By the time you read this, game 3 of the Eastern Conference championships will probably have been played. It might even be over. The Lakers might be the NBA champions. But this playoff season for the NBA will be known for one shot: The 3-pointer LeBron James hit in game 2 in Cleveland against the Magic.
One second on the clock, down by two, the Cavs get the ball at half court after a timeout. You know, I know, heck, everybody knows that LeBron will get the ball. Hedo Turkolu is guarding him, and not doing a bad job. LeBron gets the ball outside of the arc at the top of the key, and with one motion, lands on two feet, jumps and fires a three pointer that rattles in after the buzzer goes off.
That’s the stuff that legends are made of.
LeBron says it’s his best shot “ever.” In fact, he had a pretty good week shooting the ball. Underhanded from half court, from behind the basket, from a sitting position from the mid-court stripe from all over the place. Maybe we’re supposed to expect him to make this kind of stuff. It’s been called “Jordan-esque” but it was even better than that.
There was no push off, no controversy, nothing but solid basketball and a great play on top of it. You can say they didn’t deny LeBron the ball well enough. That the guy guarding the inbounds pass didn’t adjust. But it wouldn’t have mattered. Great players find a way to be where the ball is, regardless.
Shooting it was a natural act, making it might have involved a little luck, but it’s more like a supernatural skill level. How many guys in the NBA make that shot? Maybe a handful. How many get open to receive the pass? Maybe a handful. And how many can have the athletic ability to get to the ball and get the shot off. Fewer than that. So if you do the math, there are only two or three guys in the league, and these are the best players in the world, who can get open, get the shot off and make it. LeBron is obviously one of them, but this had a more surreal feel to it. Like it was predestined.
As I’ve said many times LeBron is one of the two things (people, whatever) that have exceeded the hype. The other is Tiger Woods.
I knew LeBron would be good coming out of High School. He was of course a man-child at that stage and I thought “once he gets with real men in the game he’ll have to really step it up. Maybe he did, or maybe he just was always that good but he is everything he was advertised to be and more. I’ve made the trip to Orlando a couple of dozen times in the last few years to see different players, including Dwight Howard. Howard is worth the price of admission himself but James is on a whole other level. He’s worth twice the price. I mean he really is otherworldly.
If you get a chance to see him in person, it’s pretty amazing. Not just as a player, but just standing there. He looks like he should be carved on the front of some pharaoh’s tomb. Anyway, legendary doesn’t begin to describe how big that shot was the other night. Like Charles Barkley said on Friday, I can’t wait for the rest of the series.