As a basketball fan, I’m concerned about how many players will be left behind to complete the NBA Eastern Conference Finals after the Rapture occurs tomorrow.
As many of you have heard, Harold Camping, founder of a Christian radio station and an engineer, has predicted that the Rapture will occur on May 21, 2011 — an event in which Christians who believe in Harold Camping and Family Radio and who are non-evil, humble, and God-fearing will be levitated into the clouds. These Raptured folks will never return. Since Harold Camping has a degree in civil engineering, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s right about that. So what does that mean for the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls, their fans, and the outcome of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals?
After the Rapture, how many players will be left behind on earth to experience the tribulation and play the remaining 5 games*? And, more importantly, who is likely to win the Series? (It is currently tied 1-1.)
Well, as to that first question, I’m pretty sure there will be some players left. I don’t know who specifically of the players on the Heat or the Bulls believe in Harold Camping’s prediction, which makes predicting who will be around for Game 3 on Sunday tricky — about as hard as predicting the winner of this series — but, while not many NBA players can be considered totally non-evil, humble, and God-fearing, there must be at least some who are. Or who are at least self-professed Christians.
Will Lebron remain and Rose rise?
Lebron will definitely still be around. His religious affiliation appears to be Roman Catholic, so he should be left behind based on that criterion alone, according to Rapture experts (who take a dim view of Catholics). Additionally, he is not humble, since he speaks of himself in the third person. So that’s a relief, eh, Heat fans? And also a blessing for the Heat’s owner, Micky Arison, who is paying Lebron $110 million. (Micky will be also be at AmericanAirlines Arena on Sunday, too, so Lebron can count on a continuing paycheck.) Also, apparently Lebron James is a member of the Illuminati, so that lets him right out.
With Lebron available for Miami, one’s mind immediately jumps to the fate of Chicago’s Derrick Rose. Will the Bulls still have their lone superstar? It’s hard to tell what religion Derrick is. The youngest-ever MVP worships basketball, obviously. However, the first tattoo he ever got was a cross with the words “Only God Can Judge Me.” This may put him on shaky ground, Rapture-wise, because it would have been better for him if the tattoo stated, “Only Harold Camping Can Judge Me.” But I think the real deal-breaker, Rapture-wise, is his “Poohdini” tattoo, which shows an image of a wizard holding a staff and a basketball. We know from their many pronouncements on the subject that Christians think wizards are in league with the Devil — after all, Christians are the ones who tried to have Harry Potter books banned from school libraries. So, I think the wizard inked on the shoulder should disqualify Derrick Rose from being Raptured. Sorry, Derrick, no clouds for you. Whew… close one, Bulls fans!
Okay, so we’ve got at least two guys staying on earth. What about Dwyane Wade? We know he’s Christian. We know he wears number 3 because of the Holy Trinity. And he tithes 10% of his salary to his Chicago church. If that weren’t bad enough (from a basketball fan’s point of view), his mother is an ordained Baptist minister. So, Dwyane is gone. Dwyane might as well already be walking through the pearly gates. He will not be available to start on Sunday. Or ever again. In other words, he’ll be a first-round draft pick by God.
The remainder of Miami’s roster
What about Chris Bosh? Well, he’s an intelligent guy — good student, went to Georgia Tech — so we can infer from that that he’s not one of Harold Camping’s followers. On the other hand, he was dumb enough to get involved with his “Basketball Wife” ex-girlfriend, so maybe, you know, he could have some religious tendencies. But not enough, I’d guess. Bosh should be around.
So now we’ve got Lebron James and Chris Bosh against Derrick Rose. Will Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer still be on Rose’s team? Well, when he commented on religion for an interview once, Joakim said, “I believe in God, but I don’t have a particular God… I definitely want to learn about different religions. The more people know about religion and other people’s culture, the less ignorance and conflict there will be.” That pretty much excuses Noah from Rapture-hood. Christians do have a particular God and they do not want to learn about other peoples’ religions and they are not opposed to ignorance and conflict (I mean, look at Galileo, and the Crusades, and evolution, and that whole witch-burning episode, and the Inquisition), so yeah, the Bulls’ premier defensive stopper will be available for Game 3. And Carlos Boozer? He once commented that Mormons are “not bad at all.” That statement right there ensures that he’ll be missing the Rapture express. Sorry, Carlos. Plus, he has his own shoe with Nike, who, as we know, is a Greek goddess. That should put the kabosh on any remaining doubts about his post-Rapture status. In other words, Boozer will still be around to post up the non-righteous Chris Bosh.
