The Western Conference Finals are going on right now with arguably the two best teams in the NBA, our local Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, facing off. The series is tied 2-2 in a best of 7.
It’s nice to be a Warriors fan as through all the decades of losing, we have a perennial championship contender led by All-Stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. The Warriors have made the NBA a more skill-based league with their great ball movement and great shooting. The inside dominant big men were previously seen as critical to a team’s success. The Warriors have changed that and changed the NBA.
The Warriors have a lot more fans now due to their 3-year run with 2 NBA titles and the 3rd involving the best regular season in NBA history. This is their 4th year of having what I feel is the best team in the NBA. I was a fan through all their terrible years so it feels especially good to me that they are doing so well now.
Both the Warriors and Rockets have a lot of ping-pong connection. Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr canceled a day of practice to have a ping-pong tournament won by Klay Thompson. Klay Thompson played a lot with his brothers growing up. In an ESPN interview, Thompson jokingly said Stephen Curry was a sore loser in ping-pong when asked to say something we didn’t know about him. Stephen Curry did the ping-pong commercial recently with tennis women’s GOAT Serena Williams for Chase. Thompson also issued a ping-pong challenge to the tennis men’s GOAT Roger Federer when they met in Shanghai and on Twitter afterwards.
The Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey is a 1154-rated USATT member. I took my picture with him at the 2015 US Open right after the Warriors won their first NBA Championship. He said this year the Rockets are “obsessed” with beating the Warriors. Houston star guard Chris Paul hosts an annual ping-pong charity event where Stephen Curry, former Warrior Harrison Barnes, and many other big-name NBA players have played. Eric Gordon, who is possibly the 3rd best player on the Rockets, is about 1400 in table-tennis rating according to his brother, Evan Gordon. Evan Gordon has played many US table-tennis tournaments and has a rating over 2,000.
The last time the Houston Rockets won the NBA Championship, they featured Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Here is video of them playing with Houston-based Olympian Jimmy Butler.