The King’s greatest move this year wasn’t when he headed to Hollywood to become the latest in a line of legendary Los Angeles Lakers like Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant to look to the rafters he one day hopes to put a banner. Up there with his jersey that belongs in NBA storied purple and gold lineage.
It wasn’t one of number 23’s countless signature moves. Were built like a linebacker he runs the entire hardwood like a classic quarterback, through the defence like butter left out the fridge overnight. Before Run DMC ‘You Be Illin’ touching down with a Statue Of Liberty, hammer of “BRING ME THANOS” dunk.
It’s not even when the league’s former villifed monarch turned hero for life changed the game again by the royal decree of the click of his fingers.
And no we aren’t talking about when the greatest player of all-time not named Mike signed on the Tinseltown dotted line for the ‘Space Jam’ sequel too.
No the monster move of LeBron James this year and because everything moves through him the best moment of hoops history this calendar didn’t even belong on court. Although you can bet this place has a fair few. The last time LeBron left his Cleveland, Ohio franchise with televised decisions for South Beach he really felt the heat and not even in Miami. He left in a fire and brimstone of scorched Cavalier jerseys and rocks being thrown at his billboard throne.
But not this time.
This time after making good on his promise to return home and win a ring for The Land, the lord of the Kings stood quiet as he left for the bright lights of a Hollywood Lakerland kingdom that had turned into a Lonzo Angeles Lakers, big balling reality show thanks to LaVar. Worse than when Lamar married a Kardashian (stay up legend. No one did it like the magic of playing every spot before positionless basketball like Odom). LeBron was mum for a few days like visiting his folks for the holidays. This was because he was still in Ohio leaving his home with a parting gift much more touching then a full page spread in the Cleveland Plain Dealer which is still a big deal.
Truly pledging to the place he called his own and showing us that basketball is more than a game. James didn’t shut up and dribble. LeBron kept quiet and built a school. Flexing that mental muscle. When fellow Laker legends like Kobe were winning NBA first Oscars and starting production companies from the Granity up. Or adding to their storied history books, chapter and verse by writing Sherlock Holmes novels like Kareem. LeBron James was ensuring the future of underprivileged children from an elementary level.
A passion project not a “look at me” vanity one the King’s vision took a ‘Mamba Mentality’ to the classroom (we’re sure that essential text will rightfully end up part of the curriculum). Ensuring kids without that chance previously got one. Giving the school more activities, opportunities, ways to deal with stress and poverty, food banks and job placements for parents struggling.
What school does that?
Touch hardwood. I don’t want to tempt fate. But I can’t remember the last time LeBron James missed one game of the 82 season. But as a kid because his parents didn’t have a car, young LeBron missed a critical 83 days of school. It’s almost prophetic. But that all ended when the King loved his bicycle like Queen. And now number 23 is giving out two wheels like Oprah to every kid in attendance.
And you though the viral video of him coaching his son on the sidelines positively after a losing game that’s been making the timeline rounds this week was heart warming.
And of course the only one that had something negative to say about this was (no not Chuck) Donald Trump. We won’t even give his twit tweets the light of day here like everyone else who should turn their back to this child demanding our attention. But we will say this how many schools has the Donald opened? Or if he wants to get petty how many young lives has LeBron James destroyed?
Even the First Lady Melania Trump backed up the King, saying she likes LeBron James and all he does (can you imagine the Trump family dinner that night?). Which really says it all.
So in the best Basketball moment of the year, Christmas came early this summer for the kids of Akron, Ohio.
And by the end of his term you know the King is just getting started.
The Warriors Came Out To Play This Series
Even without the fantasy Basketball of Kevin Durant in this series, the Golden State Warriors still brought out the brooms like ‘Fantasia’.
And swept out of Game 4 like Thanos click finger dust, the Portland Trailblazers may have only lost by a bucket (119-117)…and in overtime at that. But with all the Splash they had to contend with this series from brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, they were left dealing with more leaks and holes in all of their own ones like Mickey Mouse in said Disney epic.
This was meant to be the showdown between Dell Curry’s boys Steph and Seth which divided a household. And although the youngest gun stepped up to the plate, swung big in this carnival and knocked them down, big brother was always watching.
Steph Curry averaged over 36 points a game this series. Just read that again. 36 points. Right now we don’t need to talk about Kevin.
The Warriors are a dynasty for the ages even without their best player (although this writer thinks he wasn’t missing this entire series). The first team to make it to five straight finals since the Boston Celtics. The 1960’s Bill Russell Celtics. That’s King James crowning legendary. And Steph Curry with the shot and that facet of the game is just as iconic and dominant as a Bill block.
