BASKETBALL -- This decade began with LeBron James winning his second straight NBA MVP in 2010, and it also began his reign as the undisputed best player in the world.
After being dismissed in the third round by the Boston Celtics in 2011, James demanded the attention of the world with his hour-long special ‘The Decision’. He announced that he would be leaving his hometown Cavaliers to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat.
In Miami, he won another pair of back-to-back MVP’s paired with back-to-back Championships. They made four straight NBA Finals and dominated the Eastern Conference. Alongside Wade, he showed he could be a leader of a team off the court.
Once his contract was up in Miami he decided to come back home to Cleveland, where he promised to bring a championship to the city that hadn’t won one in over 50 years.
While King James was building his kingdom, the Golden State Warriors were changing the way we thought about basketball. Last year Stephen Curry won his first MVP and established himself as the new face of the NBA.
He became the consensus best shooter of all time while the team won a franchise record 67 games. They won the championship over a Cavs team that was missing Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.
This season the Warriors improved on their franchise best season and won an NBA record 73 games. This broke the record of 72 wins set by the Bulls fueling debates all year of who is the best team of all time.
The Warriors overcame a 3-1 series deficit against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. On the Cavs road to the Finals they lost just two games, both to the Toronto Raptors, and dominated the Eastern Conference. This further pushed the narrative that two best teams in the league were in the West and the Cavs were under matched.
Their comeback was so impressive there were many choosing the Warriors to defeat the Cavs in a quick 5 games. The Cavs lost big in the first two games and after they went down 3-1 many thought the series was over.
Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green missed Game 5 due to suspension. James and Irving led the Cavs to victory and had 41 points each, becoming the first teammates ever to do so.
LeBron followed up that performance with another 41-point performance in a Game 6 win. They were one win away from being the first team to ever emerge from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals and despite losing two games in a row, the Warriors entered Game 7 as the favorites.
With a finals record of 2-4 and history on the line for both teams this became the most important game of James’ career. The Warriors had been unbeatable all season and had not lost 3 games in a row since Steve Kerr became head coach in 2014.
In Game 7 James had another great performance, having only the third triple-double in a Game 7 in NBA Finals history. But the King had Irving to thank for his stellar shot making down the stretch that took them over the top.
The Warriors struggled to score in the final minutes allowing the Cavs to win their first NBA Championship in franchise history. After having the Warriors celebrate their championship in Cleveland in 2015, the Cavs were able to return the favor.
This title becomes the most impressive feet in James’ career. In his 13th season having the ability to raise his level of play and dethrone the defending champions is extremely impressive. Beating the best regular season team of all time after being down in the series 3-1 is not just the most impressive thing LeBron has ever done, it might be the most impressive thing any player has ever done.