It’s often said, “It is the moments which makes a legend”. But I think, it is the legends, who leap forward in owning up the moment. Trailing from 3-1 to take on the podium as champions doesn’t happen frequently. It’s not just the Cleveland fans, but across the world for all the basketball lovers, it’s time to sink in the feeling and celebrate the victory of Cavaliers for many reasons.
Firstly, they are the first team in NBA history to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win a championship. Secondly, to attain that victory against a team, which had stamped their authority with a record 73 victories in this season, is no small feat. And lastly for the man himself – How can a team featuring the greatest basketball player in history, be flanked off by the elite trophy for one more time?
The Warriors ~ Lifted the game
It was a big game night, obviously stretching into Game 7 with results tied at 3-3. The home crowd stood up and rooted for their team from the opening minutes. It was a high-pressure game and it remained the same till the last few seconds. The result of the game was completely attributed to Curry and James and who would emerge as the better of the other. Curry, ended up with 17 points but shot just 6 of 19 from the field, whereas James poured in 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to punctuate one of the phenomenal performances in the history of the NBA finals.
After the Golden State completed a triumphant comeback in the last season, this season certainly looked to be going in their way too. An undaunted performance from the Golden State Warriors took the game to a new level in the last two seasons. While on one side, the club was setting records for the highest number of wins in a season, on the other side Stephen Curry was elevating his game to unprecedented heights. He came back from injury threats to put the scare of the star-studded Oklahoma City Thunder to rest in the western conference finals. While the man revered as the ‘revolution’ would have seen it as a walk in the park, esp. after the lead in the series final, Game 7 ended up being a forgetful night for him as he brought his below par game to exhibition. “It will haunt me for a while,” Curry said, “because it means a lot to me to try to lead my team and do what I need to do on the court and the big stages. Done it before. Didn’t do it tonight”.
Had they went past the final hurdle, what an impeccable journey it would have been for the warriors? They would have easily emerged as the best team in the history. But for the warriors, a team that was built around the 3-point line, it was an off night, as they missed all three 3-pointers in the last four minutes of the game. They played with an infectious jubilation, watching which, would leave you ending up cheering for the team unanimously. They had two magical seasons, one of which would go on to haunt them for long, for not just crossing the line when it mattered the most.
If history was expected to be rewritten, then all it demanded was a series of stunning performances from King James himself. It would be too selfish to call it all, a one man show, especially after Kyrie Irving’s three pointer with 53 seconds remaining to give the Cavaliers hope for an unlikely title. A shot that would go down into books easily as one of the biggest shots in the NBA history. But at the same time not to forget that, one man single handedly saw his team through the finishing line with a series of thunderous dunks, blocked shots and fade-away jumpers. Not even the last time finals MVP – Stephen Curry could do much to stop King James’s march towards victory. The splash brothers (Curry & Thompson) were seen as a force in reckoning, simply unstoppable, but there was one man who refused to be dethroned. James fought like an ultimate warrior, a one-man army against a formidable opposition to lift the coveted trophy.
For me, it was just James’s brilliance. How the man stood up to the moment when it mattered the most! He finished as the MVP in 2015-16 season finals, breaking down on the court after the victory and openly weeping. Now the champion can take more pride on his shoulders, as his promise to bring a title to the city where he was drafted 13 years ago lies fulfilled. “I came back for a reason, I came back to bring a championship to our city. I’m coming home with what I said, I was going to do” James said, wearing a tee which read ‘the ultimate warrior’. This is the stuff of legend, ain’t it? To promise is something, but to keep up the word, albeit an improbable one is just legendary.
The end of championship less streak couldn’t have been more satisfying for the Cleveland fans. James carried the torch all by himself, with the help of Irving and Love to completely overshadow the warriors in controlling the game like no one else does in the NBA. It was an unfathomable comeback by the Cavaliers to lift the trophy. And the man finally has a feel-good narrative of his script with this victory completely owing it to the people of the city. Regardless of a plodding performance in the finals from the little man Curry, the fans would always relate to him as a uniquely gifted superstar.
The man of the moment Lebron James needs to be acknowledged as the greatest player of this era. Athletes like him, through their hard work, discipline and teamwork inspire the community around them and instill the passion for dreams. James has proven too hot even for the best team in the season that was of no match to the best player on earth. Since Kobe Bryant has faded into the oblivion after his retirement, it is time for us to celebrate and rejoice the moments of LeBron James. It would be a sin not to mention that terrific block of James when Curry tried a lay-up, perhaps roaring in his mind, “I own the rim”.