Two minutes left in the fourth quarter of the 2016 NBA Finals. The score was tied at 89 between the defending champs Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers drove to the basket, only to air ball a floater. Grabbing the rebound was Andre Iguodala who proceeded to sprint to the other end of the court, where he thought he would have an easy lay up for two. An easy lay up that would take the lead for the team and seize momentum. Six seconds later, we would witness one of the most incredible plays by an athlete. It would be LeBron James, bolting to the other end and soaring through the air to block Iguodala’s layup. The block, that altered the momentum of the game, still haunts the minds of Warriors fans and leaves fans in awe even two months after it is happened.
Two months ago, June 19th to be exact. Two months ago this play happened and I still sit in awe like I did while witnessing it. The incredible block, to me, still stands as one of the most unbelievable displays of athletic ability I’ve ever seen. In the fourth quarter, of a game 7, with two minutes left, with every ounce of energy and determination, LeBron James pulled off the block. The block that saved the game, altered the momentum of the game, even altered his career. Hypothetically, say LeBron doesn’t pull off the block. What happens? The Warriors then take the lead and the momentum? The Warriors are so jacked up, they defend the Kyrie three-pointer so well he doesn’t make it? Then what happens? Do the Warriors go on to win a second straight? The block by LeBron represented so much after it happened, but it also represents so much if it doesn’t. In sports, we get so many “what if’s” and I think with this block, we don’t give enough credit to what it really exemplifies. Everything LeBron had done throughout his career came down to that block, that moment. It represented everything he had gone through and stood for. To witness such an incredible maneuver was humbling and exhilarating; and I’m not even a Cleveland fan.
Cleveland. The blue collar city, that hasn’t had a championship before this since 1964, can finally exhale. Cleveland, the city whose life flashed before its very own eyes before the block. Has one play ever meant more to a city? All of the grueling pain, punishment that Cleveland sport fans had gone through over the years simply wiped away. To the city of Cleveland, the block was more than a block. It was a symbol of their resilience and determination to win. It’s a block that now makes the fans forget about “The Shot,” “The Drive,” “The Decision,” and “The Fumble”. The block symbolizes everything the city of Cleveland embodies – Heart.
There have been so many miraculous moments in sports history. So many come to mind when thinking about the best of the best. Why shouldn’t the block stand out amongst the company? Given the moment, the situation, what was at risk and what was to gain, the fact that LeBron James was able to summon the will to accomplish “The Block” was astounding. The athletic capability, stamina, and will to do something so dramatic and thrilling at the time was so remarkable, words can’t describe my reaction. Talk about capturing the moment. For me, in the moment, my mind was racing with all these thoughts; but I was in such wonder I couldn’t express them. I honestly couldn’t believe what I had seen. The unexpectedness of the whole action was enough to leave me in shock. To be able to muster up the strength, and endurance to pull off such a feat was rare in itself. The way the block was made, and the force of how it was made, displays everything LeBron has done. To sprint ninety-four feet, at that speed during that time of the game, to pull off that block, was breathtaking. It represents the culmination of everything LeBron has worked for and embodied over his career. For thirteen years since the day he was drafted, since the day he was declared “The Chosen One,” we had been bearing witness; witness to the greatness. After this past June, we can all finally say we are witnesses; witnesses of greatness.