Call it the curse of Home Alone. As Drake looked to replicate his Game 1 dominance, he made a critical error by sampling a piece of 90s pop culture. On the back of his hoodie, one of his minions had iron transferred the image of Kevin McCallister from the seminal, feel good Macauley Culkin slash Joe Pesci vehicle, Home Alone. With only the word “Kevin??!?!” appearing beneath the image—in a callout to injured MVP Kevin Durant. It appears Drake must secretly be a Warriors fan since Golden State exerted their hardcourt will, pulling off the Game 2 victory in the 6. Post game, sad Drake memes flooded the interwebs. Durant and Play Thompson roamed the hallways afterwards, shrieking echoing taunts through the foundation of the stadium directed at “Aubrey” himself. Durant, hooded and spindle legged, limped through the halls—visualizing the threat of his return haunting the Raptors like the Grim Reaper waiting in the wings. Your time is up Toronto. And Drake, er um Aubrey, there is a tombstone being etched with your visage on it as we speak. How will Drake respond to this trolling backfire? Time will tell which pop cultural reference he will try and twist to his own advantage next. With Durant set for a mid series return, Aubrey better speed things up.
Drake took control of the NBA Finals. Exerting his presence from the sidelines and executing God’s Plan. Transmitting his aura into the prehistoric spirit of the Raptors. While some refer to Drake’s actions as “antics,” the final score left no doubt as to who controls the Finals. It’s Drake. Drake controls these Finals. Not since Spike Lee has their been an uber fan willing to put a franchise on their back and carry it to Larry O’Brien glory. Drake is unstoppable. The lint picking was the shoulder shrug of these Finals. While Drake has yet to insert himself into the lineup, he has inserted himself into the storyline and central intrigue of these Finals. How will Klay Thompson respond? Will Steph’s father or mother step up? With Curry and company busy and tied up with the Raptors on the floor, Drake is free to roam like the spirit animal and “Clever Girl” Velociraptor mascot that he is. It’s like that scene in Jurassic Park where Timmy and Lex are scrambling around a kitchen trying to evade a hungry pack of velociraptors. Only in this version, the raptor picks lint from Timmy’s head and then eats whoever he damn well pleases. Perhaps Draymond Green is the Tyrannosaur in this amber encased metaphor? Only in this version, there is no stopping Drake from ruling Isla Nublar and putting Hotline Bling on blast over the park PA system. Sparing no expense. It’s gonna be electric fence wire bling if the Warriors think they have the pop cultural muscle to step to Drake’s neck-bearded swag. They’re already fenced in.
As a lifelong Portland Trailblazers fan, playoff success is usually a once a decade luxury. 1992 saw us battling Michael Jordan and the Bulls on their path toward eventual immortality. 2000 saw us on the cusp of returning to the Finals, only to experience one of the most brutal collapses in sport history in the final 12 minutes--rolling out the red carpet for Shaq and Kobe's Lakers to startup their dynasty. The next decade was filled with scandal, catastrophic injury and unending heartbreak.
I'm just going to enjoy this moment. Who knows what happens from here. But the Portland Trailblazers are heading back to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 19 years. Being a sports fan is a relative experience--and as a Blazermaniac, this moment means something. Because in those moment, the dream is alive in Rip City.
The city of Portland has a long memory. Our basketball heroes (and villains) become local folk heroes that stay engrained in our consciousness. Each season brings another ring around the shared tree trunk of Portlandia. We mark time with the ups and downs of the Blazers. In this moment, we will wax poetic. We'll focus on the rainbow and not the rain. Because in this moment, we are one of four teams left with a chance for glory.
So here's to Dame Lillard, CJ McCollum and our entire band of merry Blazers. It sure has been a long strange trip. Next stop, the Bay to face the seemingly invincible Golden State Warriors to see who rules the West.