The time has finally come, the San Antonio Spurs are back in the NBA Finals. I'm fairly certain that I won't be alone in this feeling, but I won't pretend I'm speaking for the majority of our great fanbase, this are only the ramblings of one crazy fan. It's a feeling that's been in my heart for almost a calendar year, since roughly 11 pm local time in Mexico city on June 20 2013, when I went to my phone to check the final score of Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals. It's something I've wanted since I read on my phone that the Miami Heat won their 2nd straight title after defeating San Antonio 95-88; it can only be described in one word: REVENGE.
I won't lie, I won't hide it, I won't even make attempts to justify such a dark desire. I would love and fully accept the joy of a Spurs championship, the glory of seeing Timmy, Pop and the Spurs redeem themselves after what happened last year. But I want more this time; joy, glory and redemption will be marvelous, but I want revenge too. Because there's a reason I had to check the score on my phone rather than watch Game 7, I wasn't ready. I take full blame for failing my team by refusing to watch the decisive game, for not being strong enough to handle the emotional turmoil of the Game 6 debacle and pull myself together to take on the next one. It's my fault that I couldn't get over the moment my heart froze when hearing the noise of the Miami crowd after Ray Allen's 3-pointer went through the hoop; a moment that shook me so much I reached the brink of crying over a game for the first time since I was a young boy.
It's been almost a year, yet the pain refuses to leave me. I cannot escape day dreams of what could have been. One more defensive rebound, one more made free throw, and everything would be different. All series long I had kept my excitement in check, fearful of setting myself up for heartbreak. I kept telling myself it was too good to be true, so many things can still go wrong. It was the perfect victory; it wasn't just a championship, it was a philosophical struggle. The fundamental values of effort, hard work and teamwork had to prevail over the simple minded power of money. As a friend of mine put it, The Built Three vs The Bought Three; it was a perfect story. We won Game 1 and the excitement became harder to contain, we had proved we could do this. We won Game 3 and it became harder again, we can beat this team, convincingly. We won Game 5, we just need to beat them one more time. Through 3 quarters of Game 6 we were right in position, it could happen that night. But you don't take the crown without a fight, they weren't going to make it easy. I've been expecting a big run from them, that last bit of desperation to salvage their season. It finally comes, but we stay right behind. We charge back, showing the kind of heart that true champions must have. We are gonna take it from them, whether they want to or not. Parker makes a 3 pointer over LeBron to tie the game at 89 with only a few minutes left. He makes an insane shot to give us the lead right after that. The excitement is too much, I can't hold it back any longer. This could be it, we're so close. I'm pacing my living room muttering to myself "Please be over already" over and over again, In the final seconds I'm getting ready to explode in joy the instant that horn sounds and signals a 3 point victory for the Spurs. But then I hear the crowd noise and the commentators mention that Ray Allen has just drained a game-tying 3 pointer. My body goes cold, that scream I was getting ready to unleash is drowned in my throat, where it has been ever since. I start to shake and my legs feel so weak I have to sit down.
You can probably tell by now, but I remember the night of June 18 2013 like it happened just yesterday. The events of that night are still somewhere in the back of my mind, and they show up at least once every day. It is because of that night, that I want revenge this time. I didn't just want San Antonio in the Finals, I wanted Miami there to meet them. I don't just want Miami defeated, I want them destroyed, obliterated, humiliated. I want the Heat players to feel physically abused by the time the series is over. I want their fans to experience the pain of having your heart ripped out and stomped on. I want revenge for every time I've had to endure the painful memories of Game 6 popping up into my head for no reason at all. For all the annoying reminders by every sorry excuse of a commentator that feels the need to mention Game 6 in all Spurs games this season. For every time my friends and teammates in my amateur basketball team mock me with chants of "Allen for 3!" when I shoot a 3-pointer in shootaround. For the unbearable bandwagon Heat fan I ran into in a sports themed party while wearing my Manu jersey, who taunted me with chants of "Turnobili!"
I've been holding back this feeling since that night last June. It became increasingly difficult with each playoff victory. But I stayed quiet, fearful of having to swallow it again if the Spurs train got derailed somewhere else. It got past Dallas, Portland and Oklahoma City, finally arriving back at the point it was a year ago. The time has come, the stage is set. All I want is revenge.