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Time May Vary

by Robb Reel

[Photo: REUTERS/Brent Smith]

It's important to think ahead.

As the Indiana Pacers beat the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, I was reminded of a meme that is desperately trying to gain some traction:

It's Dunkin' Time.

It's a derivative of "It's clobberin' time," catch-phrase of the Thing from the Fantastic Four in the Marvel Comics universe.  It was applied to a Roy Hibbert posterizing slam featured in a photo passed around Twitter.  The idea itself is fine with all the necessary qualities: quick, catchy and fun.

There's only one problem.

At the commencement of the playoffs, not many folks, experts included, counted on the aging San Antonio Spurs making another run.  I was among the doubters.  I mean, surely that team has to run out of gas sometime, right?  Yet Tony Parker -- no relation to Peter Parker, in case you wondered about more Marvel connections -- turned it on, turned it up and turned his team once again toward a title.  There's another very important Spur awaiting the winner of the Pacers-Heat series in the NBA Finals.

Tim Duncan.

The antithesis of LeBron James, Duncan is quiet, understated, indeed yeoman in his approach to both the game and his stardom.  Duncan is the least flashy a superstar has ever been.  He doesn't need to be.  The pride of Saint Croix in the US Virgin Islands already has four rings, three NBA Finals MVPs and two regular-season MVP titles.  There's no question the Wake Forest product will be a first-ballot selection to Springfield.  The discussion now is where he will rate on the Association's all-time greats list.

It's certainly not a foregone conclusion that the Pacers will face the Spurs.  It's a long trip south for Game 7 and Miami already has a ring.  Experience plays a big role in the playoff pursuit, just ask those Spurs.  If Indiana can bring that "Blue Collar, Gold Swagger" to South Beach and steal one when it counts most, we'll have an all-ABA Finals for the Georges [meaning Gervin and McGinnis as much as Hill and Paul].  If that happens and the Pacers capture a win Monday, I would bet they'll see this greeting somewhere along the River Walk, deep in the heart of Texas, on Thursday:

It's Duncan Time.

The moral of the story is to be careful what you wish for when you attempt to create a cultural phenomenon because you just might get it.

... but not the way you wanted it.

[Photo: The Associated Press]

In fact, you may have made more trouble for Hibbert than either of you planned.