NBA Finals Diary #5: Annoying the World from the Cheap Seats

I’ve been calling the Bucks overrated pretty much this entire season. They’ve been overrated now for the last 2 years too. I don’t trust Giannis to be the guy down the stretch and I don’t trust Middleton to be Batman consistently either. But mostly. I don’t trust Mike Budenholzer. 

I’m betting even the most die-hard Bucks fan on earth knows that deep down this is the harsh truth. 

And because I keep pointing this out I’m now kind of at war with Bucks fans online. They said some things, which caused me to say some things, and well … it ended with me issuing an apology.  

But this is exactly how fans interact with one another. You may root for the Bucks or the Suns because you live in that city, love their star player or your family has been rooting for them for generations but I root for my takes. I root to be right. I’m currently a Suns fan because not only was my grandma a Suns fan, but I’m rooting for them to expose the Bucks for the frauds I think they are and have been all year. I also root for my producer who is a lifelong Suns fan just like I did when my last producer saw his favorite team, the Nationals win a World Series.  

So call me a bandwagon Suns fan. Call me annoying. Call me cringe. But this is the first Finals I’ve ever been allowed to show emotion and I’m getting lost in the passion of the moment. If you don’t like my enthusiasm, go read something like USA Today (It’s behind a paywall now, by the way).

I’ve covered 4 other NBA finals all from Press Row, along with 4 Super Bowls, a Winter Olympics, 2 World Series, and 3 CFB Playoffs/National Championships… ALL  with a lanyard and a credential. You can hate on that all you want but I promise you you’re not going to meet very many people who’ve done that. I’m in rare company and some of the biggest names that you watch in sports media haven’t done that. 

But what went on Game 1 and Game 2 was different than any other Finals I’ve been to. It

is exactly why I wanted to come to a place like Barstool. To not be told how to act, to be proper or unbiased… I got to be a fan. An insufferable, loud, boisterous fan without worrying about being reprimanded.

Here’s the thing you don’t know about Press Row. Cheering is not allowed. You have to stay quiet. Pretend this game doesn’t excite you. Stay stoic like a monk. And you’ll get shushed if you show even a TINY bit of emotion. Even a lunge or a cheer for ANY good play. Sometimes, like me at the Orange Bowl, they actually threaten to kick you out if you pipe up.  

This either forces media to pretend they don’t care or worse, they end up losing their love for the game altogether. It becomes just a job. The love that they had for the sport? It was stolen from them somewhere along the way. It’s the best job in the world and they have to pretend it’s fucking brain surgery or watching paint dry. 

They might not root for any particular team but they do root for something you might not think. They root for a short series. They root for sweeps. Just so they can start their vacations early. They don’t want the thrill of a game 7, they want exactly what we got in 2018 with the Cavs and the Warriors. 

So watching games, even big games, from Press Row isn’t nearly as fun as you’d think. It actually starts slowly killing your soul. 

Watching these games from the stands? Making content as a fan with other fans? Shit talking and getting shit talked back? Yeah, that’s what Barstool is built on. By the common man, for the common man. And if you don’t think this is what we’re asked to do, you don’t know Barstool, and you don’t know Dave Portnoy.

This is what we’re paid to do. This is what Dave tells (and yells at) us to do. And it’s what has driven Barstool from the very beginning. So keep bitching about how there isn’t an ESPN-style breakdown of the games; that’s not what we’re paid to do, and if we did it? It would get spiked and wouldn’t make the blog. And if it did make the blog, you’d probably still bitch. Because that’s not what we’re about. We’re tasked with making interesting, engaging, and personal content. So yeah, this is content from a fan turned “journalist” turned fan’s point of view. 

And that’s what I’m doing. And you know what? I’m discovering it’s so much more fun to be a lunatic fan than to be quiet as a church mouse on Press Row. 

Here’s a compilation of everything that went down at Game Ones and Two:

You can check our social feeds on Twitter and TikTok for much more content. 

Oh, one more thing. 

Suns in four.