LeBron James' "The Block" turns 3, and it's as spectacular as ever
If you're a Golden State Warriors fan, you might not want to read on. Then again, if you're a Golden State Warriors fan, you should be able to handle it. Yeah, yeah, your team just lost the NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors and its dynasty is dead, but the Warriors still won three of the past five NBA titles and I root for the Knicks, so screw you.
Anyway, Wednesday happens to be the three-year anniversary of the only other time in the past five years the Warriors lost. Of course, that means it's the three-year anniversary of the Cleveland Cavaliers coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the series against a 73-win team with a dramatic Game 7 victory in Oracle Arena (RIP). A dramatic Game 7 that included the greatest defensive play in NBA history.
"The Block" needs little explanation. LeBron James chased down Andre Iguodala and pinned what looked to be an easy layup on the backboard with 1:50 left to keep the game tied. But to avoid committing a foul or a goaltend while running and jumping at full speed might be the single greatest athletic moment for one of the all-time great athletes. Combined with ABC/ESPN's Mike Breen's call, it might also be the most rewatchable highlight in sports highlight. Again, unless you're a Warriors fan.
The play. The call. The crowd's stunned reaction. What an incredible moment.
"I always feel the most exciting play in a game is a blocked shot like that," Breen told ESPN in an oral history of The Block (Yes, there's an oral history of The Block). "I know the 3-pointer is great or a pass inside and the slam dunk is wonderful, but I think to call, there's nothing more exciting to call than a blocked shot. Especially when it is out of nowhere."
Even The King himself couldn't believe it.
"I don't know man," LeBron said after. "I don't know how I got there, but I'm grateful that I did."
And we're grateful the refs (rightly) didn't blow their whistles. A video review of that would have really killed the mood.