Game 4 of the NBA Finals was packed with all sorts of funky moments that if you saw just one of would make them instantly memorable, but to have so many was truly hilarious. The Quicken Loans arena lends itself to moments of goofyness, watching games on T.V from their it often feels like more than a religious experience than a basketball game, such is the decibel level the fans hit. Cavs fans do not create the consistently vociferous atmosphere heard in the Oracle Arena, but at certain times the arena gets unbelievably loud. The Cavs fans often need prompting, and that’s where The Cavs crazy MC steps in, shouting “All in” over and over, and working The Cleveland faithful up into a tizzy. Having an ever present MC on hand makes the game feel like it is trying to be more entertaining, and that certainly was the effect in Game 4.
Weird moment 1- Iggy gets no love from James Jones
It was a great night for Andre Iguodala Tuesday night, he led the Warriors in scoring and as I wrote in my recap of game 4 his defense on LeBron James propelled the team to victory(insert hyperlink to game 4 recap when it is posted on site.) However things did not start off all that well for Iggy, late in the 1st quarter he went to the rim and got blocked, by notorious leaper James Jones (Jones would be hard pressed to jump over a piece of paper which adds even more hilarity to this.). Iguodala being the all round good guy he is took this in good spirits and decided that he would congratulate Jones on the play, and reached out to high(low?) five his opponent. Jones glances at Iggy’s extended palm with disgust and then turns his head, completely snubbing Iguodala.
Weird moment 2. Memphis Tennessee native Ric Flair makes an appearance as a Cavs hype guy
I am an NBA analyst and would be fairly confident in saying that no matter what occurs during a game on an NBA court, I will be able to understand it, and then write about it. But this display from WWE legend Flair has me stumped. I haven’t watched the WWE since I was a 7 year old kid, rising early on a Saturday morning to catch up on what happened the night before, so I have to admit I don’t know a lot about Ric Flair background. When he popped up on our screens my initially reaction was confusion, I then tried to join the dots and presumed that Flair must either be a Cleveland native, or atleast currently reside in the greater Ohio area. A quick wikipedia search would return an answer of “No , and No” on those surmissions.
As of the 13th of June, I have not succeeded in finding an explanation as to why the man WWE followers call “The Nature Boy,” appeared centre court in the Quicken Loans arena adorned in a puffy purple scarf and cuffs. The whole episode was pure gold, Flair only seemed to be aware of one Cavalier players name, repeating semi-coherently shout outs to LeBron James, as most of the crowd remained silent. Flair completely bombed and even the sound of him shouting “Wooooo” 23 times couldn’t save him.
(Super) Weird moment 3. LeBron goes crashing into a camera, cameraman gets ‘cussed out.’
This one ranks highest on the Hilarity Richter Scale. At a glance the reader might say “What’s so funny about LeBron plowing into a cameraman, after a hard foul by Bogut?” However, any good comedy routine needs a setup, and LeBron hurtling into a camera provides that. It’s what happens next that simultaneously astounds and delights.
Lets break it down, LeBron gets fouled hard by Andrew Bogut, loses his balance and goes flying into a cameraman. James goes down hard, clutching his head. Have no fear, random bald dude in a suit is here to save the day. The suit then decides the best course of action is to spread his hands, one on LeBron, the other on the unfortunate cameraman. Good idea, heaven forbid the pint-sized cameraman decides to seize his opportunity, and finish the job on the prone 250 pounds, 6 foot 8 mammoth.
The suit, who after some digging I discovered is Lynn Merritt, LeBron’s brand manager at Nike, unhappy with his efforts to hold the dangerous cameraman back, Merritt stands up and lunges into an expletive filled verbal attack on the cameraman. In case you didn’t manage to pick up what kind words Merritt was spewing, here they are.
“You fucking asshole. It is your fault… It is you fault!”
It probably goes without saying that it really wasn’t the camera guy’s fault, as he was just sitting in his designated spot when the 6-foot-8, 250-pound professional athlete tumbled into him.
Not satisfied with this, Merritt was then seen running around Quicken Loans calling out fans. I kid you not. Per respected NBA analyst Ed Isaacson
The guy who told the cameraman “It’s your fault” after LeBron fell into him before is now walking around the arena individually blaming fans
— Ed Isaacson (@nbadraftblog) June 12, 2015
I think most would agree that Merritt comes off looking a tad foolish from this incident. Andrew Bogut jumped to the camera guys defense post game, telling USA Today’s Sam Amick:
“I think he jumped into the cameraman.” “Yeah, I think he came down and took two steps and then fell into the cameraman. I definitely, definitely didn’t hit him that hard.”
When the reporter replied by saying, “That’s how you saw it?” Bogut said, “No, that’s how it was. If you look at the replay, you can see the two steps being taken and then him falling into the camera. That’s what we saw on the replay, and that’s what my teammates saw.”
Merritt has form when it comes to being over protective. In 2009 word leaked out of LeBron James’ Skills Academy in 2009 that Xavier (ironically Crawford’s last NBA team was The Warriors,) dunked on James. Merritt got wind of this and sought out freelance cameraman Ryan Miller who captured the dunk, forced Miller to hand over the tape, and then proceeded to destroy the evidence. Luckily for us Miller is an active tweeter and gave us further details.
At least I’m not the only cameraman to feel Lynn Merritt’s wrath. He didn’t swear at me, though so he must’ve liked me. #NBAFinals2015
Lynn Merritt did say it’s wrong to take video of NBA guys like LeBron when not in shape. So…How is TNT able to shoot Glen Davis in games?
It’s not a big leap to make to say that James may have exaggerated contact as a means to get Bogut called for a flagrant 2. Look at the play, and make up your own mind as to whether you think James sold the contacts, or if he just lost his balance on landing.
If basketball is not really your thing, I think I have show that there are more than enough entertaining sideshows to keep everyone interested when watching the NBA Finals!
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