Inside the College Student Athlete: NBA Finals
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Inside the College Student Athlete: NBA Finals

The NBA Finals from a student-athlete perspective.

So if you've been reading any of my stuff (thank you), you know that I'm a little biased towards basketball. It's what I know, and ever since I was a little kid, it's honestly been a part of who I am. A lot of people hate on the NBA, claim that college basketball is better and more fun to watch. I don't care. I love the NBA, I love the players, the coaches, even the ridiculous commentators because they all contribute to an end result that I can't get enough of.

This series between Golden State and Cleveland sucked. There was so much hate and negativity revolving around the now NBA Champion Cavaliers that even the biggest of Cavalier fans felt doomed. There was talk about how terrible the ratings would be for Games 5 & 6 because there was just no way there would be a Game 7, especially the way the Cavs had been outplayed.

But that proved to be just that, as LeBron and Kyrie willed their way to arguably the best comeback in NBA history and Cleveland's first major sports championship since 1964.

Now for any of you that watched this game, just know that it was so historic that ESPN has probably already started production for the 30 for 30 film on it. The 73-win Warriors with a choke similar to the 2007 Patriots, Kevin Love's absolute fall from grace, Kyrie's ascent into a top-10 player in this league, the storylines are endless.

The part that really stuck with me, however, was the emotions you saw on these guys' faces. You saw LeBron, the mightiest of Cavaliers (I'd say Warriors but that just doesn't seem right so I'm just gonna try and make this one work), was brought to his knees, tears streaming down his face.

JR Smith, who was probably sipping on Molly water in the final minutes, was just as emotional. That's when it really hit me, this was something that these guys may never experience again. Something that they play their whole career for: This one moment.

Here's a quick list of guys that have never won an NBA Championship: Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson, Charles Barkley.

James Jones has three.

The emotion I saw was reminiscent of the way I felt after what, at the time, I had thought to be my last high school race ever. I came from a very, very good track program. My junior year we finished as the third best public school team in the entire state of New Jersey. My senior year, I believe 10 of us went on to compete in college, and about half at the Division I level. Together we all broke countless school records and won numerous league, county, and state sectional titles.

At the State Group meet, I prepared what would be my last 200m race as a high school athlete. I didn't use blocks in this race because they wouldn't allow you to bring your own set and I was very superstitious so I just went without them, which many people look at as a stupid decision but it worked for me.

I remember as I got down into the set position, the last four years of training and races and teammates all flashed in my head. Everything that I had gone through to lead me up to this moment right here. I knew that I had to give everything that I had, and I did. I ended up running a personal record (PR), and afterwards I was so overcome with emotion that I couldn't even believe I had just finished. I was ecstatic with a PR, but also sad that it was all over.

It turns out that my race had qualified me for one additional meet, the State Meet of Champions, which obviously I was excited for but it actually made me look like an idiot because I made the whole emotional Instagram post and everything.

That feeling though after that race, I don't think will ever be matched. Even at the State Meet of Champions, I had felt like I had already come to terms with the end. You only get one last race, and in the eyes of the Cavaliers, you only get one first championship, and I just have to assume that the emotions I felt that day are similar to those the Cavaliers are feeling right now.

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Sports Vs. Finals Season: How To Manage Both

I should study, but it's Game 5!

If you tracked the time of the year when blood pressure levels and stress increase the highest for people, chances are that the three week period between late April and early May. It would probably show young adults' blood pressure just as high as adults around tax season.

Ah yes, we've hit the most wonderful time of the year...for caffeine distributors, finals season! Late night study sessions, a 10 page paper on the author's contextual meaning of a 16th century 700 page English novel, and tears of relief with the arrival of Reading Day.

However, for sports fans, this time of the year add an extra element: The beginning of the baseball season, the NFL Draft and free agency, and NBA and NHL postseasons. With 24 hours in the day already committed to these assignments and normal activities like bathing, sleeping, and eating, it is difficult to find time to sit down and watch a game or a half an hour show on ESPN.

Here are a few tips to find that time to watch your team compete and not fail a class and disappoint your parents.

Eating Time Becomes Eating and TV Time
We are willing to sacrifice sleep in order to finish an assignment, but not meals. So, schedule your meals around games.

If an early afternoon baseball game is being played, have lunch at that time. Say the Cavs are playing at eight, well then that's your dinner time.

Granted, this does not include breakfast because no team outside of North America is playing at 7 a.m., but when was the last time you actually ate breakfast?

