When the series moves from Colorado to the beaches of Miami, you get the feeling of almost an international tournament. In Denver, the games were a 20-minute drive from pastoral mountains and lakes, in Miami we are near the colorful and dizzying chaos called South Beach.
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A spectacular ethnic blend of races, music, cuisine and basketball. And speaking of a melting pot? The heat and humidity can definitely melt you down.
Of course, NBA teams don't raise their own players, but for comparison: Only 20 NBA players were born in Colorado. Florida had 127 births, many compared to Colorado, but few compared to no fewer than 703 state-born professional baseball players.
When I ask Luca, a young Hispanic who stars at Flamingo Park during school hours, he says that Spanish-speaking kids already prefer soccer. David Beckham has already established a professional team in the city.
It's a great picture of America that maybe doesn't really exist outside of these playgrounds. Most of the stars in the park are African-American, but one of the best of them is a Seattle highlist, who took his exit money to devote himself to basketball. Another actor is a psychologist, he managed to escape as a child from Cuba thanks to being a promising musician.
I ask Mark, perhaps the best player from the evening gaming group, why in the age group under 30 Europeans are already beating the world. He played professionally a bit outside the United States, and explains to me that foreigners have been working on basics from a young age. Eric agrees with me that the success of European players has given white Americans renewed hope – he sees it in rising Miami players Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro.
The basketball conversations here are almost therapy. People talk basketball but talk life. A young Hispanic girl who arouses great interest because of her great beauty, candidly recounts that her mother told her to prefer the boys her age who play sports. Because those who have money, you don't know where they're coming from.
Jose plays in the park at 71, is Puerto Rican and makes a living doing stand-up comedy on YouTube: "This place is an inspiration." He's right. I don't know if the players I watched are suitable for professionals. But they are stand-up comedians by grace.
Bo, for example, is Steph Curry's case advocate for the greatest player of his generation. When someone reminds him that two championships came with Durant, if political correctness is important to you, stop here, he explains: "He's a 'Niger' like us! (A terrible derogatory term for blacks, but blacks use it among themselves R.D.) Another nigger kicked his ass so he went and called out to a bad nigger to help him."
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Curry and Durant. Champions Together, Photo: AP
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