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Mitch Perry Report for 6.17.15 — When basketball evolves into ‘The Beautiful Game’

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I’m a bit bleary-eyed today, having stayed up until the wee hours this morning to listen to members of the Golden State Warriors discussing this special moment in their lives, after they won their first National Basketball Association championship in 40 years against the Cleveland Cavaliers last night. And yes, I am ecstatic about it all.

The Warriors have been my team my whole life, though to be honest there were excursions — I became a huge fan of the Larry Bird-led Boston Celtics in the ’80s, and a fan of the Patrick Ewing/Pat Riley New York Knicks in the early ’90s, because except for a brief period in the late ’80s/early ’90s (the Run-TMC era of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin), the Warriors have been pretty horrible. Which is bad when you really love the sport of basketball (and why I sympathize with folks like Knicks fans).

The matchup with the LeBron James Cavaliers was almost a dream confrontation — at least for two longsuffering fan bases; Cleveland hasn’t won anything in terms of professional sports for 51 years. The Warriors, as mentioned above, hadn’t been past the second round of the playoffs since 1976.

Much has been made that this wasn’t a fair fight, with the Cavs losing two All-Stars in the post-season, which was absolutely true.

But a week ago, King James was leading the Cavs in the series 2-1, with some speculating that if they won, it would have been the greatest upset in NBA Finals. And The Chosen One was absolutely brilliant in the series, though he was seriously gassed in the past couple of games. He is the greatest player of his time, but basketball is not a one-man sport.

The Warriors play this season was reminiscent of the great type of ball movement, player movement and selflessness that the San Antonio Spurs brought to the game last year when they defeated James’ Miami Heat. It’s basketball as “The Beautiful Game,” that pretentious phrase coined by soccer fans world-wide.

Some folks are upset that James wasn’t named the MVP of the series. Certainly his final stats were powerful, a testament to his individual brilliance. Whatever. He could take the award. (He didn’t, Andre Iguodala won it.) The Warriors have the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Oh, professional sports. They mostly break your heart, but every once in awhile, it’s a wonderful thing.

And speaking of sports, today is the 21st anniversary of the O.J. car chase. Oh, I guess that’s not really a sports thing, is it?

In other news..

We’ve been told ad nauseam that Jeb Bush’s more humane stance regarding immigration reform has him on the outside of the GOP mainstream primary voter. So why is he getting so much sh*t from pro-immigration activists?

A new group called Engage Cuba held an event in D.C. last night, where they showed off their new ad airing on cable news networks advocating for the trade embargo to Cuba to just go away.

It was an absolute tragedy when Tampa Police officers confronted an erratic driving Arthur Green Jr. over a year ago in Seminole Heights. The officers had no idea when he resisted them that he was suffering from a diabetic seizure and ultimately died. While the Green family is pursuing a lawsuit against the TPD, Tampa state Rep. Ed Narain sponsored a bill that would educate law-enforcement officers about suffering from such a seizure, and Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill into law last night.

While Tampa officials are pumped up that the Legislature included funding to move the USF Morsani College of Medicine to downtown Tampa, Florida TaxWatch is rather peeved about that project and a whole lot more that lawmakers found money for vs. giving us a bigger tax cut.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at [email protected]

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