Rapid Reflections On An Epic Game 7

There are so many thoughts flowing through my mind right now about this victory for the city of Cleveland, the Cavs, LeBron James and its place in history. All of the thoughts merit a blog post of their own eventually, but in the moment, here’s some reflections on an incredible sports night…

*Is this the greatest moment in sports since the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team won the gold medal? I’m not going to go there right now, at least until the moment settles a bit, but I’m not going to rule it out either. In a post prior to Sunday’s Game 7, I wrote why I considered this the biggest game in the history of the NBA. The fact the game was as good as it was only accentuates its legacy.

*Is this the greatest comeback in sports? I differentiate between individual game comebacks and series comebacks, so let’s focus on the latter. The only one comparable would be the 2004 ALCS, when the Red Sox rallied from 0-3 down to vanquish the Yankees. My gut instinct, as a Red Sox fan, is to hand over the title of The Greatest Comeback to the good people of Cleveland. But I want to wait and evaluate after the emotions of the moment have passed.

*Has there ever been anything like the raw emotion poured out by the Cavs after the game. From LeBron James dropping to his knees on the floor to Tyron Lue openly sobbing on the bench, this was the most emotional I can recall seeing any team, particularly a professional one, after a championship.

*Kyrie Irving’s money three-pointer that broke an 89-89 tie and all but won the championship. Where is this in the pantheon of great shots in NBA history? Off the top of my head, there’s Ray Allen’s three that tied Game 6 of 2013 NBA Finals and saved the Heat. There’s Michael Jordan’s shot in 1998 to secure title #6. John Paxson and Steve Kerr also hit buzzer-beaters to win titles for the Bulls. None of those took place in a Game 7.

*What about Golden State? How bad is this collapse? I’m inclined to be forgiving here. For one, I continue to be amazed at how the Warriors win as often as they do without great inside players or a LeBron-type superstar that is physically imposing. For this team to have averaged 70 regular seasons wins over two years, won one title and come within a minute of another is a testament to how well they move the basketball and play together.

*On a directly related point, what does this do to Steph Curry’s place among the greats? For those of us who think that while Curry was clearly the MVP of the last two years, LeBron remained the one player you most wanted to have, the answer is not much. For those that rushed to hand Curry the title of “best player in the world”, they’ll have to readjust their thinking.

All in all, it was a night of basketball that I’ll never forget watching and look forward to exploring more in the days ahead. For now, a big congratulations to the city of Cleveland.