Now that NBA legend LeBron James is no longer in the Eastern Conference, the basketball universe may breathe again. For the first time since 2010, the path to the Eastern Conference Championship and spot in the NBA Finals does not include a James-led unit. Such news call for some sort of celebration for most teams in the conference. We look at the Eastern Conference Anthems for the top squads in the conference.
The Eastern Conference’s Anthems Without LeBron James
When one thinks of celebration, what comes immediately to mind? Music, of course. To this end, this article seeks to pair appropriate music with the emotions of the teams vanquished by James last season. In other words, the NBA Eastern Conference Anthems.
Cleveland Cavaliers – “There is a King in You” by Donald Lawrence
First, one must acknowledge the Cleveland Cavaliers. For the second time, James chose to leave his homeland to seek greener pastures. Unlike the first time, however, the Cavaliers fans led by owner Dan Gilbert have chosen restraint in exercising their hurt. Recording artiste Donald Lawrence sang “There is a King in you”. A few words of comfort from that song go as follows,
“I know that life has challenged you, But the King in me speaks to the King in you. You were born to rule, There is a king in you.”
Gilbert proves it with his statement.
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert issues a statement on LeBron's departure: pic.twitter.com/fmvVCsVWvo
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 2, 2018
It hurts now, but Cleveland will be alright. This is a classy move by the Cavaliers, led by Gilbert.
Toronto Raptors – “Something’s gotta give” by Assassin
The Toronto Raptors are the most elated to see the back of James from their conference. James was particularly savage on the Raptors during the playoffs, effectively sweeping them the last two season. In the case of the Raptors that something or someone was undisputed Coach of the Year Dwane Casey. After leading the Raptors successfully to new heights for a total of seven seasons, the Raptors dismissed Casey unceremoniously without logical reason. The Raptors finished last season with a conference-leading 59 wins.
Jamaican reggae artiste Assassin recorded “Something’s gotta give”. GM Masai Ujiri embodied these lyrics;
“So me have to think constructive. Like inna meh brain I mix mortar now.”
However, later on in that same song Assassin issued a warning.
“The whole thing stop here now, millionaire turn pauper now.”
These words would serve Ujiri and the Raptors brain trust well. By making Casey the fall guy for the Raptors inability to defeat a James led team, then now the Raptors have zero excuses. No Casey, now head coach of the Detroit Pistons and better still no James.
Boston Celtics – “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley
The Boston Celtics seem primed to fill the perceived vacuum left by the obvious Cavaliers fall from grace. In Boston, GM Danny Ainge and the Celtics front office are ecstatic at the news of James’ exit. Reggae legend Robert Nestor Marley (Bob Marley) sang “Three Little Birds”. Ainge and Head Coach Brad Stevens are undoubtedly feeling these words right now; “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright!”
Who can blame them for such optimism? The Celtics are scheduled to have star wing Gordon Hayward and all-star point guard Kyrie Irving both healthy for next season. With the expected growth of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined with the steady, intelligent and fantastic Al Horford, the sky is the limit for the Celtics.
Philadelphia 76ers – “Ghetto Story” by Baby Cham
‘The Process’ is over and the Philadelphia 76ers look primed to win. After a successful season, all arrows point upward for this organization. The 76ers embodies Reggae artiste Baby Cham’s “Ghetto Story”. With young stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, coach Brett Brown and the Sixers community epitomize the lines,
“We get di ting dem, So dem haffi rate we. Cause we a take it to them wicked of lately, And now the whole community a live greatly. Rah…Rah…”.
No James mean the 76ers path to greatness has simplified almost exponentially. The East is now for the youngsters would be the 76ers thought process. While a question mark remains on Markelle Fultz‘ ability, if or when sorted the 76ers will be as talented as any team in the conference. They believe it’s their time.
Washington Wizards – “Get Up, Stand Up” by Bob Marley & The Wailers
For the Washington Wizards, the window appears to be right now. But the Wizards are arguably the most dysfunctional talented team in the entire NBA. Led by John Wall and Bradley Beal, this team shows talent but are often struck by bad luck or bad decisions. Bob Marley and the Wailers sang “Get up, Stand up”. The following words personify the Wizards;
“Is not all that glitters in gold and Half the story has never been told. So now you see the light, aay, Stand up for your right.”
In other words, for Wall and company, it’s now or never.
Indiana Pacers – “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash
The story of the Indiana Pacers is one of love. For this reason, Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” seemed appropriate. Conventional basketball wisdom initially suggested that the Oklahoma City Thunder got the better of the Paul George trade. Except, the players received by the Pacers went on to fantastic seasons. Victor Oladipo was initially thought of as a salary dump. Domantas Sabonis was just a rookie. Oladipo, in turn, became an All-NBA, All-Defensive, All-Star and voted Most Improved Player. Oladipo is a star and the Thunder must be having second thoughts.
For the fans, these words speak of their love affair with this young Pacer team. “The taste of love is sweet. When hearts like ours meet. I fell for you like a child. Oh, but the fire went wild. I fell in to a burning ring of fire.”
“I Speak Life” by Donald Lawrence
In closing, the rest of the Eastern Conference can take solace and comfort in another Donald Lawrence song, ‘I Speak Life’.
“I speak life, you’re gonna live, Oh, my brother, my sister. I speak life. You are the head and not the tail, You will prevail. I speak life. Don’t give up the fight for your life. You shall live and not die.”
While the words appear unrealistic, each team has the ambition of winning and success. Songs of hope soothe the collective soul. GMs, Coaches, and fans alike all want the best for their teams. Hope and patience are often in short supply. Music can help in that regard. So while James and Lakers sing “California Love” by infamous rapper Tupac Shakur, the east teams say, Good-Bye.
DENVER, CO – JANUARY 29: Kyrie Irving (11) of the Boston Celtics reacts to a shot clock violation late in the game against the Denver Nuggets during the second half of the Celtics’ 111-110 win on Monday, January 29, 2018. The Denver Nuggets hosted the Boston Celtics at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)