In the waning moments of Game 7 — after LeBron had chased down an Andre Iguodala layup, after Stephen Curry had missed a final three pointer, and after Kyrie Irving’s back breaking shot — I sat, stunned, and watched LeBron fall to the ground, overcome with emotion.
It was a powerful vision.
The Golden State Warriors had many, many chances to end this series. They could have done it in Game 5. If not for a 22 point hole in the first quarter of Game 6, perhaps they could have ended it in Cleveland a few nights ago. And last night, after leading at the half and playing a tight, deeply fought battle, they had chance after chance to end the game. End the series. End their season. Chance after chance to stake their claim as “Best Team Ever.”
But such things were not meant to be, apparently.
I feel a strange set of emotions. It is like a cocktail, improperly mixed. Too much lime, or it’s too strong and the liquor overruns the original intent. More than anything, I feel grateful. Sure, it’s mixed with regret, confusion, anger at fans’ reactionary takes, and a thousand other things. But, more than anything, I am grateful to have witnessed history, on a variety of different fronts. None of us ever saw a 73 win team because it had never been done before. And none of us ever saw a Finals performance quite like LeBron’s.
This series and this season will be endlessly debated and analyzed. The multitude will chime in, players’ character and intentions will be over-analyzed. The Draymond Green suspension, Bogut’s injury, Iguodala’s back, Curry’s health and disappearance. It’ll all be dredged through the mud and back until we won’t even recognize the original.
But for now, I am grateful. We witnessed history last night. Yes, it wasn’t the history we had hoped for. At the end, as the final buzzer sounded, it was not the Warriors collapsing to the floor, hugging each other, and crying.
But it was history nonetheless.
I am happy for LeBron James. I am happy for the city of Cleveland and all of northeast Ohio. I am happy for all my friends who are Cavaliers fans, of which there are many. I am happy that I witnessed such an amazing basketball game.
And I’m happy that next year, the Warriors will try and reclaim their throne.
Congrats to the victors. Y’all deserved it.