Forget coming at the King. For HE does not miss!
The day before yesterday we were about to write an article about how a superstar-less Boston beating ‘Bron may have just birth begun the next chapter of the great Celtics/Lakers rivalry in storied NBA history. One that would follow Wilt and Russell, Magic and Bird and Kobe and Kevin and center around a renewed friend or foe battle between the King and Kyrie. But then LeBron James went and scored 35 points to go with recording 15 rebounds, 9 assists and all 48 minutes and lead his Cavaliers to a 87-79 and 4-3 series win truly crowning himself as Mr. Game 7 for the ages.
As my old American friend who sends me envelopes of USA Today sports pages (thank you!) says, “I wouldn’t bet against LeBron”!
Now whether number 23 heads to Hollywood and the Lonzo Angeles Lakers for a La La LeBronland, or processes his decision and all that’s at stake in Philly this summer doesn’t matter right now. Even if it’s all we’ve been talking about all year long.
Right now its Ali/Fraizer, Cavs/Warriors IV and chance for LeBron to tie up the dynasty battle between superteam and superstar. It’s not about a Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving less, rookie and sophomore sensation Celtics continuing their legendary history with their hardest worked, most impressive streak (yet!). It’s not about MVP sure thing Harden showing he’s the new King James. It’s about L.B.J. showing the NBA and even M.J. that he’s the real G.O.A.T. The only one that could beat a big four of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson? A true Warrior.
No Irving. No Isaiah. No Love for the make or break. No problem!
Sure the Cavs have Kevin, J.R. Smith, Jeff Green, George Hill, Rodney Hood, Kyle Korver, Tristan Thompson, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson. But lets face it, this Cavalier put them, the city and the whole Ohio land on his whole back and those broad shoulders. We are all witnesses to this. But how does he do it? Is it the putting down of trivial things like social media? Zero Dark Thirty. Or the books he repeatedly reads like ‘The Godfather’? An offer you couldn’t refuse. The only thing that can touch him is more ice packs than a summer in the corner store. Like Canada’s own Tristan Thompson puts it the bruising ‘Bron is a “machine” that only needs “a change of oil”. If Mike is the Babe Ruth of this sport, then the King is Ali. And even if this is the last game James wins for Cleveland and his last year as a Cavalier, they won’t be throwing rocks at the throne or burning his robes anymore, but kneeling down in front of his banner billboard in saluting respect and throwing thanks.
At a Kareem jersey age of 33, he’s chasing all sorts of history rewriting, father-time erasing records and iconic infamy like Gillette razors wish they only could him and the best a Rick Ross can get. And at the same age this writer can’t even get a text back. You’ve seen the memes and gifs. My Vine like favourite has to be the “LeBron every year in the Finals” video to the teacher chino walking into class the same way everyday, save a changing colour in shirt.
With his eight straight NBA Finals is it any wonder we wonder if postseason King LeBron James is human? The last time he didn’t make it Kobe had just won a championship, Curry was a rookie and 78% of todays players hadn’t even suited up for their first game. Not to mention only 3 of the 19 Marvel movies in the cinematic universe had been released. And if you want to keep looking at Twitter the last time LeBron didn’t make the last dance was the last time @SirDil23 couldn’t make eye contact with women. “Here’s looking at you kid”! That’s a line from an old Humphrey Bogart movie called ‘Casablanca’ from 1942. Coincidentally also the last time LeBron James didn’t make the NBA Finals.
Now that’s beyond being a superstar. That’s some superhuman, superhero stuff to marvel at. This Black Panther king is a real NBA Iron Man, Captain America hero with Hulk weight room (don’t forget the lip sync battle) smashing strength and a stormbreaking hammer of Thor dunk. Ready to snap his fingers like Thanos and you know the rest. Ashes to dust. You don’t feel so good. It’s this Avengers universe now and even if new Rookie of the Year Jayson Tatum knockout dunked hard on James…well…all that for a drop of blood. He’s ready for war with the Warriors now. And it’s going to be a gauntlet for all the stones.
You should have gone for the head. It’s the King and he’s going to sit on his throne ’till Infinity.
Shaun Livingston Lived For His Career
“I wasn’t supposed to be here”.
Shaun Livingston wasn’t even supposed to be still playing.
But boy did he.
He almost lost his leg.
But man he didn’t.
When Shaun Livingston entered the league as the fourth pick and a wide eyed kid with youthful exuberance above the rim in Hollywood. Him and the youngest Roc L.A. Familia (remember the classic SLAM cover?) crew of Elton Brand, Lamar Odom, Darius Miles, Corey Maggette and Keyon Dooling even took some of the bright lights of downtown L.A. from Shaq and Kobe of all dynamic duos from the basements of STAPLES. Arguably the most exciting Clippers team this side of Buffalo…yeah I said it Blake, Jordan and CP3…you too Kawhi and PG-13. It was an Iverson age of cornrows and tattoos. It was the generations hood to the storied Lake Show’s Hollywood history.
