Lebron vs. Curry: Is The Trophy In The Right Hands?
Sunday's are made for game 7.
I'm on the edge of my seat watching an epic game. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors trade baskets in a fourth quarter where no lead is safe. The championship trophy is guaranteed to be raised when all is set and done. The game breaks for commercial and I come to realize something: I don't even know who I am cheering for.
Being the Raptors fan that I am, it'd be easy to say that I'm cheering against LeBron and the Cavs because of the way the Eastern Conference Finals unfolded. But something about seeing Lebron James lead his hometown team to an NBA championship intrigues me.
I mean come on, the guy leaves all of Cleveland heartbroken by going to play for Miami, comes back after winning two championships, and leads his city to its first title in franchise history.
Do you want to know what else intrigues me? How about a repeat for Stephen Curry and the Warriors? Now that'd be something. At this point, Curry has already been named the league MVP for the second year in a row. To win back-to-back championships at the same time would be special.
No matter how this series ends, it'll be one for the history books. Let's start from the beginning, shall we?
"WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?"
After a Warriors 15-point win in game 1 and a 33-point win in game 2 I ask myself this question.
Obviously I wasn't bothered by it, considering the Raptors defeat was still fresh at this point. Some exciting basketball would've been cool to see. I'm no die hard basketball fan, making it hard for me to enjoy it without any excitement.
To be clear, from an outsiders perspective I'm just a hockey fan watching basketball. Luckily I played the sport for a few years in high school. I'm still knowledgeable as far as the how-to aspect of the game goes.
The knowledge I acquired was mostly by watching from the bench though. I guess watching basketball on TV isn't much different. It was easier for me to get into my high school games than it was to get into the first few games of this Finals series.
LeBron James was pleased with his overall individual effort, but was overshadowed by a full team effort from the Warriors in games 1 and 2. Stephen Curry was doing his job as well. Golden State looked unstoppable going back to Cleveland for game 3. It was clear the Cavs needed to be better as a team.
It's weird. When you have superstars like LeBron James and Stephen Curry, it's easy to forget that it takes a whole team to win. They've both done it all themselves many times before. In a championship series, a full team effort is definitely a major key to success.
There was some serious back-and-fourth going on, consisting of a couple blowouts. Again, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? Cavs win by 30, then lose badly. They blow out the Warriors again, and Golden State shoves it right back in their face. This was unlike any series I had ever seen, in any sport.
It comes down to one game.
After a whole lot of taking and receiving from both sides, the two teams find themselves tied at 3 games a piece. Instead of betting on who was going to win, I bet on what the score differential was going to be at the end of the game.
If my memory is correct, I think my prediction was Golden State by 20 points. You could say home court advantage played a major role in my decision there.
But who did I really want to win? I hate to say it, because I do cringe at some of the things he says or does. My heart was routing for LeBron James. No, not the Cleveland Cavaliers, but LeBron James. To be honest, I couldn't care less about the rest of the Cavs lineup. I just wanted LeBron to win.
There's something about him that makes you want to cheer for him. He's extremely cocky, constantly whines to the referees, puts on a show any time he can and yet I still love watching him play. My philosophy is if I genuinely want to cheer for this douche bag, then he must deserve to win.
Seriously though, who saw LeBron go down favoring his wrist with 10 seconds left!? The guy was literally rolling on the ground screaming.
I thought he was really hurt. To everyone’s surprise he's at the free-throw line a couple minutes later to score the final point of the game. How fitting.
So there I am, on the edge of my seat watching the two teams’ trade baskets in a very close game. Finally, there was some intensity involved in the 2016 NBA Finals.
One thing I love about playoffs and especially game 7s is that everything that happened beforehand doesn't mean a single thing. Forget the 30-point leads and lopsided wins, throw out all of the statistics. We've got ourselves a fucking game. And what a game it was.
It looked like a 'next basket wins' kind of game. Both teams really locked in for the fourth quarter making it extremely exciting to watch.
When Kyrie Irving dropped a 3-point shot over Curry with under a minute to go, the building went silent. I'm not sure if it went silent because the fans knew the game was over, or because Irving made the MVP Stephen Curry look like a fool. Either way, it was the Cavs making all the noise in the final minute of this game.
Curry has the ball beyond the arch with 4 seconds to go and the chance to tie the game. He goes up to attempt the contested 3-pointer and I hold my breath.
I'm pretty sure I stood up as soon as I saw Curry set up for that shot. It looked like a tough one, but that means nothing to him. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that he could very well make the shot and we could be off to overtime.
That was probably one of the most important shots of his career, and he missed. Stephen Curry missed. And it was over just like that.
The King's time to shine.
I never took into account the extent of how much LeBron deserved to win the championship until after the game was over. Seeing him on his hands and knees balling his eyes out following the win hit me emotionally. I don't think I have ever seen anyone cry so hard out of joy.
Normally, I would watch him cry on the floor and be at home suffering from major second-hand embarrassment thinking he was doing it for the cameras. I was surprised when I didn't feel that way. I didn't think it was possible, I was sympathizing with LeBron James! It made it easier for me knowing his whole team worshiped him, as well.
Once LeBron was finally able to calm himself down and stand up, he was presented the Finals MVP award. There was no question who deserved that award, after a dominating performance both in game 7 as well as the majority of the series.
There I am, sitting comfortably in my seat thinking to myself: this is something out of a storybook. LeBron could probably run for mayor after this, and he'd probably win too. He's a God in Cleveland.
LeBron came close to winning Cleveland a championship before he went to the Heat. Those previous losses made for a much sweeter victory this time around.
His post-game interview said it all. The King was at a loss for words trying to describe what bringing a championship to Cleveland meant to him. He simply belted out, "Cleveland, this is for you."
This was the most emotional championship victory I have seen with my own eyes. And what continues to baffle me is that the Finals has made me a fan of LeBron James. He now has my respect, because I love the way he carried himself throughout these playoffs, and I love how loyal he's to his city. You don't need to be from Cleveland to be able to sympathize with that.
Don't get me wrong, I've always thought LeBron was one of the best players of all time. I just didn't really like him. But this roller coaster of emotions has definitely made me a fan. Good on you LeBron James, the trophy is in the right hands in a city that was in dire need of it.