Replace Music with Radio or Podcast
Instead of listening to a studying playlist when reading about conjugating Spanish verb tenses, listen to Inside the NBA or Intentional Talk. Obviously, watching the game itself while trying to study would be too distracting. But not listening to some talking heads discuss the game.

Why not? It's less distracting than music seeing that they're talking and not playing instruments and singing over the arrangement.

Friday/The Weekend
It's the 48 hour period every student needs and the 48 hour period that is never enough. With the proper time management, you could watch whatever you want on the weekend and still not fall behind in your duties.

However, this comes down to the most important day, Friday. Almost like a measuring bar, the use of Friday helps you determine a lot how the next 48 hours will be used.

My take, use Friday for planning the harder assignments, getting the easy and quick ones out the way, and for laundry.

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The NBA Is Boring, You Say?

The NBA Finals matchups is the same for the third straight season. And it's awesome.

For the third consecutive season, the Golden State Warriors of the Western Conference will match up against the Cleveland Cavaliers of the Eastern Conference to decide who the NBA champion will be. But fans across the world complained all season long about how boring the NBA was and how predictable the outcome would be.

Here's why, despite the fact that this matchup is the third of its kind in the past three seasons, that complaining is ridiculous and fans should know better.

First off, yes it was predictable, and yes we did know that this was going to be the matchup yet again. LeBron James has been to every NBA Finals since 2010, and the 73-win Warriors team from a season ago added superstar small forward Kevin Durant in the offseason. So why bother complaining about the predictability of the NBA when everyone else already knows it's predictable as well? It's called beating a dead horse.

Simple solution: don't like it, don't watch it. No need to complain for seven months about it.

Secondly, the predictability of the NBA may make the semifinal and quarterfinal playoff matchups boring. However, no team in the history of any sport has ever played to be the best in any of those categories alone.

Teams want to win championships. That is the goal, the only goal. And given the great NBA Finals matchups we have seen the past two seasons with the Warriors and Cavaliers squaring off, with the Warriors winning in six games in 2015 and the Cavaliers rallying from a 3-1 deficit to win in seven games last season, no one should be complaining that we are likely going to have another great NBA Finals series.

The predictability guarantees us something that not many other leagues do. It guarantees us that the best two teams will, in fact, square off for the NBA's ultimate prize: the NBA championship.

Yes, this adds to the excitement. Now an average fan might say something like "certainly there can be other exciting series to decide a champion; does it really have to be the same two teams each season?" Well, sure, there can be other teams, but is there anyone out there that wants to watch a Bulls-Blazers or a Pacers-Grizzlies seven-game NBA Finals when you can have Warriors-Cavaliers? I'll wait...maybe someone in Portland, Chicago, Indianapolis, or Memphis will raise their hand...but even in those cities, probably not.

The predictability everyone is complaining about really isn't predictable when you look at it in the long run. A few years ago, would anyone have predicted the rise of these two dynasties at the same exact time? The Warriors set the record for the most wins in three seasons with 207, and LeBron James is making his case as the best NBA player of all-time.

While dynasties do happen and people may be able to predict them, are you telling me that everyone out there complaining about how boring the NBA is predicted that these exact two teams would peak during the same exact time frame? "Predictable"...that's cute.

All in all, the complaining is ridiculous. Fans are wasting their opportunities to witness greatness by crying about it.

Ask yourself: is it really worth it? Is it really worth giving up the opportunity to watch two great teams duke it out for multiple NBA championships just so you can hear yourself and everyone else can hear you whine while changing absolutely nothing? Just a thought...

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How Likely Is 16-0 For The Warriors?

The Warriors enter this year's NBA Finals with a 12-0 playoff record.

No team in NBA history has ever won the NBA championship after going through the entire NBA playoffs without losing a single playoff game. But the Golden State Warriors enter this season's NBA Finals matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 12-0 playoff record having swept the Portland Trail Blazers, the Utah Jazz, and the San Antonio Spurs up to this point in time.

How likely is it that the Warriors will sweep the Cavaliers to go a perfect 16-0 in this year's playoffs?

Winning four games in a row is not something that the Warriors have struggled to do. In fact, they are currently on a 13-game winning streak dating back to the regular season. While winning four games against the Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers may be a challenge, past history tells us that it is not as unlikely as it seems.

