Dubs fly high. Photo by Mark Rabine.

You’ve had a lot on your plate.

Work, lack of work, rent, lack of rent, family, boyfriend troubles, climate change, the child, the dog, girlfriend troubles, scooters on the sidewalk, alleged Russian collusion in the District 8 elections. Etc.

You haven’t had the time, nor the emotional bandwidth, for American mega-sports.

But it’s that time of year again. You can’t avoid it. Go to the wine country? Ha ha. Mt. Tam? Last year Mt. Tam was ablaze in blue and yellow (there was also a small shrine to the Dubs at The Throne).

My sister-in-law went to Senegal. So far so good, she reports. Fingers crossed.

If you want to be in the know, without knowing anything, you’ve come to the right place.


The National Basketball League Finals. Not the fake finals we just endured. The real finals. A best-of-seven series to determine the NBA Champion.


The Golden State Warriors, aka the Dubs, against the Cleveland LeBrons, aka Cavaliers, aka Cavs.

Haven’t we seen this movie before?

This is the fourth straight time the two teams have met in the Finals. The Dubs have won twice.

Are the Dubs the good guys?

Yes. But they are so good that, many times, they are not very good at all. See Drama below.

Which team is favored? Which team is better?

The Dubs are a far better team, which makes them the heavy favorite. It also puts them at a severe disadvantage. See Drama below.

What makes the Dubs so good?

Talent. With four of the 25 best players in the NBA, they play a rock-hard defense which ignites a fiery offense. Like soccer players, they are always in motion, with or without the ball. And they shoot the ball with a sniper’s charm.

Names and Numbers to Watch?

Steph Curry, 30; Kevin Durant, 35; Klay Thompson, 11; Draymond Green, 23; Andre Iguodala, 9

Who are the Cleveland LeBrons? 

LeBron James and a bunch of guys he picked up off the playground at Dolores Park. Most have very long arms, but not much else. They play a tough, physical defense. On occasion.  Their offense is “give the ball to LeBron.” He shoots a lot but likes to pass to open guys, who like to take open shots. They like to make them, but rarely do. Even without a hand in their face.

Who is LeBron James?

The greatest hooping Demiurge of the post-modern age.

Names and Numbers to Watch?

LeBron James, 23; Kevin Love, 0; Kyle Korver, 26.

Will there be any drama?

Yes. Professional sports is mass entertainment, and no one understands that better than the Dubs, owned in part by Hollywood mogul Peter Guber. And led by showman Steph Curry.

Competition is essential to the entertainment values of professional sports. The super-talented Dubs annihilate the competition. That’s a problem, entertainment-wise.

To compensate, the Dubs do live theater. They’re the drama queens of the NBA.

Two years ago, they set out to win every game in the regular season. This year, they played the regular season like the absurdist classic Waiting for Godot, delighting in distraction and the nonsense of Luck.

Then Godot, the Playoffs, arrived and the Dubs promised to “turn on the switch” – meaning they would “buckle down” and steamroll their hapless opponents.

But what fun would that be?

When other teams won’t provide the necessary suspense, the Dubs supply their own.

They get to games late. They give the other team gift bags overflowing with treats and turnovers. And the fans? What do the fans get? A bottomless bowl of questions.

Is Steph still injured? What happened to KD? Is something wrong with Klay’s dog? Is KD hogging the ball? How long can Kerr continue to coach on migraines and pain meds? Will Draymond Green throw the referees out of the game? Is Iggy going to play tonight? Will Jordan Bell make a sensational play, a bonehead play, or a sensational bonehead play?

During the meltdown in the fourth quarter of Game Four against Houston, it was as if the Dubs were saying:

“We’re going to keep you on the edge of your seat whether you like it or not.”

Ambiguity sells in the entertainment industry, as it does in politics. Over this year, the sure-thing Dubs have become masters of uncertainty. Of course, they should win the series in four games.

But will they?

Will they get their act together before Pauline gets tied to the railroad tracks and the train comes bearing down on her?

By the way, that train, metaphorically speaking? That’s LeBron James.

X Factor: The Wife of Bath

Only in the Mission.

In my Dubs/Rockets Game 7 post, I noted my brother’s choice to attend his Chaucer reading group instead of watching the game. I asked (rhetorically) who would trade Steph and KD for the Wife of Bath?

To my surprise (make that shock) I got a number of replies, all eager to make the trade. More than one proclaimed her prowess in wearing out husbands. Another noted she’s been around for over 600 years while the Dubs will be forgotten “in 2 years (if they win, 2 weeks if they lose).”

One confessed he had only read the “dirty parts” of Chaucer. But isn’t it possible the Wife of Bath visited the Houston locker room during halftime? That might explain the Rockets’ third-quarter fizzle. It might also explain why, instead of hanging with the guys on the floor, Harden made a beeline for the locker room as soon as the game ended.

LeBron does everything. But does he read Chaucer?

You can find our coverage of the Western Conference Finals here.

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Mark Rabine has lived in the Mission for over 40 years. "What a long strange trip it's been."

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1 Comment

  1. Ummm Mark, are you a basketball fan? Kevin Love is questionable for Game 1 pending his concussion protocol evaluation and Andre Iguodala won’t play in Game 1. He may return in Game 2 or 3. I realize this article is semi-serious though as a reporter you should check your facts 😉

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