Give some credit to a blazing Portland side who never gave up despite the box score. They can hold their heads in the PDX. Even in their Moda Center home-stand City Of Roses end in RIP City. Their season eulogy should read as a celebration and commiseration, not a trolling condescension from critically entitled fans who have done nothing to determine the outcome of these games and could never make it this far in their wildest memes. They call themselves “influencers”? Well no one’s going to remember them in 50 years.
The NBA will remember one of their Top 100 greatest of all-time in a half century though. As after hitting the biggest buzzer beater in playoff history against Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, Damian Lillard played through the pain of separated ribs this series and still made the Basketball God’s look down from the hoop heavens with praise. Like New York singer St. Vincent tweeted, “Damian Lillard is my hero”. Even his backcourt brother of splash CJ McCollum in the only small man set up to rival Curry and Klay came out to play against the Warriors after midrange mining the Nuggets into submission in Denver just over a week ago.
But Curry’s red hot triple double, starter, mains and dessert dish of 37, 13 and 11, to go along with a playing not crying, Draymond Green’s day of 18, 14 and 11 assists also was just too much in the clutch. As Stephen and Dray became the first teammates in NBA history to have a triple double in the same playoff game. Forget how much this team can unbelievably keep winning, how does this ball manage to get shared this much?
Well that just may be the secret of success?
The real test is dubbed next however in the Warriors last season in Golden State before they move across that Golden bridge to the Silicon Valley of a digital age in San Francisco. They will play the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks (probably…Giannis…MVP. Sorry Toronto but come on!) and Raptors series. But by then they should have some guy called Kevin back.
I mean come on. This has been getting crazy. This is just out of hand like said ball in Splash City.
Now Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics’ record of eight straight finals and wins doesn’t look far out of reach for Steph Curry and the player and team with the biggest range in the association over the gate of the Pacific.
Welcome to the Toronto Raptors’ Jurassic Park
“In Jurassic Park, Raptor fans wait until after dark. Even if the cold might eat them!”
Fans find a way.
An ace serve or two away from being as legendary as Wimbledon’s ‘Murray Mound’ or ‘Henman Hill’ outside the Scotiabank Arena, the Toronto Raptors Maple Leaf Square’s “Jurassic Park” may just be the ticket for this sold out crowd.
Raptor Klaw, Kawhi Leonard ruled the earth last night. He and the T-Dot at the final tick beat the Sixers in The Six, as his shot bobbled like a beach ball on the surface of a swimming pool before making the biggest splash of these postseason playoffs. Taking longer to fall than Leonardo DiCaprio’s spinning top in ‘Inception’. But this was no dream.
And if you thought the Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto erupted last night, then outside in Maple Leaf Square it was like the volcanoes that killed the dinosaurs after that big ball dropped. An Armageddon even Bruce Willis couldn’t save like he wish he could his career.
Welcome to Jurassic World.
With all due respect to the Linsanity of Jeremy Lin, or pick your poison whoever is your flash card pick of the bench mob pack, but the Jurassic Park crowd fenced in outside of Scotia is the teams spiritual sixth man, spark plug. As electric as the paddock like perimeter fence surrounding them feels with this buzz over basketball (and national sport hockey come Leaf picking season), this crowd can’t be contained.
Forget rain or shine. You see the slickers. These faithful fans will pitch a spot waiting for game time like the ball to drop in Times Square for New Year in New York, sleeping bag lining up all day in their hordes huddled for warmth. These beautiful fans will brave the harshest, most frigid temperatures to be the coldest fans in the game in more ways than one. Part of the ‘We The North’ community in the 6 that the Basketball God’s look down on with pride, whilst other armchair fans watch this game for the throne from home. Or leave early like those suit and tie corporate seats trying to catch that last red eye Matt Bonner home.
Can you imagine of they called game early before Kawhi last night?
I could imagine Drake taking in the CN Tower looking up views of the Jurassic though, like it was all the basketball God’s plan.
Well those in the park for recreation stayed until the beautiful end to a game Butler almost delivered bitter. And you could could phantom cam see every emotion in slow motion last night as Leonard’s buzzer beating ball toyed with the rim like three dots on messenger, or Damien Lillard even further downtown in Oklahoma City.
This is the spirit of the stadium and the soul of the squad, expanding the capacity arena and the Canadian ballclubs worldwide fanbase watching on their own Jumbotrons.
And the Toronto Raptors are going to need all the north they can get if they’re going to stop the Bucks in Milwaukee.
But this club has the claws to do it. And if you don’t think they can win in Wisconsin on their own road to being the first franchise outside of the United States to be NBA finalists and who knows what next against the Warriors(?), then just watch this Canadian cornerstone from the Jurassic era.
Extinct in six? Nah! Get ready to hear the North roar.