The Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat will clash for the right to be included in basketball immortality on June 1. While the Nuggets are heavy favorites against the Jimmy Butler led Miami Heat, this finals series won’t be a cakewalk as some might suggest.
Sure, the Nuggets are the number one team in the West for the majority of the season and their impressive cohesiveness are showing gracefully this postseason, but the 8th seeded Miami Heat are slaying giants after giants to get to this stage.
A championship for the Denver Nuggets, who are in their first ever finals appearance in 47 years of existence in the league, would undoubtedly justify Jokic’s MVPs and catapult him among the best centers ever to play in the history of the league.
A former second round pick who’s name was infamously called by assistant commissioner Mark Tatum during a Taco Bell commercial in the 2014 NBA draft, the Nuggets never expected Jokic to become a franchise caliber player but here we are. Two league MVPs later while anchoring a depleted team the past couple of seasons, he has finally arrived in the grand stage, looking to capture the first championship of his career and his adoptive city.
For the Miami Heat, this will be their second finals appearance in the past four years. For everybody saying that the ‘Bubble’ was a farce, well, Jimmy Butler has been proving everybody wrong. Butler, a former 30th pick many years ago, blossomed into a superstar due to hard work and dedication to his craft.
Nobody expected Jimmy to be the superstar he is today and that was evident when he bounced around from Minnesota to Philadelphia before he got signed and traded to Miami. For the Heat, Butler is the perfect superstar for them. He started his career at a junior college before transferring to Marquette, where he improved his game and graduated.
But the impending clash between these two juggernauts may mean different legacies for both franchises. If Jokic wins, fans and the media will downplay Denver’s championship because they are literally playing against an 8th seed for the trophy. As the number one team in the West, people are expecting them to win it all. But they won’t glorify him with the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce. Jokic’s championship will be remembered in the same tier as Duncan’s first in 1999. Not too impressive, but a ring nonetheless.
If Jimmy Butler somehow plays Jordanesque and wins his first ring, he will be glorified and immortalized like King Leonidas in the movie 300. As an 8th seed who somehow treated the regular season as an afterthought, nobody expected them to dismantle the Bucks in five games and cruise all the way to the finals. Winning the championship will make them basketball gods and teams will look at the play-in tournament differently from here on out.
Jimmy will become a cult hero in American sports history as long as he lives if he wins this year’s championship, even if it ends up as the lone ring of his career. He will be a god against men.
As a fan of the game, it’s refreshing to see that none of the glitz and glamor franchises are representing their respective conferences in this year’s NBA Finals. This series has the potential to become an all-timer. The Nuggets versus Heat will be a dogfight!