More than a week after the NBA Finals Game 7 thriller that pulled in more than 30 million viewers (the most in 18 years); I still find myself basking in pure joy and Lebron fandom but most importantly feeling inexplicably inspired. Let me explain.
Various headlines swirled around this much-anticipated Finals rematch between “The King” Lebron James and America’s favorite golden boy Stephen Curry. And for good reason; The Golden State Warriors entered this post-season on a record breaking 73-9 regular season win streak, their franchise player was named the first ever unanimous MVP of the league and they were the heavy favorite to win back to back Larry O’Brien trophies. Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers would have something to say about that though.
In stark contrast, the Cavs had what seemed like a tumultuous season filled with ups and downs, roster changes and most notably the firing of one head coach and the hiring of another. Rumors that Kevin Love, Lebron James and Kyrie Irving weren’t exactly seeing eye to eye swirled around the team and it started to look like Lebron James may have left Miami a bit too soon.
Then something clicked.
The Cavs cruised through the Eastern Conference sweeping the Detroit Pistons, then went on to sweep the Atlanta Hawks and handled the Raptors respectfully in six games. They looked like a team that had figured it out and entered the NBA Finals having faced very little adversity. And still they were heavy underdogs against the Warriors who had just defied the odds again by coming back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in 7.
The stage was set. We just knew it was going to be blow for blow, neck and neck, wire to wire games between the Cavs and Warriors and then came Game 1. I left my favorite sports bar feeling underwhelmed; the Cavs lost to the Warriors 104-89. It only got worse; Game 2 the Cavs were annihilated 110-77. Experts were calling a sweep, at best The Warriors would dispose of the Cavs in 5. Then came Game 3 where the Cavs handed the Warriors a whooping of their own beating them by 30 pts. Still down 2-1.
Game 4. I was out having dinner with my grandmother for her birthday and the prototypical “Lebron Hater” reared his ugly head. A server at the restaurant paraded around letting all patrons know the Cavs wouldn’t win Game 4. He was right. We went down 3-1. No team had ever come back to win a Finals series after digging this type of hole. I was devastated. No exaggeration here. I began to prepare myself for our ultimate defeat to the Warriors.
Then “something” just clicked for me that next morning. We were going to win this series. I just knew it. I said “if we win Game 5, we will win this series”. Why was I so certain? The Warriors woke up a sleeping giant in Lebron James, with comments about Lebron’s” feelings being hurt” and comments in reference to James like “this is a man’s game”. The level of disrespect for Lebron’s talent and body of work was on full display during the press conference following Game 4. His heart was being questioned and there was only one way to answer and that was to win.
Over the course of the final 3 games of the series, I watched my favorite player show why he’s unquestionably the best overall player of our generation. I’ve never seen a player dominate the game on the offensive and defensive end of the floor the way Lebron does. In games 5 &6 Lebron scored 41 points to put the Cavs in position to win Game 7. He finished Game 7 with 27 points 11assists and 11 rebounds and Kyrie finished he deal with a 3 pointer from Cleveland over Steph Curry. Mission Complete.
Lebron showed me that when all the odds, experts and naysayers say you can’t, you still bet on yourself. Bet on everything you’ve given to your dream, your career, whatever that thing is for you. Bet on the fact you’ve put the work in, you’ve respected your dream/craft/career and it has no choice but to reciprocate. Adversity will come; it’s inevitable but just remember when “they” count you out, God counts you in.
Impossible is NOTHING.