15 Reasons To Care About the NBA Playoffs Even If You Don't Like Basketball

There's a reason basketball is rapidly growing in popularity: it could well be the most thrilling sport out there—and today is when things get really exciting. Here's what you need to know as the playoffs start.

With the NBA Playoffs kicking off today, you might be thinking: Do I care? The answer is, or should be, a resounding yes. The National Basketball Association pits some of the world's most impressive athletes against one another in fast-paced, high-scoring games—and in this era of endless streaming, on-demand content, live sporting events remain some of the only entertainment that you simply have to watch live. You never know what might happen. (Case in point: could anyone have predicted that Kobe Bryant, at the age of 37, would score 60 points on Wednesday night?)

Quick primer for those who may not know: the 30 teams in the NBA are divided into two conferences, the Eastern and the Western. After an 82-game season, the 16 teams with the best records—eight in the east, and eight in the west—earn the right to compete in the playoffs. In order to win it all, a team must emerge victorious in four consecutive best-of-seven series.

Pick a game, get some friends together, and start cheering. The drama, the stakes, the urgency—the NBA Playoffs have it all, and, once again, they start today.

Here, 15 reasons you can't miss this year's NBA Playoffs.

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1 The Physical Poetry of Stephen Curry

Golden State Warriors star—and presumptive league MVP—Stephen Curry is so agile on the court that his physical artistry is drawing fans across disciplines. Earlier this year, The New York Times talked with Bay Area dancers who number among his vociferous supporters, including both a principal dancer in the San Francisco Ballet and the artistic director of the Oakland Ballet Company. Curry spent this season breaking records left and right, perhaps most impressively hitting 402 three-pointers over the season's 82 games, far more than anyone else ever has. (That means he averages about five of them per game!) Who's in second place in that department? Himself—he made 286 of them last year.

2 His Daughter, One of the World's Favorite Toddlers

As long as Steph Curry makes the playoffs, his daughter Riley will be there with him. One can only dream of how her appearances at the upcoming press conferences will send shockwaves through the media this year.

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3 A History-Making Team

Curry's Warriors, the defending champs, have just completed a historic season, finishing with the best record of all time, 73-9. That means they won 89 percent of their games. Each time you watch them, there's a good chance you'll see something quite unlike anything you've ever seen before.

4 A King in Search of a New Crown

Meanwhile, the No. 1 team in the East, the Cleveland Cavaliers, has never won a championship. Prodigal son LeBron James returned to his home state last year in an attempt to change that, after temporarily fleeing for the greener pastures of Miami, where he managed to win twice with the Heat. As tends to happen, he is getting older with each passing year, so the urgency for him to bring the trophy to his home state (he's an Akron, OH, native) grows with each season. Will he finally make the city's dreams come true? And, if he does, don't you want to see it?

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5 Drake Running Through the 6 With His Raptors

Some of the stiffest competition LeBron's Cavs face in the East comes at the hands of the Toronto Raptors, who count hometown hero Drake as their biggest fan. Expect the king of the six to make many a courtside appearance during their series against the Indiana Pacers.

6 Basketball's Reigning King of Cool

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is a bona fide fashion plate who's even designed capsule collections with Barneys New York. Every pre-game arrival and post-game press conference brings a new opportunity for Westbrook to steal the show, whether it be with a Slayer T-shirt, or a designer poncho.

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7 And Those Vying For His Throne

And he's not the only one—during the last few years, players have been hiring stylists and taking their pre- and post-game outfits to new highs (and, sometimes, lows). Player arrivals and press conferences have never been so entertaining—keep an eye out for the risk-takers like Westbrook, his teammate Kevin Durant, and Miami's Dwyane Wade.

Bonus: Keep an eye out for Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs. Without question one of the best to ever play the game, the guy clearly could not care less about what he looks like when he's not in uniform. It's all about the game for him.

8 The Sweet Sounds of Atlanta

NBA teams have historically had organists hidden away in the rafters playing traditional fare over the course of the night. The Atlanta Hawks, one of the best teams in the East, have a different brand of musician at Philips Arena, and his name is Sir Foster. Perhaps the most beloved in-house entertainer in the game, Sir Foster strays from tradition, opting instead to play songs by Lil Wayne, Outkast, and Kanye West on the organ during games, regularly working the hometown crowd into a frenzy while doing so.

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9 The Most Unpredictable Player in Basketball

Famously snapped partying late-night with Rihanna the night before a big game while with the New York Knicks, J.R. Smith—now of the Cleveland Cavaliers—is the wild card you need to know. Last year, after his team lost to the Warriors in the finals, Smith was seen winding his way through the crowds on his hoverboard as he left the arena, Coors Light in hand. You never know what might happen when he's in the building.

10 The Team With an Undying Legacy of Success

The members of the San Antonio Spurs have been so good for so long, they moved sports site Bleacher Report to create a Game of Thrones-inspired meme for last year's playoffs, portraying them as the show's undying White Walkers. This is a team that has managed to win over 61 percent of their games in each of the past 19 seasons! This particular squad will likely be remembered as one of the best in sports history, and this may be your last chance to see them take the court together.

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