Opinion

Musings on the NBA championship

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Ben Clarke
Political Consultant and Speechwriter
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      Ben Clarke

      Ben Clarke has worked in Washington, D.C. as a political consultant and speechwriter for the past ten years. During that period, he has served as chief political writer for GOP strategist Frank Luntz, speechwriter for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and communications consultant for Rudy Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign. He has worked on countless House, Senate and Gubernatorial campaigns across America. He has also worked on or covered campaigns in Ukraine, Georgia and Greece. He recently relocated to the Berkshires in Massachusetts, where he works as a freelance writer.

Time does not heal all wounds.

It’s been a week since the Celtics lost to the Lakers in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Championships. As kids, my parents taught us to take the high road in the wake of defeat. Someday I will.

If the Red Sox pissed away a crucial game like that, I would be on a ledge somewhere. There would be a bungee cord attached. The jury’s still out on my ability to summon the testicular fortitude to jump. But out there I would be.

I dislike the Lakers; their fans more so. They did little throughout the series to change that. Find me a lot of genuine Lakers fans – this side of the front row of a Yankee Stadium playoff game – and I will personally deliver you an autographed copy of my life’s spiritual guide: “The Audacity of Hope,” by Barack Obama.

Let’s begin.

Ever wonder what all those bad actors out there do when they are not making bad movies? They tender $7,000 to sit courtside Staples Center to show off their crisp new designer Lakers hats. They cheer for their new favorite players. Attempt a lip-read sometime. It’s humorous. “Go Kory Bryant … hit another four-pointer!” Throughout, you can catch them sneaking in a mouthful of the sushi they smuggled in from Nobu.

Most of these folks aren’t really from Los Angeles. Not many are. But if, say, their favorite team were the Memphis Grizzlies, do we really think they would drop everything to jet down to Tennessee to catch a Game 7?

No. Lakers games are not sporting events for most Lakers fans, they are just events. An easier-to-come-by ticket to the Oscars, minus the tuxedo.

In 2008, I flew out to LA to catch Game 6 between the Celtics and Lakers, hoping to see the Celts clinch the series on LA’s vintage Italian marble court. Sorry, wood. I wore my worn out old Celtics hat. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I was sitting alongside an old friend – a combat Marine. Or perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I was also sitting alongside an actor buddy of my old boss … an intimidating looking fellow who starred in the modern-day Western classic “Tombstone.” But I wore the hat with no fear. Past experience has taught me NOT to wear native sports garb at similar playoff events in places like New York, Oakland or Chicago.

This is LA. I endured a little ribbing from surrounding fans. “Magic was a better guard than Bird!” Hmm. Was Larry a guard? “West Coast, baby!” Easy there, Snoop Dogg. “The vichyssoise in Malibu is SO much better than the vichyssoise in Nantucket!” I wouldn’t really know. You got me there, Chester.

For the big games, Lakers brass trot out Christina Aguilera to sing the national anthem. At the old Garden, we get the Boston Police Benevolent Society’s finest.

And let’s get this over with now. Surely the UV rays inside the Staples Center are dangerous, but do you really need to wear the Gucci sunglasses? None of this, of course, applies to Jack Nicholson. He is legitimate, and unimpeachably cool.