It has taken me a long while of questioning myself and my judgment before being comfortable enough to speak out on this topic. But I've decided that, in the interest of moving forward, I have to admit my faults, apologize to those whom my actions have affected most, and get on with making myself a better Ian. So here goes.
I'm having an affair.
When I first met the Pistons, I was wide-eyed and knee high. I've been a fan since childhood. I was there for "stolen by Bird" and "Game 7 at the Great Western Forum." I celebrated the Bad Boys. I was there when Alvin Robertson, the original Latrell Sprewell, nearly choked Billy McKinney to death. I watched Grant's inbounds alley-oop to Linsdsey Hunter with less than second on the clock. And I've enjoyed #3 and the current run for #4.
And all the while, I lived in a comfortable world, where few opposing players ever intrigued me, and all could somehow be justified as lesser than my favorite of the Boys in Blue. But now my eyes have begun to wander. Not for a new team, mind you -- the trophy will always look better hoisted over Piston red, white, and blue -- but I've started to recognize the talents of non-Pistons. And it has shaken me.
Sure, I had glanced in the past -- who hasn't. For me it was always a David Robinson or a Dan Majerle, a "good character guy" or an underdog who was easy to root for when the Pistons weren't in it but just as easy to look back away from when things were better at home.
Now, players that I formerly wouldn't allow a glance are causing me to tune into their games in the midst of a Piston title run. Players like Kobe and Nocioni -- players I was convinced spent their summers stealing from children or tripping old people -- have garnered my appreciation for their skill and determination. I'll send IMs to friends raving about the latest of Kobe's miraculous 18-point performances, or celebrating every splinter Nocioni shoves under Kazaam's fingernails. I'll get nearly as excited by a last second, 7 v. 2 upset, as I do for the lackluster Piston blowout over the Bucks.
So I ask you -- is it alright to take time out from our current drive for four to appreciate the games of others around the league? Is this polygamy curable? Am I still allowed to rock my Bill Laimbeer throwback, or have I given up my P (iston) card?
Are there non-Pistons whom you look forward to watching during the playoffs? Who and why?