to handle them yet. I think it's a wait and see thing. This really does feel like a "Super Team" that added the 2nd best player in the world to it's roster, to the point that it's almost unfair. I don't know how to judge that. Durant looks incredible but not much different than he's been the past three to four years. Its' the same guy doing the same things, really really well I may add, but now he has multiple elite studs around him and he's going to win a championship doing it. But him doing it while going to an already established Golden State team feels off and I don't know how to judge it.
Is that fair to Durant though? Imagine if Harden stays in Oklahoma City and this is Durant, Westbrook, Harden, and a slew of quality role players running through the league like the Warriors are doing. That wouldn't feel as "cheap" to me as this Warriors run currently does because it would be organic and home-grown. But....so what? The goal of an organization is to construct the best team it possibly can and that's what the Warriors have done. Should it cheapen Durant's run in my eyes because he signed somewhere? It probably shouldn't but to me it does. So it's hard for me to say what this will do for Durant's legacy. And really the same for Steph and Klaye and Draymond.
For LeBron though? Fairly or unfairly, this game is a killer for his legacy. I blogged about it heading into Game Three and I don't think anything really changed. I still think he's the best player to ever play basketball and he'd be my #1 pick in an all-time draft......but I don't think I have a leg to stand on anymore on either of those stances. Fairly or unfairly, I think that's the situation we are in.
It's probably not fair to say he's unequivocally below Jordan on the all-time list just because he has to play against a Super Team with the 2nd and 3rd best players in the world, with a great supporting cast backing them up. It's probably not fair to LeBron to say he's stuck behind Jordan now since, other than his sidekick Kyrie, most of his teammates were a show show offensively last night. It's probably not fair to LeBron to say Jordan is better than him just because the Cavs were playing Richard Jefferson in the 4th quarter and Kyle Korver down the stretch of a pivotal NBA Finals game. But, as I said a couple days ago, at some points results have to matter and fairly or unfairly LeBron isn't going to end up with the same results as Jordan. And that matters. Fairly or unfairly.