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Booker’s Roundtable: Booking the 2011 NBA Finals

by on June 20, 2011


by Bryan Hughes (with assistance from Ben Pasco)

So one week ago, we crowned new NBA Champions.  I understand, you were too engrossed last Sunday to turn away from TNA Slammiversary IX (the 7th… either the Romans or Jarretts can’t count), an event so important it didn’t even have a Wikipedia page set up, that you didn’t see the conclusion to a captivating series, but it happened.  The Dallas Mavericks are NBA Champions, defeating the Miami Heat in six games.

One week removed, it’s still in the news.  Even the most casual of sports fan knew about this.  Hell, every sportswriter who had a childhood that included wrestling was itching to make the comparison.  Bill Simmons went so far as to pinpoint LeBron James’ “The Decision” abomination as mirroring Hulk Hogan’s treason of WCW, joining the New World Order.  The bottom line is, we’ve heard it before, and I’m not saying anything ground-breaking by stating that the Miami Heat became the NBA’s mega-heels.  They did, and we all bought it.  I’m a college basketball fan who can’t stand the NBA, and even I bought in.

We hated them.  We despised them for what they were and how they came to be.  We were desperate to see them fail.  And the NBA Playoffs, like the most perfectly crafted wrestling angle, took us on a mark’s journey, complete with that domination down the stretch where doubt entered your head, just like when the nWo peaked, fearing there was no way this could be salvaged.  They took down the 76ers, the Celtics and the Bulls, the last two who were the ONLY ones to be able to save us.  Now it was the Mavericks, and for a while, all hope felt lost.

And then the comeback arrived.  The heels’ weaknesses were exposed.  And a team that, frankly, had a lot to like about them, became the unlikely heroes, vanquishing the bad guys on the grandest stage.  Watching it happen, it felt like eating the greatest steak of your life while watching the pivotal scenes of Rocky IV, The Mighty Ducks and Bloodsport on the field while Landon Donovan scored the late goal against Algeria.  Artistic perfection.

And yet it wasn’t booked.  It was as real as you’d believe (unless you’re one of those David Stern/front office conspiracy types…).  Wrestling couldn’t be booked that flawlessly.  But then again… maybe it could.  With some help, here’s how the NBA Finals would have been crafted by some of your favorite bookers:

Eric Bischoff: Right before tip-off of Game 1, Eric Bischoff comes out and tells the Miami crowd that he is making a decision in their best interest.  He continues, saying he’s studied what the NBA fans want, and is willing to deliver.  Out come members of the original Dream Team (yep, even Laettner), and proceed to have a shoot-around for 15 minutes.  No winner is decided, but Clyde Drexler is handed the trophy at the end.  The halftime entertainment is Bischoff playing classical guitar, for some reason.

Gabe Sapolsky: Games 5, 6 and 7 all go to triple overtime.  During the intermission between 2OT and 3OT in Game 6, the announcer plays “Rock & Roll Part 2” instead of “YMCA” by the Village People.  This error that goes unnoticed by the crowd or anyone in attendance causes Gabe to hurl random game equipment, the trophy, a box of ashtrays and random Vordell Walker T-shirts all over the place.  The game is halted for 15 minutes of cleanup.

Jerry Lawler: After sort of making fun of Dirk Nowitzki’s illness in pregame shoot-around, the taunting continues, as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade show up after the half in hospital gowns, wearing SARS masks.  During Game 4, Wade chases Dirk around the court spraying Lysol in his general direction and .  Before Game 5, LeBron has sex with Dirk’s wife at center court, doing the powder throw thing as he climaxes.  During Game 6, Chris Bosh brings out Dirk’s family and dresses them up in Heat gear, seating them right behind the Mavericks’ bench.  The Mavs win on a last second dunk, where Dirk gives LeBron the ultimate poster, and the crowd goes nuts.  Dirk hugs his family as the Heat’s Big 3 slink to the back.  Throughout the off-season, LeBron continues to taunt Dirk, wearing a neck brace, even though this all should have been over months ago.

Vince Russo: Game 7.  During introductions, LeBron James removes his Heat warm-ups to reveal a Mavs jersey.  He scores 22 first-half points.  While in-bounding the ball for the last play of the half to take the lead, he takes the 5-second violation, then rips off his jersey, revealing the Miami Heat jersey underneath.  Throughout the second half, LeBron joins the Mavs once more, the Heat again, the Thunder, and is even a Cavalier again for about 10 seconds, long enough for Dan Gilbert to book a flight to the arena and be disappointed once more.  By the end, he’s a member of the Heat and they lose.  Kind of.  No one’s really sure who won.  It ended in a tie, but the game was declared over.  Also, no one seems to notice that LeBron has a ridiculous amount of layers on at the start of the game.

The PWG Guys: Dallas and Miami put together an epic series, going six games, and touted as one of the best of recent memory (certainly not Bird/Magic, nothing Jordan-esque, but definitely tops most of the Pistons, Spurs and Blazers appearances).  With excellent analysis and wonderful production value, they are unfortunately only broadcast on TNT for Thursday and weekend games, with Monday through Wednesday games aired on NBA-TV, only available as part of the sports package by most cable providers.  Instead of calling it the 2011 NBA Finals, each game is given a silly title, like “Taking Our Talents to the South Beach Diet”, “The Basketball Diaries of Anne Frank Gorshin”, and “Taking a Giant Hoop…Dream”.

Mike Quackenbush: Whatever play beat the Mavs in the 2006 finals, uh… that’s what the Mavs use to beat the Heat.  I don’t know, there’s something elaborate that’ll bring up a bunch of stuff you probably forgot along the way.  Oh, and armdrags.  Lots of armdrags.

Bill Watts: Black guys win.

Michael Hayes: White guys win.

John Zandig: After the Dallas Mavericks win in an unnecessarily physical battle with two ejections, multiple technical fouls, and creative use of the Gatorade water coolers, John Zandig comes out with the trophy.  He puts down the trophy at center court, then proceeds to talk for fifteen minutes about how great the Miami Heat are, despite losing.  After handing the Miami Heat the NBA trophy, Zandig challenges them to 1-on-5 right there.  He wins.  Your 2011 NBA Champions: John Zandig.

Les Thatcher: After deciding that the two teams do too many different types of shots, the three-point line and shot clock is removed, as that was the greatest basketball era, and kids today don’t know how to work… I mean play.  Miami Heat play the four corners offense to perfection and win 15-13.

Paul Heyman: Heat are up by 22 with one quarter of basketball to be played in Game 7.  Mavs inbound the ball to start the quarter.  Lights go out.  When they come back up, Steve Nash is holding the ball over his head at center court in a Dallas Mavericks jersey, right in front of LeBron, staring with his arms folded.  Mavericks go on to win after a 10-point, 4-assist fourth quarter out of Nash.  During the celebration, Nash and Dirk lock eyes, say nothing, and Nash exits through the crowd.  No one gets paid.

Ian Rotten: Game 1.  Miami Heat miss their flight back from Chicago.  The Dallas Mavericks refuse to show up, still waiting to receive their Western Conference trophy after beating the Thunder.  The Miami crowd is treated to a scrimmage session of 4th grade basketball and a pick-up game between guys who were hanging out at the local Y.  Game 2 will start out with an open tryout, with top prospects getting to play in the pick-up game later.  In Game 4, they play Slamball, and another guy gets a 90-degree ankle fracture, with no insurance.  Despite the series being 4-2, Game 7 is still played, to a crowd of 27.  No one gets paid.

-Bryan

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