But then with a death of a dynasty a bunch of young Roc’s with the rock ended up all over the place too like State Property. The future of these young guns looked bleak like Memphis. Miles went to LeBron’s Land before the King. Elton ended up setting up his Brand in Philly. Whilst Odom went cross-court and stadium with the Lakers after a brief stint of talent in Miami when he was traded back to the bright lights and Kardashian city for Shaq.
But what happened to Shaun Livingston was so much worse.
With Charlotte as a Bobcat Shaun suffered a gruesome injury so bad it almost made Gordon Hayward’s opening night one look like a sprain…almost. Lets not front for the funny that injury was so bad and his comeback story so good too ’till this playing day.
But no comeback story in this league is greater than Livingston’s, living for his career.
He almost lost his leg. Instead doctors saved it and then through the hardest of work and the most powerful perseverance Shaun saved his career…and then made it even better. And he could even still catch a few above the rim.
Number 34 ended up back in California with the Golden State Warriors via a comeback in the B.K. with the Brooklyn Nets. Out in The City of Oak Town he ended up winning three championships and going to two more finals before calling it a career yesterday and feeling “sad, fortunate and grateful” in his retirement. He was microwave more than just a super sub alongside legendary Sixth Man Finals MVP Andre Igudola (also gone this off-season with some guy name Kevin). He was an integral player to the dynasty influence that showed the Dubs were more than just the Splash Brothers of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson or Draymond and Durant. His jersey belongs up there in the new state of the art arena in San Francisco across the Golden Gate although his legend and legacy will always tram remain in the Golden State of Oakland, as the Warriors look to maybe Six Man legend Jamal Crawford to replace in joining big signing D’Angelo Russell in backing up the backcourt.
Now that’s what I call a true Warrior King.
Don’t call it a comeback unless it’s like this.
Charles Barkley’s Round Bronze Of Rebound
“I don’t think I’ve ever been that skinny!”
Trust Chuck to have the best soundbite of the night.
But after all it was his day.
Yesterday the Philadelphia 76ers unveiled a statue of Sir Charles Barkley outside their Camden practice facility. Joining the bronze likes of his legendary teammates at the time Dr. J, Julius Erving and the late great Moses Malone for one of the most storied teams in NBA history from The Answer to The Process.
“There is not a lot I can say this is just a humbling experience but it really means a great deal because I think people know what the 76ers mean to the NBA,” Barkley said of the honour to those in attendance.
Your move Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns.
But after running a power statue on Chuck to join the Legends Walk of Wilt Chamberlain, Billy Cunningham, Mo Cheeks et al at the Training Complex in Camden, New Jersey there are still spots left for the likes of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons as Bark also remarked that he believes the new Sixers with Tobias Harris and this Summer’s free agent Al Horford will win the NBA Championship next year.
Isn’t he a TNT analyst?
You can forgive him it was an emotional day.
But stranger things have happened this Summer, Philly didn’t run out of bronze for the Round Mound of Rebound and one of the greatest players, especially Power Forwards the game has ever seen is finally getting his due in-between joking around with Shaq, Kenny Smith and E.J.
“You come here as a 21-year-old kid and now 40 years later – it has been pretty amazing – and it all started here so I just want to thank the 76ers Organization and the city of Philadelphia,” the great added. As Philadelphia Sixers head coach Brett Brown agreed, “We are privileged to have you a part of our past. You are referenced often.”
We all have our favourite stories about one of Basketball’s beloved, Top 50 players of all-time who averaged 23.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.7 steals during his time in Pennsylvania. And here’s mine…I don’t even think he was playing with Philly at the times but who cares? I tell this to people often-even non Bball fans-when they need some inspiration and I reach to my grab bag of top three stories that make me smile when I’m down. The other is an exchange between Wilt Chamberlain and playground legend Earl Manigault that Don Cheadle and Kevin Garnett as the Stilt recaptured at the Rucker for the G.O.A.T. movie (look it up), and the third being the time U2’s Bono made that “everytime I clap my hands someone dies” gaff.
Anyway if you’re sitting comfortably I’ll begin…
Back in the golden era 90’s day there was a Nike commercial in a barbershop featuring then Golden State Warriors Chris Webber and Latrell Sprewell boasting about one of them dunking on Barkley (I think it was Spree…see how good I am at telling this story Philadelphia?). I don’t even think I saw a Basketball in the whole commercial…let alone so much of a sneaker. But anyway the next time Chuck came up against those two in Oakland be hit like 50 odd points or something completely dominating the duo and game. With C-Webb and Sprewell down and out, draped in towels on the bench, Barkley after being a silent assassin all game and saying nothing in reply, backpedaled back downcourt after his last shot, finally looked at the distraught two and said…
“Put that in a f###### commercial!”
I hope the Dubs athletic trainer had some Aloe Vera.
I like this Charles Barkley quote too from back in the ’92 Dream Team Olympics heyday were he defined the fun that what his life and career by saying, “we’re here for a good time. Not for a long time!”
Well now in bronze he’s going to be here forever.
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