Long ago, Public Enemy penned the lyric "Don't believe the hype". It was a lesson lost on a confused Warrior fan base whose pre-fab narrative is "Everything has changed, it's a completely new era." The Cavs successfully proved otherwise.
As Cleveland defeated the "historic" 73-9 Warriors team in a historic fashion, they eradicated a plague of "this is a new era" apologists, conspiracy theorist "the NBA is rigged" nut jobs, reality show-styled sideshows. Most of all, the Cavs silenced the fake fans whose knowledge of the game was built entirely on soundbites, analytics talking points and spreadsheets. The game was in peril and the Cavs were its savior.
While it is nearly impossible to dissect the web of disinformation spread through this season, here are myths that need busting:
1) The NBA is rigged - this idiotic argument would insinuate that all the Warriors' success were also the result of this purported rigging. In fact, the Dubs have been on the favorable end of far too many situations to count.
The historic performances by Lebron James (triple-double levels in Games 5 and 6, monster defense, historic production) were talent while the Splash Brothers' gross underperformance (especially on wide-open shots) were their own making. Remember, when dealing with fans in tinfoil hats, the best course of action is always to avoid eye contact and run away fast.
2) The "It's a completely new era" argument - The Cavs proved rebounding and defense matter. They proved that the flexibility to mix in slashing, midrange shooting and post-ups makes a world of difference, especially when threes are not falling. The Cavs showed that rim protectors shape the game and that size and tempo changes are requisite when "death lineups" fail. Basketball did not change so much as the Dubs simply never got the memo.
Throw these brain teasers at a Dubs Fan:
Would Lebron James have been able to play in the NBA in the '70s, '80s and '90s? Resounding yes. Would Kareem's Skyhook work with today's more offense-friendly rules? Resounding yes.
Would the Splash Brothers have survived a league with hand-check rules and no three-point shot? Head scratcher.
Did the team with rebounding, defense and the all-around game prevail over the record-pace three-point shooting team? Yes.
Is it now clear that there are facets of basketball that are timeless and that the three-point shot is not the end-all answer? Expect a bewildered look.
Rinse, wash, repeat.
3) Warriors apologists and the "injury" argument - Dubs fans are right, injuries matter and it is likely why they won their 2015 Championship. Watching them face healthy competition has exposed them as underwhelming. Not so good for a team that Draymond Green had crowned "the greatest team ever."
Dub Nation undermines itself with the injury excuses. It is an argument reserved for the loss of MVP-level talent. The Dubs had the unanimous MVP, who had screamed emphatically "I'm back" as he scored 17 points in an overtime in the second round.
No player or team is 100% by the Finals. Through history, '78 Blazers, '86 Rockets, '99 Knicks, '89/'04/'08 Lakers, '08 Spurs (this list could go forever) - teams have made a runs through significant injuries, and when they did not prevail they did harp on their injuries, nor did the media do it for them. The Warriors have no excuses.
The "it's a new era" fans tout the Warriors small-ball "death lineup" as the end of the traditional center, then bemoan the loss of their limited-minute seven-footer as the entire reason for an epic collapse in the Finals.
If anything, at 31 years of age, Lebron has more wear and tear than anyone in the series and he performed on a level miles above the regular season.
4) Green's suspension - Make no mistake, while being a superb player, "Groin Punch" Green had been on borrowed time since the OKC series. As an All-NBA Player, it was Green's job to stay on the floor and help his team. #composure. End of story.
5) Shut up with the analytics already - Speak to true fans and they live for in-game action - a key Lebron chase-down block or a game-turning Kyrie Irving shot. That is because true fans know the action sets the narrative - stats are an afterthought.
These days the NBA conversation is overrun with wannabe basketball savants spouting off plus minus numbers, percentages of wide-open shots, Curry's rating in 2K16 because analytics or any number they can wrench from their backside. Video games, Vines and Fantasy Stats are their preferred lens for live sports.
The joy of basketball has always been its simplicity, flow and the spontaneous improvisation - all of which have been brought back into the fold by the Cavs. They are good, old-fashioned basketball - no rocket science needed to explain.
6) Curry is the first-ever unanimous MVP - Chalk this up to the walking dead - pure groupthink. Anything spoken to the contrary was sour grapes. The Cavs have reset the narrative.
Anointing Curry as the NBA's first-ever, unanimous MVP should have reason for revolt. Unfortunately, the zombies did as the walking dead are meant to do -- march blindly down the rabbit hole without rhyme or reason.
With James there was the ultimate litmus test - his team had been abysmal without him. The Warriors sans Curry showed they could perform well against opponents. This is how "valuable" is defined.
Curry's production has consistently gone down through the playoffs while James put up historic performances. Curry has not even been the MVP of his own team. Klay Thompson proved the best two-way player, guarding the toughest opponents and saving his most clutch moments when playoff series were on the line. Unanimous MVPs should not need to desperately be hidden on defense. Meanwhile, Draymond Green provided the anchor of both the defense and offense, answering all the intangibles.
In a league of team-carrying players like the James and the Thunder's Westbrook, not one voter could recognize talent past the shine of fool's gold. Curry is an other-worldly shooter, the rest us up for discussion.
7) False Bravado and reality show-style antics - The Cavs bring a blue-collar ethic to the game. They act as professionals. The press conferences are professional. They do not mire themselves in Twitter controversies and fame-seeking. They do not bring sideshow antics and groin punches to the game - they simply play hard. Sure, the Cavs are human and like any normal person there are moments of celebration, but 90% of the time they live up to the "act as if you've been here before" adage.
The old mantra "don't provide the other team bulletin board material" got completely lost on the Warriors. They see value in showboating for the home crowd or trash talking in pressers, not to mention the ridiculous Twitter controversies.
It is absolutely true that this is their right. Indeed, the Warriors have the "right" to act as such, but when it provides the fodder for an adversary to overcome a 3-1 deficit, it was a one-way ticket to the wrong side of history. The "right" to do something stupid does not mean that "right" is to be exercised.
Lebron, Kyrie, and the Cavs have returned the world to basketball normalcy. Sleep easy knowing that in a copycat league, teams will reawaken to the all-around game. Fans can revert back to enjoying this great game rather than pointing to spreadsheets and showing Vine clips. Playgrounds everywhere are vindicated by the truth that there are many ways to play besides chucking mindless threes and crying foul at every turn.
The Cavs rid basketball of the circus. Like a clone of the 2007 New England Patriots, the 2016 Warriors season can be taken as a lesson in hype and never giving into it. The fake fans, lacking in a sense of history and knowledge of the game, can quietly fade back into the woodwork. The excuse-makers, conspiracy theorists and the nonsense narratives are finally silenced.
Listen closely. That sound faintly in the background is Lebron James, the game's best player, already on the hardwood planning next season's opus.