Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Fan Code: Bragging (Franchise Edition)

Fans of different teams love to brag after a recent win, a lead in the standings or recent signings of soft players who ARE going to win 5 championships. As a Celtics fan, I am no stranger to bragging or to being harassed by braggarts. The following guide serves to illuminate the proper times to open your trap and the proper times to keep your big mouth shut. So who has the right to brag?

1.The Trump Card: Your team has just won a championship. They are at the pinnacle of the sports pyramid and no one, NO ONE, can argue with you. Sorry fellow Celtics fans, that is just the way it is. How long does the trump card last? Until the next playoffs begin.

2.When the playoffs begin:

A. As a playoff team, you now have the right to brag against any non-playoff teams, including the fans of the past champion. Once your team gets bounced from the playoffs, you automatically lose this right.

B. Playoff Team Versus Playoff Team: As for playoffs teams who want to brag against other playoff teams, your team has to be ahead in their series and the other team behind in their series, meaning you can brag across series/conferences (it does not count if you are tied or the other team is tied.)

This, however, can seriously backfire, as if that other team comes back in the series and your team loses, this fan now has the double pleasure of bragging about your team no longer being in the playoffs AND bragging about your over-confidence.

C. The Golden State Playoff Exception Rule: Named after the embarassing series loss by the Mavericks to the Golden State Warriors, The Golden State Playoff Exception Rule occurs when a number 8 or number 7 seed bounces a number 1 or number 2 seed from the first round of the playoffs.

This negates all bragging rights for the top seed against the lower seed until the top seed reverses the scenario to THE SAME TEAM that gave them an early boot in the playoffs or the top seed wins a championship, which, again, trumps all.

No, Mavericks' fans, it does not matter you were in the finals the year before. No, Mavericks fans, it would not have mattered if you won that championship and then lost to Golden State, they would still have bragging rights. And, no, it does not matter that they have been absent from the playoffs since and you have been in the mix. You LOST to a NUMBER 8 SEED.

I hope you guys win a championship soon, or you will never hear the end of it.

3. After the playoffs:

A. The Trump Card: Again, the team who has just won a championship has bragging rights over anyone else.

B. For two teams that did not win the last championship, the most recent championship win in the last 5 years has the bragging rights (except under The Golden State Playoff Exception Rule), unless the other team has 3peated, with all championships coming with-in the last 10 years.

For example, the Spurs had bragging rights over the Bulls after winning the 1999 championship. The Bulls regained bragging rights over the Spurs after the Spurs got bounced from the 2000 playoffs, then lost it again when the Spurs won the title in 2003. For a third time, the Bulls regained bragging rights when the Spurs got bounced from the playoffs in 2004 and then lost it again to the Spurs when the Spurs won the 2005 title. (For everyone checking out these links, yes, that is how basketball looked before people started getting HD.) The Bulls’ 3peat bragging rights expired when the 2006 Heat won the title, therefore giving the Spurs the bragging rights over the Bulls, and they extended these rights when they won in 2007, meaning their 5 years bragging rights over the Bulls and others is up in 2012.

However, when the Lakers got bounced from the playoffs in 2003 and 2004, the Bulls would not get bragging rights because of the Lakers’ recent 3peat. Double 3peats do not count for extra.

C. In the case that two teams have not won a championship in the last five years AND have not 3peated in the last ten years, the team who has the most championships in their franchise history (NBA only, no ABA, no BAA and GOD-NO NBL championships included) wins out.

(For example, the Spurs retain bragging rights over the Bulls until 2012 if neither franchise has won another championship by then, then the bragging rights will defer back to the Bulls because they own a 6 to 4 lead in rings.)

D. In the case that two teams meet the conditions under (2c) and have the same amount of titles, the larger number of titles won at the other team’s expense wins out.

(For example, if the Lakers were to tie the Celtics in championship titles this year, and then the Lakers and the Celtics do not win a title for five years, the Celtics would regain bragging rights because they have beaten the Lakers 9 NBA Finals to 3 NBA Finals. If, however, the Lakers were to pass the Celtics in titles, this point would be moot.)

In the case that two teams fit these conditions and have not faced each other in the finals or have an equal amount of wins against each other, then the most recent championship wins out.

4. If your team has not won a title and it is the regular season, please wait until the playoffs to begin your bragging, and only do so under the preexisting conditions. Unless, of course, your bragging is both ironic and funny, in which case it is not really bragging at all.

5. Trump card number 2: Some Heat fans will have us believe that they are going to win the next 10 championships. If any team wins 10 in a row, then that team will have bragging rights over any team except for the most recent champion, and this will continue until someone repeats the feat. I would imagine that if this ever were to happen (which is becoming increasingly impossible with each year of NBA ball that goes by) then this team probably would have bragging rights for all-time over everyone except the most recent champion.

6. Individual awards, records, achievements, MVPs, All Star games, HOF votes, etc. DO NOT count as bragging rights for your franchise over another franchise.

I do not want to hear from Bulls fans who tell me their franchise is the best because they have the best PLAYER of all-time or the TEAM with the BEST RECORD of all time. These bragging rights belong to a different field, and I hope to go over The Code to Bragging Rights (Player Edition) and The Code to Bragging Rights (Team Season Edition) in the near future.

A franchise is a collection of teams which are expected to display their dominance over a period of time, as the NBA has existed over a period of 6 decades, wherein one franchise has demonstrated the ability to CONSISTENTLY win championships in EVERY decade but one, while another franchise has won titles in EVERY decade but two, while competing in SIX NBA FINALS in one of the two decades they have not won a title.

The past year champion trump card, the five year rule and the ten year 3peat ru;e exist because this type of dominance takes years to establish in a league inundated with a lot of new teams, but once your franchise has reached the mountaintop they must remain there to continually stake claims to bragging rights and to prove they are the best.

7. To the Heat fans, bring it on. Or just chill.

8. To the Magic fans, I hope things line up so we see you or you in the Conference Finals instead of the Heat, because watching the Heat getting demolished by the Celtics would be a very anti-climactic Conference Finals.

9. To Lakers fans, congratulations.

I know the feeling well. There is really nothing anyone can say to you right now that is going to matter. You are it and as much as we Celtics fans hate to admit it as your rivals, your enemies, your Lex Luthor and your kryptonite in green, there is nothing we can say to bring you off your great cloud of victory or to rescue us from the deep, dark, depths of despair that come with losing a game 7 to your most hated rival.

A single season assists record, the career 3 point record, four players over the 20,000 point mark, 4 (and possibly 5) future HOFers means nothing to us if we do not win a championship.

Remember the 2004 Lakers (Kobe, Shaq, Payton and the Mailman)? Remember that empty feeling after losing the Finals? Well, I hope we do not go through a similar feeling, but whatever feelings we have after it’s all done I trust it will be because of our 13th meeting at the mountaintop.

It's all about 18. Championship or bust.

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