Lots going on over the past week so I think we should just dive right in.
The San Antonio Spurs made it look easy against the Miami Heat, sending LeBron and company home in just five games to earn their fifth NBA title. The Spurs are an interesting team, easily the most underrated of the past 15 years. I mean, really, think about it – if someone were to ask you to name the best NBA team of the past 20 years would you even consider San Antonio? The same thing can be said for its star player and the foundation of the teams that won those titles, Tim Duncan. If someone were to ask you who the best NBA player of the past 15 years was, would you even consider Duncan? To be honest I probably wouldn’t and it’s kind of hard to argue he’s the best player, but he does have five rings which puts him in the same rarified air as Kobe Bryant. Regardless of where your feelings lie on this argument, there is no denying the fact that the Spurs are the best team this year and, really that’s all that matters.
San Antonio’s championship win came just days after the Los Angeles Kings made short work of the New York Rangers to win their second Stanley Cup in the past three years. I had a friend who noted it was strange to think of Los Angeles winning the Stanley Cup as you don’t really associate hockey with Southern California and I can see where a lot of people would think that. However, I think it’s an attitude that might need to change if the Kings continue on the course they have set for themselves over the past three years. Los Angeles has a lot of good young talent and they have a very good goaltender in Jonathan Quick. The one thing that might be working against them is the fact they are in the same conference as the Chicago Blackhawks who just might be the second best team in the NHL. It will not be easy for the Kings to beat the Blackhawks every year in the playoffs and it would seem to me that the winner of those series should enter the Stanley Cup finals as the decided favorite against whomever wins the east.
Finally, we conclude on a sad note – the passing of baseball great Tony Gwynn. Gwynn was easily one of the best hitters of all time and probably the best pure hitter I ever saw play in person. I still recall his performance in the 1998 World Series when, at the age of 38, he hit .500 in seven games. Yes, you read that correctly, he got a hit in half of his at bats, so it certainly was not his fault the Padres lost to the Yankees. Of course I remember Gwynn for much more. I remember him playing basketball at San Diego State. I remember him as a commentator on ESPN and I remember him as the coach of the SDSU baseball team. I also remember him as the guy on the signs for El Cajon Ford. In other words, despite the fact I am not from California or even a Padres fan, Tony Gwynn is as much a hometown baseball hero to a vagabond kid from Texas as I ever had. He was also Ted Williams’ friend and, as a lifelong Red Sox fan, I have to say that any friend of Ted’s must be an alright guy. Gwynn embodied everything that is right about professional sports and I seriously doubt we will ever see another player like him. He will be missed.