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Looking at the intangibles: Miami Heat vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Jun 11, 2012, 10:03 AM EDT

hardenbeard AP

Look, you’ll get all the NBA Finals analysis you can stomach this week: you’ll be seeing x’s and o’s in your nightmares. Can anyone stop LeBron James? Who will guard Kevin Durant? Which coach is more adept at drawing plays on his dry-erase board? How many games will this thing go? We’ve got all that stuff.

But series like this one are often won by the intangibles: such as, which team’s city has a local business with a gigantic James Harden beard? (pictured). Which team has the best mascot? The best fan video? Of such things are championships made. Let’s take a look now at the little things which will make a big difference in the upcoming battle between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat.

BEST MASCOT

source: Getty Images

Burnie vs. Rumble.

Sure, the American bison has a great sense of rhythm, and makes a valuable addition to any garage band. And like all drummers, you can pay them in grass. But they are dangerous if provoked: more tourists are injured by buffalo at Yellowstone National Park each year than by bears. There have been no reported incidents involving Rumble, the Thunder’s mascot, who in fact was voted the NBA’s best mascot in 2009. Burnie, meanwhile, has a much more checkered past: in an exhibition game in Puerto Rico in 1994, Burnie was actually charged with assault and battery when he pulled a woman from the crowd for a dance routine, and she fell. Burnie faced prison if convicted — and large carpet-like mascots do not do well in prison, I’m told. The case was eventually settled for $50,000. Edge: Thunder.

BEST FANS

source: Getty Images

Jack Meyer vs. Thunderwear.

My favorite new term for team sports apparel? Of course it’s ‘Thunderwear’, which OKC fans call whatever they happen to be wearing, as long as it’s the team colors … even though I believe the name was originally trademarked for this fine product. Also, expect at least one whiteout during the Finals: Thunder fans have gone above and beyond the call of duty this season. But then we have nine-year-old Jack Meyer, who single-handedly lifted Heat fans to the NBA elite with his optimistic attitude following the team’s Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Celtics last week. “Good job! Good effort!” is now part of the American sports lexicon, and Meyer has become the Heat’s spirit guide. Edge: Heat.

BEST TEAM SONG

Miami (VSoHott) vs. Thunder Up: Race For the Prize (Flaming Lips).

Wait, the Flaming Lips have written a song for the Oklahoma City Thunder? Actually it’s a re-write: the group re-recorded their Soft Bulletin track with new lyrics for the Thunder. Meanwhile I’m having some difficulty finding a really good Miami Heat anthem for this season: although the one above is serviceable. But, another NBA rap song? That’s so 2009. Edge: Thunder.

BEST NERD GLASSES

source: Getty Images

It’s a disturbing new trend in the NBA, and some teams pull it off better than others. Although this comical attempt by Thunder fans is well played, you have to give extra points for LeBron, Bosh and Wade getting there first. However, when it comes to the true father of the red nerd glasses, there is only one name that can be mentioned. Edge: Milhouse Van Houten.

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BIGGEST DISTRACTION

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Gabrielle Union vs. Kate Upton.

It was back in April when Gabrielle Union told Conan O’Brien that her boyfriend, Dywane Wade, has banned her from sitting courtside. One reason was that she tended to heckle Wade.

Besides screaming “air ball” at Wade when he shoots a bad shot she is also known to target refs. She admits to yelling “you’ll get your Viagra if you just make a call” at Dick Bavetta.

Meanwhile, Upton, the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl and Oklahoma City Thunder fan, probably should also be banned from games. When she attended a Suns-Thunder contest in March, teams shot 39 percent from the floor on the end where Upton was sitting, as opposed to 49.4 percent on the other end. Also, the Suns went 9-for-12 in the first half from the free throw line, while at the Upton end, they missed six. Edge: Heat.

BEST MOVIE

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Hang ‘Em High vs. Caddyshack.

It could be said that both films have essentially the same theme: the stalking and attempted eradication of varmints. The classic 1968 western stars Clint Eastwood as a rancher mistakenly hung for cattle theft, but survives. He then hunts down the men who hung him, including the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island, and of course Bruce Dern, even though he had nothing to do with it. The film is set in Oklahoma Territory in 1889, although it was actually shot in New Mexico. Meanwhile, did you know that much of the filming of Caddyshack was done in Boca Raton and Ft. Lauderdale? Hey, wanna make 14 dollars the hard way? Edge: Heat.

  1. t16rich - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Am I the only one who thought that kid looks like he could be Spoelstra’s son?