It's settled: Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 NBA Finals. Two basketball teams, playing basketball, trying to win a trophy of a gold basketball. There's already been plenty of actual basketball talk — here's a sample: the Heat are better if Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade play better! the Spurs need Kawhi Leonard to be huge! LeBron James is very good! — so right now, it's time to cover what could be the deciding factor of the matchup: the INTANGIBLES.
San Antonio: The Alamo is in San Antonio. This is the only thing I know about San Antonio. If you told me that San Antonio was run by a bear-king and that everyone met in the town square at 3 pm every day to drink iced coffee, I wouldn't believe you, but I wouldn't NOT believe you. I think the rest of the country feels similarly, possibly explaining why Finals that include the Spurs average so many fewer viewers. It must be tough to be the fourth city in a state like Texas; everyone's got so much state pride, but it all goes to Austin and Dallas and Houston, and San Antonio's kind of the neglected kid brother. It's not your fault, San Antonio: you're beautiful.
Miami: During the one week in my life I've spent in Miami, I saw more Bentleys, Maseratis, and Maybachs than I've seen before or since combined. Not only did these cars exist, though — they were all just sitting in the front yards of perfectly ordinary-looking homes, idling, clean as scalpels. I then went out and paid $12 for a Corona. Fuck Miami.
Advantage: San Antonio
THE TEAM NAMES
Spurs: A remnant of an era in which men wore cowboy boots so they could drive their heels into the sides of horses, spurs don't have much place in contemporary America, which features comparatively fewer men on horses. They also seem like a mean thing to poke a horse with, although I'm not intimately familiar with the functionality of spurs or horses, so please forgive me if that's a mischaracterization. I'm just not sure that an American in 2013 has a place for spurs, but they do call to mind the great Argentinian poem El Gaucho Martin Fierro.
Heat: Without heat, there would be no Bagel Bites.
THE TEAM COLORS
Red: As primary colors, red, blue, and yellow have a certain advantage that other colors really can't compete with. Red is an undeniably striking and emotional hue; just watch this scene from Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, FOR EXAMPLE. Anyway, good color, dudes.
Gray: Gray is hard, rocklike, formidable; gray is the color of Gregg Popovich's body. Gray strikes fear into the hearts of actual colors. But it's also, in the wrong hands, a little dull, and considering the accusations leveled against San Antonio — they're too boring; they're too old; Tim Duncan is too Tim Duncan — gray sends the wrong message. Although it seems fitting; could you imagine the Spurs wearing purple?
THE BEST PLAYER'S PUBLIC IMAGE
LeBron James' Fame: I don't think it would be inaccurate to say that LeBron James is one of the most recognizable people in America, somewhere between President Obama and Taylor Swift. In a way, he's almost TOO famous — where's the romance! The excitement! It isn't like it once was. We come home from work, and LeBron's fame is sitting on the couch, staring at the TV, not even looking up or saying hello, and the wine LeBron's fame buys us now, we strongly suspect, is just Two Buck Chuck with a fancy label pasted on, and LeBron James' fame can't even stay awake through movies anymore, and...
Tim Duncan's Lack Of Fame: Any American sports fan knows about Tim Duncan. I suspect many of them would underrate him, but they know who he is. However, even those fans would likely have a hard time recognizing Duncan in street clothes if he were sitting down and had a normal-sized head. (The tallness would be a hint of SOMETHING, at least.) And yet, Tim Duncan is arguably the greatest player of his generation, having arguably the greatest season of his career at the age of 37. That's rad.
Advantage: Tim Duncan's Lack Of Fame
Spurs History: The Spurs are the Basketball Illuminati, controlling the NBA over the last decade in a very subtle, inoffensive way — they've been participants in, and winners of, four of the last 14 NBA Finals. But at the same time, they don't have LeBron, they don't have Kobe, they don't have Kevin Durant — they don't have any of the guys who have made this era What It Is, even if Tim Duncan might be the best player of said era. In a way, the Spurs are like Frasier: massively successful, seemingly interminable, but overshadowed by flashier counterparts like Seinfeld and The Simpsons. Also, many people find the Spurs insufferably boring, another thing they share with Frasier.
Heat History: In 2006, the Miami Heat beat the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals. In 2008, the Miami Heat went 15-67 and at one point started a starting lineup of Ricky Davis, Daequan Cook, Chris Quinn, Mark Blount, and "Earl Barron." Then they selected marijuana enthusiast Michael Beasley second overall in the Draft. In 2011, they signed LeBron James and Chris Bosh, went to the Finals, and lost, much to America's delight. In 2012, they went to the Finals and won, which strangely also delighted America. The Miami Heat's history is weird as shit.
Advantage: Spurs History
Final Count: Spurs 3, Heat 2
If basketball games were settled without basketball, the Spurs would win.