This has not been a great year for basketball purists, otherwise known as the old guys at the sports bar who complain about players' tattoos and use corny phrases like “he tried putting a little too much mustard on that hot dog” when someone throws an errant behind-the-back pass. In April, Kentucky coach John Calipari’s “one-and-done” approach finally worked, as the Wildcats won their eighth national title on the backs of mostly freshmen and sophomores, despite the prevailing thought that it takes chemistry and experience to win championships in college basketball. And now, almost three months later, the Miami Heat are poised to win their first NBA championship since Pat Riley held up two middle fingers to the rest of the NBA in the summer of 2010 with his “get three max-contract guys on the team and figure out the rest later” strategy, which critics said wouldn't work because the Heat were too top-heavy and the egos of their three All-Stars would almost certainly clash. (Oh, and let’s not forget about that dadgum girl from Baylor ruining the women’s game this year with all her hocus-pocus slam dunks and what have you.)
Yes, Kentucky and Miami redefined what it takes to win basketball championships this season, and the landscape of the sport as a whole might not ever be the same because of it. But while many will point to Calipari's and LeBron James's first respective championships as proof that the Mayans were right, and will complain that basketball as we know it is gone forever, I, for one, am embracing the change.