Guest feature article from Kendrick Johnson
After coming to the podium soaked in champagne from head to toe 2013 Finals MVP LeBron James wore the look of an elated exhausted man who sits on top of the mountain.
“Last year when I was sitting up here with my first championship, I said it was the toughest thing I had ever done,” James said after the Miami Heat beat the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 for their second straight title. “This year, I tell last year he was absolutely wrong. This was the toughest championship right here, between the two.”
Unlike last year’s Finals versus the Oklahoma City Thunder which was low on drama on their way cruising to victory in 5 games. This year’s Finals saw the Heat trail the Spurs the whole series until today, while including drama of all-time high proportions as Ray Allen’s 3 pointer in Game 6 will go down as one of the most dramatic shots in NBA Finals history.
On the other side of the coin the Spurs and their leader Tim Duncan feel they gave away a very winnable series. Duncan a four-time World Champion and 3-time Finals MVP definitely had his chance to change history as he blew a point-blank, running hook shot with Shane Battier guarding him with 48 seconds left and the Heat leading 90-88 hit the back of the rim followed by a missed tip-in.
“For me,” Duncan said, “Game 7 is going to haunt me.”
While Duncan was in deep thought wondering into the clear Miami night a local legend not named LeBron was basking in the championship glory as well. This same man was so popular in 2009 the County Commissioner’s court of Dade County switched the name of the county for a month to Wade County, Florida to get him to stay in South Beach and win more titles.
You guessed it, I’m referring to Dwyane Wade who hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy for the third time in his NBA career. Wade’s 19 ppg during this year’s Finals along with standout games of 32 and 23 points in Game 4 & 7 respectively helped LeBron and the Heat get the job done. Not bad for someone who had to overcome some adversity to put in a good performance in the finals.
The 31-year-old dealt with knee issues throughout most of the postseason. After he averaged just 12.6 points per game in the second round series against the Chicago Bulls and 15.4 points per game against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals, it was questionable whether he could still elevate his game when it mattered most.
With a great performance in Game 7, the eight-time All-NBA selection finished the championship clinching game with 23 points and 10 rebounds, an impressive double-double performance for a player that many including myself had written off throughout the playoffs.
Although the Heat should feel more fortunate than good about winning this year’s Larry O’Brien trophy, in the eyes of many this season will go down as another ring for the King. As LeBron James joined a short list of guys named Bill, Magic, Michael, Shaq and Kobe as being the only men to be the franchise leader and lead their teams to back to back NBA titles.
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