In the 2015 NBA Finals, the Warriors got down 2-1 to the Cavaliers and rallied back to win three games in a row to win the championship. The following season, the Warriors won both regular season games against the Cavaliers and took the first two games in the NBA Finals, giving them an extended 7-game winning streak over the Cavaliers. By this logic, four games in a row shouldn't be too much of a challenge for the Warriors to win, even over the Cavaliers.

This year's Warriors team is as good and as stacked as it's ever been. While they only (only...right) won 67 games this season, a total tied for their lowest total in the past three seasons (low...right), this Warriors team unlike any in the past is composed of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant. Not only are all four players All-Stars, but the past three NBA MVP awards have gone to players currently on this team. Stacked.

Meanwhile, on the Cleveland side, this is actually the weakest Cavaliers team of the past three seasons. The team's 51 regular season wins are the lowest with LeBron James on the team since the 2007-2008 season, granted he did go to Miami for four seasons. It even got to the point that LeBron was calling for the Cavaliers to pick up a playmaker to help the team out, and they ultimately ended up unable to capture the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

While the raw odds of winning four games in a row is 1/16 if both teams have a 50 percent chance of winning each game, the Warriors look like a much better team than the Cavaliers and have a much better chance than that at running the table and becoming the first team in NBA history to sweep their way to an NBA championship. But as for now, both teams are on even ground tied at zero games apiece, and the Warriors are four wins away from making history.

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2017 NBA Finals Drinking Game

Get your livers ready.

You're probably wondering, "Hey Jack, where was the NBA Playoffs drinking game, because that's really what these playoffs drove me toward."

That complaint is wholly warranted. So far, the playoffs have been a bit lackluster. Golden State and Cleveland are a combined 24-1, with the lone loss on an Avery Bradley buzzer-beater three. At times, the Playoffs have been anything but enthralling, but the Finals are here to right all the wrongs.

As if Steph and Klay and Draymond and Durant and LeBron and Kyrie and Love weren't enough, here's a drinking game to guide you through the two-and-a-half week marathon that will be Cleveland/Golden State III.

1. LeBron at the Charity Stripe
As one who believes in LeBron's GOATness, I'm must acknowledge his sole weakness: free throw shooting. In a recent ESPN story, it was revealed that LeBron, during the course of just this season, has tampered with his free throw mechanics a whopping 18 times! Routine is a free throw shooter's best friend, and LeBron has demonstrated anything but that necessary level of consistency.

For this one, every time LeBron heads to the free throw line, predict how many of the free throws LeBron will make. If it's an "And-1," simply guess aloud with your friends whether he'll make it or not. On a two-shot foul, guess whether he'll make 0, 1, or 2 of the freebies. On a three-shot foul, guess either 0, 1, 2, or 3. If you correctly guess the number of makes, you get to go hand someone in the room a beer which he or she just shotgun immediately.

Get it? Because charities are all about GIVING. So when LeBron ventures to the charity stripe, it's only right that the game involves a whole bunch of giving and sharing.

2. Mike Breen's "BANG!"
Over the last several years, Mike Breen has been the voice of the NBA Finals. Dickie V immortalized "ARE YOU SERIOUS!" Mark Albert has trademarked his "YES!" Ian Eagle has coined "Book it!"

Mike Breen...well...

"Allen, his three-pointer, BANG!"

It doesn't get any better than that. Here, every time Breen utters a "BANG!" you must yell "BANG!" while holding your drink in the air. Then, you must finish that whole drink. BANG!

3. Living in the Midrange
The Kareem sky-hook. The Kobe turn-around jumper. The Giannis "I'm dribbling down the court in transition" play. Some moves are just indefensible.

Shaun Livingston's contested, high-release, mid-range jumper falls right into that category. It doesn't matter who's guarding Shaun. He will elevate from just outside the paint and bury your dreams with that midrange pop.

The Dubs will need his offensive lift off the bench, and when the Warriors turn to that lineup without Steph or KD (I don't know why they do this, but they do it seemingly every game for an unnecessarily long stretch of time), watch out for Shaun to get going. For every mid-range jumper he cans, take a shot.

4. Bombs Away
Ok, there are two versions of this next game:

1 - Pick one of the following players: Steph, Klay, Durant, Kyrie, LeBron, Love. Whenever the player you've selected buries a three-pointer, do a Saki Bomb. (I don't have time in the article to explain what a Saki Bomb is for those who aren't aware, so just go look it up). It's not a very difficult drink to make, so try to get the mixings before the game begins that way you're all ready for it to start raining threes right after tip.

