It's the word that has been bandied about in the sports world since the NFL players lost the right to guaranteed contracts years ago. Parity. The holy grail. The grand achievement of the NFL that has made it the most popular league in the United States.
These NBA Playoffs this season have been about as even and wide open as anyone can remember. In 1994 we saw a series of first round upsets (including the Nuggets historic upset of the Seattle Supersonics) and was the closest we have come in modern NBA history to real playoff parity. Competitive series and wide open playoffs have been elusive for the NBA, primarily because of talent has been largely thin across the league (particularly in the late 90's).
Has the NBA achieved parity?
We will know more once the first round is over. Seemingly every series (aside from the Charlotte Bobcats vs Miami Heat snoozefest) is competitive. Even though the Trail Blazers /Rockets series is 3-1 Blazers, every single game has gone down to the wire. That series could just as easily be 3-1 Rockets at the moment. It's truly been one of the best playoff series I've seen in recent memory.
As far as parity ... look. As we have discussed before, NFL style parity where every team is mediocre with a good quarterback probably will never happen in the NBA. Two way players guarantee that to be so. However, as fans all we can ask for is entertaining, competitive playoffs that draw you in and give you ... yes ... that overused term "we have a chance".
It will take more than one round of one playoffs to go that direction, but it's a start. Despite the unpleasantness going on with Donald Sterling, and the very sad news that Dr. Jack Ramsay died on Sunday these playoffs have soldiered on and managed to be quite amazing.
In the grand scheme of things that's all that matters.