Because I’m a fan of sports in general, I’m exposed to a lot of sports-related news at any given time, regardless of what sport it is. And since the NBA playoffs are going on currently, I’ve found myself absorbing more information about who’s still in, who’s not, than I probably thought I’d ever care about.
However, one interesting tidbit showed up recently that did pique my interest, and trigger a prompt in my brain to want to write about. With the Atlanta Hawks not pulling an Atlanta and choking in a critical game 7 situation, and defeating the Philadelphia 76ers, to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, the final four teams left vying for the NBA championship are the Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks in the east and out west is the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles… Clippers.
Between these four franchises exists two championships, with none since 1971 and even the Hawks’ title in 1958 was when they were in St. Louis, and therefore not an Atlanta team. So basically, it’s safe to say that this is a rare year in which a team that’s basically never won an NBA championship is going to win an NBA championship.
It didn’t occur to me that this was such a rarity, one because I don’t really care about the NBA, but two, I had to stop and think about the last two decades to recollect that just about every NBA champion has been a repeater, with teams like the Warriors, Spurs, Heat and Lakers having won the vast majority of the championships, with LeBron James collecting four rings for three different franchises in that time, and even if they didn’t win, they were still the runners-up, clogging up the title scene all the same for an eon.
So despite the fact that the Atlanta Hawks are still in, and are a possibility of hilariously cashing in my newborn baby luck on basketball, there’s no way people like me, in age and in enjoyment of the ironic, can’t not be rooting for an NBA Finals where it’s the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Los Angeles Clippers.
Because these are the two teams that, growing up in the 90s, were basically the de facto worst teams in basketball. I mean look at the screen cap above of the 1994 season; even combining the win totals between the Bucks and Clippers was no guaranteed entry into the playoffs, and the only reason why the Bucks weren’t tallied up as dead last in the east was because the Pistons just so happened to allow 1.3 more points per game on average.
And this was just one season; throughout the 90s, both these teams were the teams that everyone forgot about their existence, except when you looked at the schedules of your favorite teams, and saw games against the Bucks and Clippers as basically guaranteed wins. Nobody ever picked these teams in NBA Jam or NBA Live 199X, including the people who lived in those cities, unless they were trying to troll.
But it’s funny how things change in time, and how it seems to be consistent on how long it takes for the tides to turn, because nearly 25 years later, we’re in a world where the New York Knicks are usually the laughing stock of the NBA, Seattle lost their team outright, and the Golden State Warriors broke the 96’ Bulls win record and have been in five of the last six NBA Finals, winning three championships.
Needless to say, I think sports fans of my general age range should all be salivating at the thought of a Bucks vs. Clippers NBA Finals, because it’ll definitely be a sight to behold, and even more so if both teams bust out throwback unis for one of the game, just to acknowledge the sheer absurdity of the worst teams from the 1990’s to be playing for a championship in the 20’s of the 2000’s.