For efficiency's sake, you and your friends may just want to consistently have several Saki Bombs set up on the table, that way as soon as a three is made, the people with that player can immediately slug the Saki Bomb.

Here, obviously the person who picks Steph is a bit more ambitious than the one who chooses LeBron. Know yourself and pick wisely.

2 - If you're lazy or don't have the makings for Saki Bombs, just grab a beer and take a swig every time a three-pointer is made by either team. Simpler, less effort, probably cheaper, and less time-consuming. This one's for the lazy crowd.

5. Curry, From Way Downtown
In my Final Four Drinking Game, I decided it would be fun to initiate an immediate power hour if UNC Guard Stillman White checked into the game against Oregon. After Pinson and Berry both landed themselves in foul trouble early in the first half, Williams looked toward the bench and nabbed none other than Stillman White to buy the Tar Heels some minutes. We were launched into an immediate power hour that lasted almost the entirety of the semifinal, on top of adhering to the other games.

I'll follow a similar blue print for my NBA Finals version. If Stephen Curry buries a shot at the end of a quarter that exceeds, lets say, 35 feet, you are launched into an immediate power hour, no questions asked. The shot has to count (as in, time can't expire prior to the release) and Steph Curry must be the one launching the rock.

In April, it was Stillman White who shot us all into the blackout world. Now, Curry has a similar chance on basketball's biggest stage.

Good luck and God bless. Any questions, Tweet me @J_henks2396.

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Free Money Time: The 7 Best NBA Finals Prop Bets

You're welcome in advance.

Cavs. Warriors. NBA Finals. Part III. Let's fuck.

We've waited patiently for the past 350-some-odd days and finally the day is here. NBA Finals Game 1. And as we all know, with great sporting events, come great prop betting opportunities.

By now you have probably paid of all of your debts from your lost Super Bowl betting props (s/o Luke Bryan...dick) (s/o Chris Hogan...great story) and you are ready to gamble the money that you don't have on some absolute locks. Without further adeu, here are my seven favorite NBA Finals Prop Bets.

1.Will LeBron James Record A Triple Double In The 2017 NBA Finals?
(Yes -150). via Bovada *(-150 means that a wager of $150 would net $100)

I sincerely apologize to all of you that are viewing this article because I logged on to check out props last night for the first time this was the one that caught my eye first as the line was (+150).

As I talked about it and told all my friends (and waited overnight to text my bookie), the line shifted to (-150). No matter what the line is, this is an absolute lock and everyone who is anyone knows it, which is why it has shifted so dramatically.

2.Will There Be A Flagrant Foul In The 2017 NBA Finals?
(Yes -325) via Bovada

See video below featuring Draymond Green. (Bonus: This will make the 15-minute review much more exciting).

3.Most Points In 2017 NBA Finals
(LeBron James +125) via

The man is averaging a career playoff high with 32.5 a game. The Warriors' superstars will take points away from each other. Trust the king.

4. Will Away Teams Win Every Game In The 2017 NBA Finals?
(No -25,000) via sportsbook

Am I suggesting that you wager $2,500 to win $10? Yes. But this is more of a lock than Rousey so take it and use that $100 to win more.

5.Cavaliers Win 2017 NBA Finals In 7 Games
(+600) via Bovada

Beyond the fact that this is my personal prediction as well as the prediction of anyone whose opinion I respect, I think this a value bet on an extremely possible outcome of this series

5. Warriors Win 2017 NBA Finals In 6 Games
(+400) via Bovada

Again, I like the value here. We all know that if this thing goes seven that 'Bron is going to take it home, so if you like the Warriors in the series, this is the bet for you.

6.Will A 2017 NBA Finals Game Go To Overtime?
(Yes +170) via Bovada

I mean if this is the best finals ever like it clearly is going to be it would only be fitting for Game 7 to go into overtime. Fun thing to root for with decent odds.

7.Who Will Win 2017 NBA Finals MVP?
(Draymond Green +800) via

It is no secret that Draymond is the most valuable piece of this Warriors team. If they can defeat the King, it will be with great help from Draymond as the leader of the defense and the center of the offense.

Look. I think (and hope) that the Cavs win this series. But I found it in the kindness of my heart to deliver to you the best prop bets that I found, even if they included the pussy ass Warriors winning. You're welcome.