Jae Crowder sat down in front of the blue NBA Finals backdrop wearing a Miami Heat shirt and revealed a truth he hadn’t before, a truth that may be surprising for anybody who watched him play with the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this season.
It had very little to do with this particular NBA Finals, but explained a lot about why Crowder is so easy to root for now that he’s finally playing in the NBA Finals this year.
Because when the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers tip off their championship series Wednesday night, there will be any number of intriguing storylines to consider and Crowder isn’t much more than a secondary character in most of them.
One of the league’s most storied franchises historically will face one of the league’s most successful franchises over the past 20 years. LeBron James will go for his fourth NBA title, and make his 10th NBA Finals appearance, against one of his former teams and one of his former head coaches. Jimmy Butler will attempt to cap off his reputational transformation from being considered incorrigible to invaluable.
But when these two teams meet to cap off the three-month NBA’s bubble experience in Orlando, it will also be exactly one year to the day since Crowder sat in front of reporters in Memphis for Grizzlies media day at FedExForum.