The talking heads have begun their banter. The fans have swarmed the message boards and social media. The teams have stated their claims for how much this series means to them.
Get your popcorn and beer…
The NBA Finals tip off tonight as the defending champs, Golden State Warriors take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rematch of last year’s showdown.
After setting a remarkably high bar last season with 67 wins, the Warriors decided they would go ahead and win 73 games this year breaking the record for regular season wins. Stephen Curry decided to break the three point record he set last year and become the league’s first ever unanimous MVP. Steve Kerr is chasing for his second championship in his second year as a head coach. Pretty remarkable stuff.
Meanwhile in Cleveland, the Cavs have really found their mojo after experiencing some growing pains last year in LeBron’s homecoming. LeBron put up a legendary finals performance last year averaging 38 points, 13 rebounds and nearly 9 assists per game, despite the team being outmatched by Golden State.
Both teams are heading into the 2016 NBA Finals locked and loaded. We have the two most popular and best players in the game facing off again.
As an NBA fan, what more can you want?
Naturally in the build up to the game, we get the pleasure of hearing all the talking heads discussing the legacies of both LeBron and Curry and how the outcome impacts them.
Let’s start with LeBron.
He is the most polarizing athlete on this planet, period. I read something the other day that a Harris Poll surveyed 2,200 adults asking them who their favorite and most hated athlete was. Guess who was on top of both lists?
You guessed it, LeBron James.
Upon entering the NBA out of St. Vincent St. Mary High School in 2003, he was dubbed “The Chosen One.” People were comparing him to Michael Jordan and rightfully so. Have you watched his high school games? They’re pretty amazing.
In his NBA debut, LeBron dropped 25 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds for goodness sake. He was always destined for greatness. Because of him choosing the number 23 and garnering the comparison to Jordan, there has always been a target on his back.
By 2005, Cleveland became a top team in the Eastern Conference. In the 2006-2007 season, LeBron helped lead Cleveland to the finals and they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. Let’s remember something, he made it to the finals with a team that featured Larry Hughes and Boobie Gibson as the second and third options.
In 2010, he took his talents to South Beach, which made him the biggest heel in the NBA. After winning 61 games in his final year with Cleveland, it took Cleveland three years to win 64 games.
Since leaving for Miami, LeBron has not missed a finals since. This will make his sixth straight finals appearance. In 13 years, he is currently 2-4 in the finals so many call him a choke artist or say he is not mentally tough enough (Jordan standard).
Aside from the meltdown in Dallas his first year in Miami, he has had some fantastic performances when the stage is brightest. His best coming last year in his first year back in Cleveland.
Win or lose this finals, he has been there six times in a row. SIX! Every team he is on is elevated by him being on the court. You know how many games the Bulls won after Jordan left? 55 because he had guys like Scottie Pippen in his supporting cast. Know why LeBron has made so many finals these last few years? A solid supporting cast.
Despite what the idiotic fans (anyone who watches first take or the “how many rings” guy) believe, this is a TEAM sport and you are only as good as your weakest link.
In 13 years, he has made 7 finals. Regardless of what happens, even if he were to go out winning the next 6 years, you would still have many people saying he had to join his buddies to do it.
Stats aside, he elevates guys like Mario Chalmers, Matthew Dellavedova, Boobie Gibson, Mo Williams and Delonte West to outplay their potential because he is the ultimate TEAM guy. Isn’t that what you want in a player? Someone who makes the team better.
LeBron is a 6’8 250 pound monster with unprecedented speed for his size. He can guard a point guard. He can guard a center. He is a fantastic ball handler who can see the floor like a point guard. He can score at will and take over games. He can block shots. He can rebound. Pound for pound he is the best pure talent I have ever seen.
LeBron’s legacy is written as far as I am concerned. He has done more than enough in 13 years to justify how great he is. He is on the Mount Rushmore of basketball next to Jordan, Bird and Magic.
Meanwhile, the Warriors are a young and hungry team who just won 73 games so a championship needs to follow. Curry is undersized at 6’2 180 pounds soaking wet and is just entering his prime. He played at Davidson and was never expected to be a superstar. The former players and current players laugh at him for being the first unanimous MVP (by the way when has the award ever been given to the most “valuable” player anyway, shut up stupid). Russell Westbrook laughed at his defense before getting trounced. I hear people say he would never last in the 90s. Cool bro, this isn’t the 90s. So take your slap on bracelet, dunkaroos and finger skateboard and sit in the corner because I am tired of your shit.
This answer is obvious: Curry duh.
Prediction: Cavs in 7