History can do great things for a sports fan. Such is the case for our beloved 2006-2007 Florida Gators basketball team. At the time, we might have known the Gators were a great team, but time has strengthened that case. As Michigan State continues to qualify for Final Fours and not win titles, UNC and Kansas fail in bids for back-to-back, and Duke never beats tough teams, Florida's consecutive titles stand out.
It is not just that. Florida's lineup, plus the first few guys off the bench, were hard ass motherfuckers. Lee Humphrey, who away from the court was an academic All-American and injured his shoulder falling off a bike, was a master at nailing back breaking 3-pointers. (In the video below, he hits a 3 from Macon.) Taurean Green was a streaky shooter that came up big when needed. He could drive the ball and fed the greatest front line in Florida history. Corey Brewer looked like Stretch Armstrong, and his great defense was only matched by his speed in going from coast-to-coast off a steal and dunk. Joakim Noah transformed himself from a goofy freshman into a murderous defender who became a great shooter. Noah also kept alive the great tradition of, "The Gator Everyone Hates," that includes Steve Spurrier, Matt Walsh and Tim Tebow. Al Horford might have been the best athlete on a team of athletes. Billy Donovan nicknamed Horford, "The Godfather," for his cool, quiet but forceful demeanor. That just makes Horford's dunk and shake at 1:45 all the more awesome.
You might notice in watching the video that CBS' Jim Nantz and Billy Packer were pimping the Buckeyes the whole game. Despite Florida being the overall No. 1 seed and returned a National Championship team, Ohio St. became a media darling. But watch the video. The closest Ohio St. gets to UF is six points with 4:39 left in the game. Guess what happened next? Green hit a 3-pointer and the Buckeyes never threatened again. UF won 84-75.
In an age of parity, Florida was the last of a dying breed. Teams will be stacked like 2007 Ohio State or 2009 Kentucky, but it will be a long time before we see a team with back-to-back again. And it will be a long time before we see a team with the personality of those Gators; great players who wanted to destroy all comers.