Winter blooms into spring, bonfires burn away the past, and a wild celebration of colours exhilaratingly pave welcome towards the future. There is no experience that matches the unique festival of Holi amongst Indians. This week, people across the country will be offering prayers, hosting bonfires, and joining in to drench each other in a rainbow of colours.
With the festival of Holi, India celebrates the beginning of a new season, the spring. The annual timing of Holi also happens to coincide closely with the changing seasons in the NBA. If the majority of the season is held through the winter, the celebration of spring brings us closer to the playoffs and to the hot summer ahead.
So how will NBA teams mark the advent of spring? Here’s how the festival of colours can bring celebration to the different colours across the league...
Denver Nuggets – Blue, gold, white, and navy: Energy
If there’s any squad that perfectly represents the energy of the Holi festival, it’s the Nuggets. The young Nuggets are speedy, exciting, and are seemingly blessed with a limitless bundle of energy. The result? A franchise best 15-game (and counting) winning streak, propelling them up the Western Conference and putting the rest of the league on notice. Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Andre Iguodala, Kenneth Faried, Andre Miller, Corey Brewer, and JaVale McGee may be striking fear to other teams in the NBA; but in the true spirit of Holi, these young guys are just having fun!
Los Angeles Lakers – Purple, gold, and white: Health
It’s been a topsy-turvy season for the Lakers, who have had more colour and flavour in the past four months than they could possibly digest. When the year began, their formidable-looking starting five had us predicting that they could be the best team in the West. But a slew of injuries to nearly everyone on their roster – Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Jordan Hill, Kobe Bryant, and Antawn Jamison – halted their ambitions. A fight for a playoff spot isn’t what they would’ve envisioned, but it is what they have ahead of them now. Luckily for them, health seems to be finally on their side. The potential starting five of Nash, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol, and Howard are all finally healthy together. They have to use the next few weeks to find cohesion amongst themselves before the big playoff push. Monday night’s game against the Warriors will be an important opportunity to bounce back after a disappointing loss to the Wizards. Watch live on NBA.com/india.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Blue, orange, yellow, navy, and white: Youth
OKC’s core stars include 24-year-olds Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and 23-year-old Serge Ibaka. Even their ‘veterans’ are 30 years or younger, between Kevin Martin (30), Kendrick Perkins (28), and Thabo Sefolosha (28). Despite their youth, this team has already made a trip to the NBA Finals and is looking solid in the West again, proving yet again age is just a number! If this team seems unstoppable now, watch out as they are still many years short of their prime and will only get better. In Reggie Jackson (21), Perry Jones (21), and Jeremy Lamb (20), they are set with even more stars for the future!
San Antonio Spurs – Black, silver, and white: Consistency
If the relatively ‘bland’ colours of the Spurs jerseys seem un-Holi to you, don’t fret, because this team doesn’t need to wait for a changing season to be festive. In San Antonio, there is always reason to celebrate. The league’s most consistent team has been a threat in the Western Conference for the past 14 years, and are once again atop the West. Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker continue to be relevant every single year, and will reload on their championship aspirations in the summertime.
Miami Heat – Black, red, white, and orange: History
The Heat have a lot of reasons to celebrate. They could celebrate their unmatchable talent, featuring the reigning MVP LeBron James and two more superstars in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. They could celebrate their role players, like Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Norris Cole, Udonis Haslem, Chris Anderson, Mike Miller, and more, who provide them with many options. They could celebrate coach Erik Spoelstra, who has survived the hot seat and is now thriving in it. Or they could celebrate the fact that they are the favourites to win their second consecutive NBA title. Now celebrating a winning streak of legendary proportions, everything seems to be clicking for them this spring. Perhaps the Heat should most celebrate that history itself seems to be on their side.