The King’s Crowning Moment


BN-OO049_NBAFIN_P_20160619230720I said it on Twitter and I’ll say it again, that was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in sports.  Right up there with the 2004 Red Sox.  Whether you love or hate basketball, that was one of the greatest games ever in any sport.  This write up likely will be awful, but I feel like I have to write something about it.


I won’t lie, I had a dog in this hunt.


I’ve been so freaking sick of the media’s love affair with Steph Curry and the Warriors.  I get it, but it’s just like anything else in the media, they have to take it to extreme level’s in which it becomes nauseating at times.  It’s a team that has found a glitch in the rules of the NBA’s game today and expose it.  Good on them I guess, but it has a cheap feel to it.  In the 70’s this team would be just another team because for the first 33 years of the league, there was no 3 point shot.  Fun to watch, no doubt.  But a flawed team.  A 73 win team shouldn’t be nearly this flawed.


Meanwhile, we have one of the top 5 NBA players of all time in his prime, and people just look to constantly pile on.  Add to that, the Cleveland drought of over 50 years without a championship in any sport.  So, hell yeah I was pulling for Cleveland to win it all.


Have you ever seen a championship ever mean more to a guy?  That moment Lebron got the Larry O’Brien trophy was awesome.  He went back to Cleveland to do that, and yes they were able to build a powerhouse instantly, but it was still a struggle.  And it looked as though it might not happened after the Warriors came out of nowhere and became of the top teams in NBA history.  67 wins and a championship last year.  73 wins and up 3-1 in the finals this year.  The talk through the first 4 games of the series was how were the Cavs going to fix it and compete with the Warriors?  Maybe James made a big mistake going back to Cleveland?  Maybe the organization just doesn’t know how to surround him with the talent he needs.


Yet they figured it out.  James took over this series.  First time ever a player ever produced back to back 40+ point games in finals history.  Miken didn’t do that, Wilt didn’t do that, Kareem didn’t do that, Magic didn’t do that, Bird didn’t do that, Jordan didn’t do that, Shaq didn’t do that, Duncan didn’t do that, Kobe didn’t do that.  Game 7 felt like an off night for Lebron.  He had a triple double.  27, 11 and 11.  And seriously, that felt like an off night!  He led every single player in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.  EVERY SINGLE PLAYER.  That may never be done again.


For a sports culture that craves signature moments, had Lebron been able to finish that dunk with 11 seconds left, that would have been the ultimate cap to it all.  But, he still had one.  That block on Andre Iguodala with 1:51 remaining was as clutch of a play as you’ll ever see.  Warriors get that bucket, they’re up 2 and that crowd would be going nuts.  The Warriors maybe more than any other team feed off their crowd.  And James saved the day.  That’ll go down as perhaps his signature moment, but it won’t be the signature moment of the series.

Lebron block
James blocks Iguodala’s layup with under 2:00 to play.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that when Lebron started to take over the series, Steph folded.  I have no idea if this was the case, but it felt like Steph’s focus was on Lebron and topping Lebron instead of the Warriors beating the Cavs.  The block late in game 6 will be the signature moment of the series, but why was Curry in Lebron’s face after the block last night?  It was pretty clear, Steph was getting rattled.  And even after a pretty good start, as the game got tighter, he got worse.  Late in the 4th quarter he was the worst player on the floor.


I wonder how much different the media will now look at the Warriors.  Because they’re still going to be among the NBA’s elite, they easily could win again next season, but I wonder how much of the accolades will now go to Klay Thompson and Draymond Green?  Because they’re the best players on this team.  Curry is the top scorer and best shooter, but Thompson and Green are great at both ends of the floor.  It’s an amazing big 3, along with one of the best benches in NBA history.  It’s not all about Steph as so many have made it out to be, not even close.


And I can’t get over how similar was this to what the Red Sox did in 04.  The drought, the longest of odds after going down in the series (3-0 for Boston, 3-1 in the finals for Cleveland, neither had ever been done), facing powerhouse teams and having to win two games on the road to win it.  Two of the greatest comebacks I’ve ever seen and I’m sure anyone has ever seen.


But as amazing as that story is, and as amazing as it is for Cleveland to FINALLY win a championship, this is about Lebron.  Because without Lebron, this Cavs team wouldn’t have got out of the 1st round.  I know people still have a big issue with “the decision”.  They have an issue with anointing himself “the King”.  They think he cries too much, they think he’s soft, on and on and on.  Is he Jordan?  No, and he never will be.  He’s Lebron, and Lebron is one of the greatest NBA players of all time.  He began writing this story back in July of 2014 is now complete.  He went home, and he brought a broken city their first championship in 52 years.


Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

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