With the NBA conference finals raging on, it's not surprising that several Ravens players have been monitoring the 2-2 series split between the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the West and between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics in the East.
Quarterback Joe Flacco said he thinks the Spurs and Heat will advance to the NBA finals. His pick to eventually win the championship?
"The Spurs. They were obviously really, really hot, and they're playing a good team with [Oklahoma City forward] Kevin Durant," he said. "So I think if they can get by the Thunder, then I think they'll be on a roll once they get to the finals."
Inside linebacker Jameel McClain is pulling for the Heat because of his admiration for forward LeBron James.
"Spurs-Thunder? That doesn't matter to me at all," McClain said. "I'm picking Thunder just because I want the underdog. But the Heat all the way."
Ed Dickson has several motivations for his picks. As a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and their 16 NBA titles, the tight end doesn't want to see the Boston Celtics add an 18th championship to their trophy room.
"I'm a diehard Lakers fan," Dickson said. "So I don't want the Celtics to win another one. I'm a LeBron fan. I think he's a great athlete. But I'm a Kobe [Bryant] fan for life and a Laker fan for life. So I don't want the Celtics to win two more than what the Lakers have. So I'm going with the Heat."
Dickson has a personal reason for rooting for the Thunder to emerge from the Western Conference finals as he frequently tangled with guard James Harden when Dickson played for Bellflower (Calif.) High School and Harden played for Artesia High School in Lakewood, Calif.
"I played with James Harden in high school," Dickson said. "So I would say Thunder."
And Dickson's pick in the NBA finals?
"I want the Thunder," he said. "Any team that beats my Lakers, they deserve to win."