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You Need 61 Days? When the NBA playoffs finally end, I'll already be really old 

When the NBA playoffs are finally over, my beard will have turned gray, the wrinkles on my forehead multiplied, my fear of immigrants quadrupled.

click to enlarge left-field_bill_walton.jpg

Last weekend, I settled in for two mostly uninterrupted days of NBA playoff basketball. Then, on Monday morning, I took a photo of myself.

Why? Because I plan on getting deep into this spring's edition of the NBA playoffs - regardless of how the Blazers fare - for the first time in half a decade and I needed to capture an image of myself as a young man. When the playoffs are finally over, my beard will have turned gray, the wrinkles on my forehead multiplied, my fear of immigrants quadrupled. My emails will be sent from an AOL account and written in all capital letters and I'll begin speaking of little other than the weather... because I'll be super old by the time these playoffs are over. But hey, at least I might have an RV or a golf cart.

I bitch about this pretty much every season, which is why I rarely end up devoting much time to the whole affair (except when ESPN's Bill Walton was calling games with an exceptional degree of batshit craziness), but given that I've promised to watch The Lebrons and The Kobes battle it through their respective conferences, but hopefully not end up in the finals, I'm realizing what a chore this whole song and dance has become. I know it doesn't seem like much, but ever since they made the first round a best-of-seven match-up a few years ago, my attention span has precluded me from giving two craps (equal to one damn) about the NBA Finals by the time they eventually come around.

Here are some numbers: To win an NBA championship in 2011, a team must win 16 games. If all four of this team's series require the maximum seven games, said team could end up playing 28 times. Add in the off days, and you could have a team that will have been engaged in the playoffs for 61 days. And I won't even tell you what would happen if the two teams in the finals were on separate trains traveling at the same speed in different directions for that entire time.

Two months of playoffs? That's longer than some college basketball conference seasons. That's twice as long as the surprisingly efficient Major League Baseball playoffs and also double the time it takes to decide an NFL champion. But hey, there's one sport that takes even longer to decide a victor and that's the NHL, which requires as many as 65 days of beard and mullet growth for its playoff system. But things move slower in Canada, so no one even notices.

Again, 61 days? That's three times the average lifespan of a male mosquito (science!) Hell, that's longer than a lot of things, including but not limited to: My seventh-grade relationship with a girl whose name I can't recall, the amount of time needed for Columbus to sail across the Atlantic (roughly), my last diet, the acceptable period for saying "uh, winning" and thinking you were funny, the length of Greg Oden's total NBA career to date, the time it would take to build a standard flood-withstanding ark (if you convert those Biblical years to standard years... I think), the time needed for half of the NBA players who didn't make the playoffs to get arrested two times each, and, of course, the amount of time during which one becomes really, really old.

See you jitterbuggin' whippersnappers next week.

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