Hypothetical situation: you are a Golden State Warriors fan with tickets to Game 5 of the NBA Finals in hand. Are you unequivocally rooting for Stephen Curry & Co. to complete the four-game sweep in Cleveland tonight or are you holding out hope you can witness them clinch a championship on Monday night?
In the interest of giving credit where it’s due, note this was a question floating in the sports-talk world yesterday but I can’t remember the source (it may have been Paul Pabst of The Dan Patrick Show who asked).
The reason it’s so interesting is because it may be the one case where I would answer “yes, I want to see Game 5 in person” after choosing the other option every other time it’s been presented.
Ultimately, no sane fan is going to sacrifice a title to see a game in person if the risk presented is even a fraction of the reward. Or so I think. But the difference in this scenario that makes it worth considering is how inevitable a Warriors’ crown feels.
This series is 3-0, a hole no NBA team has overcome. The Warriors may be one of, if not the best, team in league history. Through three games they’ve proven to be better than the Cavaliers in almost every facet of the game. They’ve overcome superhuman efforts by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to win.
Only Game 3 was close, the other two were routs. The defending world champion Cavs are six-point underdogs at home. Not even JR Smith will put his name to the idea a miracle comeback is possible. Just thinking of the effort needed to force a sixth game is exhausting, and the reward for winning that one would be another trip to the Bay Area, where the Warriors have been spectacular.
And sure, no one forgot what happened last year with a 3-1 advantage. But that’s part of the desire to see a Game 5 as well. How sweet would it be for James and Irving to return to the site last year’s triumph and be humiliated. How sweet would it be to right that wrong at home?
In the big picture, cockiness and hubris are bad things that can lead to regret. Not seizing the biggest opportunity when it’s available is antithetical to the spirit of a competitor.
As a fan, though, this is the one time I’d be greedy and selfish. A Game 5 victory seems certain anyway. The risk of allowing the Cavs back in the series is worth the reward to me, the myopic consumer.
That said, if the Warriors did mess around and win the whole thing tonight, there’s always money in the refund stand.