On Feb. 29, numerologist Gary Grinberg, also known as "Gary the Numbers Guy" gave ThePostGame a few bold predictions. One of them was his NBA Finals forecast.
"It's going to be the Thunder and the Heat," Grinberg said. "Mark it down."
Now, this was not exactly the boldest of bold predictions. Were the Thunder and Heat two of the popular favorites at the time? Yes. Were Kevin Durant and LeBron James playing like arguably the two most talented players in the NBA? Probably. Were many NBA experts taking the Heat and Thunder to reach the finals? Sure.
Either way, while Stephen A. Smith, Magic Johnson, Tim Legler and other NBA analysts have flip-flopped their predictions throughout a wild 2012 playoffs, Grinberg has stood by his.
As evidence, moments after the Western Conference final matchup between Oklahoma City and San Antonio was set, Grinberg tweeted "Thunder will win best of 7."
To Grinberg, predicting a Heat-Thunder finals matchup early in the season was simple. Of all the contenders in each conference, Miami and Oklahoma City had the most positive energy surrounding them in 2012, based on numerology.
In February, Grinberg noticed 2012 would be a special year for the Thunder's team chemistry. On the Chinese lunar calendar, the year 2012 matches up with the Year of the Dragon. Likewise, Durant and Russell Westbrook, both born in 1988, were born in a Dragon year.
"The Year of the Dragon is beneficial to people born in the Year of the Dragon," Grinberg says. "On the Thunder, Durant and Westbrook -- they're Dragons, so this would be a big year for them."
In a numerology sense, the Year of the Dragon is not only beneficial to individuals with a Dragon zodiac symbol. It can also help friends of the Dragon.
"The Year of the Dragon is also beneficial to the Rat because the Dragon and Rat are close," Grinberg said. "Perkins and Sefolosha are Rats. That's why they have good chemistry with the Dragons. Also, snakes work well with Dragons. Harden and Ibaka are snakes. When you've got two dragons, two rats and two snakes in the Year of the Dragon, you've got perfect chemistry. The coach, Scott Brooks is also a snake."
To clarify all this, Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha were both born in 1984, a Year of the Rat. James Harden and Serge Ibaka were born in 1989 and Thunder coach Scott Brooks was born in 1965, both of which are Snake years.
"Chemistry trumps experience,” he says, explaining the Thunder's series win over the Spurs.
Another numerological issue for the Spurs' title hopes came in the form of Coach Gregg Popovich's birthday of Jan. 28. The total numerology (sum of the sum of a day’s total digits) of his birthday in the year 2012 is 7 (1+2+8+2+0+1+2=16, 1+6=7). Grinberg expressed back on Feb. 29 that 7 is a poor numerological number. He points to May's French presidential election as a form of evidence.
"The president of France, [Nicolas] Sarkozy lost the election," Grinberg says of France's former president, who also has a Jan. 28 birthday. "These guys were not capable of winning this year. Just by Coach Pop's birthday, I could tell there was no way they were going to win this year no matter how many games they won in a row."
On the other sideline of the finals, Grinberg says the Heat were helped this season by LeBron James and Chris Bosh being born in the Year of the Rat (1984). Although the two players did not receive as much energy as Durant, Westbrook and other Dragons, they still received a boost this season.
Grinberg was also intrigued by a similarity he found between LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal. It is the reason he is taking the Heat to win this season's NBA championship.
Grinberg has found the top NBA players have total numerology numbers of one or 11. Both O’Neal and James have birthdays that add up to 28 (3/6/1972 and 12/30/1984), which breaks down to a numerology number of one (2+8=10, 1+0=1).
But that is not their only similarity. O'Neal and James are both rats. O’Neal won his first championship in 2000, a Dragon Year. Twelve years later, 2012 is another Dragon Year. Grinberg sees the careers of these two great superstars lining up correctly with a James title in 2012.
"Shaquille's a rat, LeBron's a rat," he says. "Shaquille won his first title in the Year of the Dragon. LeBron's going to win his first title in the Year of the Dragon."
The Numbers Guy also noted an interesting fact about O'Neal and James' numerologies in Dragon Years. In 2000, O'Neal's birthday had a numerology of 11 (3+6+2+0+0+0=11). James birthday this year will also have a numerology of 11 (1+2+3+0+2+0+1+2=11). James should have a high level of numerological energy like O'Neal did in 2000.
With Durant and Westbrook thriving in the Year of the Dragon, the decision was not easy for Grinberg. He had to choose between the two numerological powerhouses of the league. "There’s a lot of good energy both ways," he says. "It's a difficult decision to make."
On April 20, Grinberg made another bold prediction he's sticking by: James Harden will be the X-Factor. Thus far in the playoffs, Harden has risen to stardom averaging 17.6 points per game, 4.6 points more than he averaged in last season's playoffs. Grinberg believes the answer to his outburst goes back to numerology.
While 1 and 11 are the top numerological numbers, having a numerological sum of 20 can also bring in positive energy. "The number 9 is the number of completion," he says. "Everything that forms into life, like babies, takes nine months. When you add 9 to 11, you get 20."
James Harden's last birthday was on Aug. 26, 2011 (8+2+6+2+0+1+1=20). Therefore, Harden is still in a "20" year cycle and has positive numerological energy around him.
"If someone's going to prove me wrong, it's going to be James Harden," Grinberg says. "Durant's going to do his thing, Westbrook's going to do his thing, but if someone's going to win this series for them, it's going to be James Harden."
Likewise, Grinberg believes Udonis Haslem (birthday: June 9) and Mario Chalmers (birthday: May 19), who are also in their “20” cycles, will be the X-factors for the Heat. If these role players embrace their numerological energy, Grinberg expects them to sway the series.
For Thunder fans who may be frustrated with some of Grinberg's numerology, there is hope. The numerological future is bright for Oklahoma City. "Miami has a good chance to repeat in 2013, but in 2014, this current roster, this team's done," he says. "They'll have a lot of bad chemistry, especially LeBron and Bosh, in 2014, the Year of the Horse. Durant will have more titles than LeBron by the time they retire."
While Grinberg believes the Heat may be the NBA's best in 2012 and 2013, Grinberg believes Kevin Durant is poised to be a winner based on numerology. "Dragons have a killer instinct," he says. "They're also silent leaders. Only dragons can lead at such a young age. Look at who else is a dragon: Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. They're not causing trouble off the court. They lead by example. They'll get in your face if they have to, but they’ve got the most leadership qualities of anyone."
Durant is not the only superstar dragon in the NBA today. Grinberg can offer some good news for Windy City fans: "Dragons have bodies built to last. Look how fast Garnett and Duncan have recovered from injury. Derrick Rose is a dragon. He'll recover from his injury quickly."
In numerology/astrology, dragons are the toughest individuals, and picking against Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook was a difficult call for Grinberg. After looking at all of the numerology in the series, the Numbers Guy felt he had to take the Heat. On paper, the man who predicted the finals and Dwight Howard's injury correctly is taking Miami in six.
But the Cleveland native would not mind being proven wrong.
"I wouldn't be 100 percent mad at myself if the Thunder won because I’m no fan of LeBron James, being from Cleveland," he says. "But he’s going to win it this year. What can you do?"