Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Tuesday, June 15, 1999

NBA Finals good
vs. evil encounter

SPURRED on. The NBA Finals is like the final five minutes of an NBA game. It's the only time when it's really meaningful.

So it's nitty-gritty time when the San Antonio Spurs take on the upstart New York Knicks in the opener of their best-of-seven series tomorrow at the Alamodome.

This NBA Finals grabs more attention because the ho-hum Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan aren't in it. Moreover, it shapes up to be a good-vs. evil encounter.

Sorry to get caught up with references to "The Phantom Menace" -- Star Wars: Episode I. But it's good vs. evil, darkness vs. light for me when the Spurs, the good guys, take on the Knicks, naturally the bad guys from the dark empire.

Sure, maybe Latrell Sprewell has turned the other cheek, no more the coach-choker. But, to me, he's still the Darth Maul of the NBA.

Somehow, the Knicks have gained more fans because they're now the underdogs as the first eighth-seeded team to play in the NBA Finals. Adding to their sympathy is the loss of of Patrick Ewing and Larry Johnson's injury.

But how can anyone root against the NBA's ultimate Mr. Nice Guy, David Robinson? Or, Tim Duncan, the poker-faced one, who looks more like he should be singing in a choir instead of playing in the NBA.

So the good guys have just got to win. May the Force be with the Spurs to win it in six games.

THINKING OUT LOUD: If you think Texans can be insufferable now, imagine if both the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Stars win the professional championships of the two so-called "winter" sports -- basketball and hockey.

Both the NBA and NHL champions coming from the Lone Star State. Amazing. Next thing you know, football and spring football won't be the two most favorite sports in Texas.

And speaking of Evil Empire, how can you -- even if not a Texan -- root for the Sabers in the Stanley Cup when they have Satan on their roster ... Miroslav Satan.

OPEN SEASON: We all know that Tiger Woods got game in golf. But with his victory in the Memorial two weeks ago, Woods also showed that he got patience, which is as important as the ability to strike a golf ball.

That's why Tiger is my pick to win the U.S. Open this week. Enough of the Jeff Maggerts and Lee Janzens of the golf world. Let's get a U.S. Open champion with more pizzazz.

Only Tiger will do. David Duval? Not even. Also no foreigners. They can win the British Open. The national championship of the United States should be an American.

MUST-SEE TV: NBC must be feeling good. The peacock network is surely strutting this week with television coverage of both the NBA Finals and the U.S. Open.

Unfortunately, the way the NBA playoffs are set up, the only game that will be televised live locally on KHNL will be Game Six -- if there is a Game Six.

All the other games in the NBA Finals are scheduled for weekdays, which means they'll be shown delayed in Hawaii. Not so lucky you live Hawaii, sometimes.

"I'm sure we'll get a lot of complaints," said Dan Schmidt, KHNL's program director.

The good news is that the U.S. Open will be seen live -- Thursday and Friday on ESPN and the final 36 holes Saturday and Sunday mornings on KHNL, starting at 6:30.

STOP ME IF YOU HEARD THIS ONE: There are plans to have Honolulu as one of the cities in a new professional football league.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

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