Game 7 of this year’s NBA Finals will be the game LeBron James makes or breaks his own legacy.
After two full seasons of having to read, watch and listen as the media and everyone else coronating Steph Curry as the new ‘best player in the league’, and the Warriors trampling through the entire league, LeBron James has has enough.
Last year he had an excuse. Kevin Love was out the entire playoffs and Kyrie Irving got hurt in the first game of the finals. This year, Kyrie has given him as much help as he can expect, and Kevin Love is healthy (but still almost non existent). But that means he has no excuses this year, no reason to fall back on, if he once again fails to beat the Warriors. Losing Game 7 would be a severe hit on his legacy as an all time great. Being 2 of 7 in the Finals doesn’t look good on a resume, and losing twice in a row to the man who’s bring heralded as the new top dog in the league would also be damaging to his rep.
In all fairness, LeBron has proven over the course of the last four games that he is still unquestionably a monster of a player, putting the Cavs on his shoulders and dragging them from the brink of elimination to now the most exciting game 7 we’ve had for a while. He’s proven that as an individual player, Steph Curry doesn’t come close to being able to match the things he’s capable of. In the last two games, he’s pretty much bullied Curry into finally snapping in game 6.
His numbers in these finals are staggering, and certainly would qualify among the all time greats. But all time greats win game sevens, they win championships when the pressure is on. In Game 7, LeBron had his one shot, in spite of all his other ridiculous achievements and numbers, to silence all his critics, all those who mock him for losing more finals than he’s won, those who still say he only won his titles with Wade.
If the Cavs win Game 7, it would be LeBron’s third ring, but really the first one which will come without any question marks, the one which he alone gets all credit for, the one where he dragged a team back from a deficit no other team had came back from before. If LeBron wins game 7 today, he would finally carve his face on the Mount Rushmore of basketball next to the Jordans and Magics, and finally, no one will second guess it.