Almost one year since the Occupy movement swept the country, the NBA 2012 Finals embody the conflict between the 99% and the 1%.
On the one hand, you have the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team from a small market who has become great by building its team from the ground up, by acquiring most of its talent through the NBA draft. On the other hand, there's the Miami Heat, the South Beach team that has built itself into a powerhouse solely through free agency, including the big additions of superstars Chris Bosh and Lebron James along with Dwyane Wade. This team is built on wealth, and is even sponsored by Barcardi, which plays into the team's appeal to the party culture that is prevalent in Miami and has been popularized by hip hop artists such as Drake and Rick Ross, who are regulars at Miami Heat games.
The Thunder, on the other hand, prides itself on being a community driven team. They may not have the plethora of celebrity fans that the Heat has (even recently turning away Lil' Wayne), but their fans are dedicated not only to the team but also to the city.
You have a team in the Thunder who has worked and pulled itself up by their own bootstraps to get where they are. Then you have the Miami Heat, that has used money to buy them into the position that they find themselves in. Sound familiar?
The discourse of income inequality that has arisen since the Occupy Movement began last July focuses on this conflict of the 99% and the 1% that has most of the wealth. It is not enough for a member of the 99% to simply pull themselves up by their bootstraps to become wealthy and reach that level of success. The problem is that in today's America, they also need luck and connections, and even then, it is uncertain whether or not they will actually succeed.
On the contrary, as a member of the 1%, you gain the privilege of access to better schools, and better resources that usually lead parents individual to be able to easily reproduce this privilege for their kids.
The Oklahoma City Thunder had won only 23 games in four years, and over the last three years, they have made the playoffs going deeper each time, literally pulling themselves up by their bootstraps into the NBA Finals.
On the other hand, the Miami Heat signed Lebron James and Chris Bosh in the summer of 2010, made the NBA finals last year, lost the trophy, and easily made it back again this year, not having to prove themselves nearly as much. It's funny how easily the 1% and 99% mantra can be applied to these teams, but no matter what team wins, it won't change the income disparity that exists in America and in sports. It seems that our sports are not only mimicking our social and societal issues, but mocking us as well.