We are all witnesses!
How do you come back from a 3-1 National Basketball Association (NBA) finals deficit? How do you beat a Golden State team that is arguably one of the best ever, three times on the trot? How do you win a tied Game seven, on the road, with just two minutes left to play?
I, like million others, haven’t been able to stop thinking about that block ever since I saw it. But it’s not just the memory of this particular defensive play that I am finding hard to shake-off, the player that miraculously pulled it off is mainly the one that refuses to leave my head!
LeBron James – ‘The Man’ and now a ‘Living Legend’.
LeBron seemingly appeared out of thin air to pin the ball against the backboard. It’s the kind of play that only King James could make.
On Sunday, following what is now forever destined to be known as ‘The Block’, LeBron James delivered on a promise from two years ago to bring a championship to his native northeast Ohio by leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA championship.
He took his hometown team to a 93-89 victory over the defending champion Golden State Warriors in Game seven of the NBA finals, ending Cleveland’s major sports title drought stretching back to 1964 by clinching the series 4-3.
In perhaps the biggest game of his career, LeBron James had the game of his life!
The King was named Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) after scoring 27 points, 11 rebounds and dishing out 11 assists during match seven.
— NBA (@NBA) June 20, 2016
.@KingJames led all Finals players in:
First player in any series to do so. pic.twitter.com/1LGiW4PINB
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) June 20, 2016
LeBron guzzled down rebounds like each was his last. He whipped passes from mind-boggling angles to assist his teammates for easy baskets and he scored.
After the final buzzer sounded, LeBron fell to his knees, sobbing in the middle of the court, surrounded by his teammates.
Even if those without any discernible Cleveland connection found themselves feeling all warm and fuzzy when they watched King James drop to the floor weeping with joy, it might have been because the arc of his endlessly scrutinised career resembles The Parable of the Prodigal Son, and this was its climax and a happy one at that.
The hero rebuffs the comfort he knows and leaves his abode believing adventure will provide him with both spiritual and financial fulfilment. He gains knowledge, but comes to realise something is missing. He stumbles back home, appreciating the key to happiness was right under his nose all along.
LeBron grew up near Cleveland. Pretty early in his Cavs career, a Nike billboard in the downtown area, declared, “We Are All Witnesses” and his incredible potential and opportunity to write a storybook ending with his native team left him feeling pressured and stifled.
In 2010, James moved to Miami, trailed by burning Jerseys and fuming Cavalier fans. He subsequently won two back-to-back titles with the Heat.
“Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today,” James recalled his time in Miami upon his return to Cleveland in 2014, confirming how vital this particular part was to his life narrative.
But James added that simply returning did not end the tale.
“What’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio,” he said.
This weekend he made good on that pledge!
It is one thing to win with a band of superstars in a chic city, but to do it with grinders in your, terminally unfashionable hometown, is a totally different ball game.
For someone to find his true calling, so enthrallingly, in such triumph, is truly magical. While for the rest of us, it is no small joy to be able to say that …
We were all witnesses!
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