The first quarter of Game 1 the 2017 NBA Finals delivered on the hype. LeBron played straight through the first 12 minutes (and more than two minutes into the second quarter before finally sitting), Kevin Durant and Steph Curry combined for 20 (10 for each!), even JaVale McGee threw down a dunk, and the quarter ended with Warriors leading by just five.
However, the game truly began when Rihanna arrived, over nine minutes into it.
Jeff Van Gundy is one of the greatest basketball junkies of our time — rumored to watch high school games in his spare time — and yet her majesty trumped a monster dunk from James so disrespectful that Shea Serrano had to weigh in. She is a noted Cavs fan, so surely she would not miss the most anticipated basketball game since last year’s Game 7.
What we could not have expected, though, would be her wide-felt impact Thursday. After her entrance was announced emphatically by JVG, she went on to support her favorite player as only she can. Early in the fourth quarter, as the Cavs trailed by 22, Rihanna rose to pay her respects to the King. She bowed, and then let the presumably annoying fans around her know that a 22-point deficit means nothing to her. She indicated this with the dab.
However, fighting with fans is for plebeians, and Rihanna is nothing if not rarefied. Thus, she also got into it with Kevin Durant.
It doesn’t matter that LeBron is the erratic free throw shooter while Durant’s shimmy motion rarely fails him. It doesn’t matter that, with Game 1, KD silenced an army of detractors who claim his move to Oakland weakened the league. It doesn’t matter that courtside hecklers have fallen out of favor ever since NBA games became places to be seen. None of this matters.
Rihanna has been playing by her own rule book for years now, which is why she is adored by men and women. The notorious roar of Oracle Arena will not silence her heckling, nor will a dazzling performance from a former MVP. Rihanna is a queen because she’s loyal to her guy, and she will make it known in spectacular fashion.
And based on Durant’s reaction to her yelling “BRICK!,” Cleveland and NBA fans need her to get inside KD’s head. That’s the only way this series can stay close, which is probably why commissioner Adam Silver protected her on the way out.
Update: Durant won’t let Rihanna walk away with the series so quickly. He won’t even acknowledge the beef. Game 2 awaits.