Unfortunately, Mike Bibby won’t be shooting any more 3’s for Miami. He states that he’s a Christian on his MySpace page and he has said that he’s a religious person. And who are we to doubt Mike? MySpace is almost certainly good enough for God, so it’s floaty-uppy for Mike.
Miami center Joel Anthony will also not be around. He went to a Christian school. Plus, he’s Canadian, which almost automatically makes him humble. But Mario Chalmers should still be on Miami’s roster. It’s not clear what his religion is, but he lost a stare-down to Blake Griffin once, so there’s some evidence that he’s more intimidated by Blake Griffin than he is by God. Rapture is for the God-fearing, not the Blake-fearing. We’ll assume Mario will not be joining the faithful in the firmament. What about Erick Dampier and Zydrunas Ilgauskas? Will Miami have any height remaining at center? Doesn’t look good regarding Dampier. Erick attended church every Sunday as a kid and now he does things like work with the Boys and Girls Club of Mississippi every off-season. I’m pretty sure Erick will be hoovered up. Regarding Ilgauskas, prospects appear a little better. 79% of Lithuanians profess to be Roman Catholic and, according to many Christian Fundamentalists, Catholics just don’t make the grade with God. Moreover, in a 2005 poll, only 49% of Lithuanians believe there is a God (though that doesn’t quite square with the preceding stat on Roman Catholicism). In any event, if Zydrunas has a religion, it’s most likely Roman Catholic, and if he doesn’t, he probably doesn’t believe in God. Either way, it’s ixnay on the apture-Ray for ydrunas-Zay. Finally — and this is probably the most significant — Zydrunas Ilgauskas professes to enjoy reading books. So, though Ilgauskas hasn’t exactly been a force of biblical proportions in the playoffs up until now, he’ll at least look intimidating sitting on the bench. Jamaal Magloire? Another Canadian. He’ll be gone… He operates several charitable foundations and runs clinics for underprivileged children. If that isn’t enough, in high school he played for the Saints.
How about Udonis Haslem, who has made important contributions to the Heat since the Conference Finals began? I think he’ll be around. He wants to be the mayor of Miami when he’s done playing. No politician is genuinely humble, non-evil, and God-fearing. Juwan Howard? In the first two games, he’s 0-1. Who cares?
What remaining heathen will Chicago have?
Chicago-wise, we have to take a look at Luol Deng. He grew up in a Christian family in Sudan but, after moving to Egypt, he respectfully helped his Muslim friends celebrate Ramadan. Whoa, Bulls fans — you dodged a Rapture-bullet there, and should be able to count on some continued scoring punch from Deng, with his Muslim-respecting feet remaining firmly on the ground. Except, of course, when he’s dunking on Lebron.
Solid Chicago sub Taj Gibson is a bit more of an unsure thing. Though he attended Calvary Christian School in San Fernando, CA, where he received a “Christ-centered education,” he states that his favorite basketball players are Jamaal Tinsley and Lamar Odom. See, I’m pretty sure that’s the kind of humor God doesn’t appreciate. Even worse, Taj posterized Dwyane Wade with a dunk in Game 1 of the series. We already know how much God likes Dwyane Wade. I think heaven won’t be able to use Taj. Fortunately, Chicago will be able to use his defense and rebounding.
How about Kyle Korver? Kyle is like, what, -2 for 18 so far in this series? But soon his shooting slump will not matter, one way or another, because Kyle has been described as a “great young Christian man,” and his father is an evangelical pastor with his own church. Tomorrow, Kyle will be going to that big gym in the sky, along with his father and Harold Camping.
And what of the rest of the bench-sitters on both teams? Brian Scalabrine and Kurt Thomas for the Bulls? Eddie House and Dexter Pittman for the Heat? Well, let’s look at it statistically. According to Harold Camping, about 200 million people will be Raptured up on May 21. That’s 200 million out of a population of 6 billion. So that means that each of the remaining players has a 1 in 30 chance of being sucked into the sky. The thing is, each of those players has shown himself to be capable of beating the odds — first by becoming NBA players, which only a few hundred people get to be, and second by still being in the playoffs while 26 other NBA teams are sitting at home on their butts on their Elite home theater loungers. Just by those very facts, we must assume that these exceptional men will once again defy the odds and be taken into God’s bosom tomorrow, along with the other lucky 200 million humble, non-evil, God-fearing, Harold Camping-believing Christians.
Which is fine, because, even though they’re NBA scrubs, they’re still scrubs.
So where does that leave things with regard to the Eastern Conference Finals? It’ll be Lebron, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Ilgauskas, and Haslem versus Rose, Joakim Noah, Boozer, Deng, and Taj Gibson. A permanently elevated Wade will be too much of a liability for Miami to overcome. I pick Chicago in 6.
* If necessary