Wow, what a series!
Such an exciting display of athleticism, scoring and team defense. Five men playing exceptionally, not only as individuals, but as a single unstoppable unit. Here I was, thinking last year’s Finals was the absolute peak. But no, this one definitely tops them all.
I mean, you only win your tenth straight championship once.
Although I personally didn’t win Finals MVP this year — my son, LeBron James Jr., kept the award in the family — I can’t help but feel that my presence on this team over the past decade has been great for basketball. Unchallengeable hegemony in competition is what’s best for us all, right?
You see, the secret that I didn’t want to tell anyone way back on the eve of Game 5 of the 2017 Finals — wow, 11 years really do fly by — was that I was in total support of Kevin Durant’s move to the Warriors. All the pieces fit into place, regarding both the salary cap and roster construction, and KD pursued the honest good of a higher level of basketball. And he found it. It was totally adorable.
The Warriors, now ancient history, ended up winning that series in five games, and then won next year’s title as well. “The Golden Dynasty!” we all proclaimed. “Our children’s children shall swim in a bay of Larry O’Brien trophies!”
And Golden State did have my number for a few years during my (second) stint with the Cavaliers. In fact, they sort of had everyone’s number. Their dominance over the late 2010s was impressive — routinely getting past Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard, James Harden and his sharpshooting roughriders, and Chris Paul and his tall punchy friend on the way to the Finals, where they had a near-perfect record. But, that dominance wasn’t exactly unheard of.
The league has always had teams that figure out the next generational shift before all the others (Seven Seconds or Less, the Triangle, Pace and Space, etc.), or have a generational talent no one else has (Hakeem Olajuwon, Dirk Nowitzki or Giannis Antetokounmpo).
And sometimes, one lucky team does both at the same time (Lakers with Shaq and Kobe, Bulls with Jordan, Warriors with Durant). There’s a good few years where they seem totally unstoppable, but then, well — you know the saying about the bigger they are.
But everything self-corrects, and a lot can happen in a decade. The Warriors shifted the way the game was played, but as is the business of trailblazing, sometimes you get blazed yourself. Just ask Mike D’Antoni. Actually, can someone please find D’Antoni? Last I heard, he was in Papua New Guinea, trying to get wild board to run a fast break. They called him Pringles. Sad stuff.
Anyway, it’s unfair to discredit a player for making the choice they see as undoubtedly the correct one. At the end of the day, you never know when basketball will be over for you, so you gotta squeeze that lemon while you can. Well, unless you’re me. I’m the King man — I make the rules!
I mean, shit, people were way more pissed about my move in 2018 than they ever were at Durant. And I get it. Taking the veteran minimum to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, leaving the team enough cap space to still sign both Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins with me, didn’t exactly do great things for league parity.
Over the past decade, “New Showtime” has won every single title, sweeping the entire playoffs on seven occasions, while averaging nearly 25 made threes a game on 55 percent shooting. And I know, those numbers and the 10 straight championships seem gaudy — but this is what the league wanted! The fans clamored for a roster what was just an All-Star team with defense in Golden State, and we gave them an even better one in LA. So you’re welcome.
But now, I feel it’s finally time to retire. With Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball trading MVPs for the past four years, I think I’ll be leaving the team in good hands. Even D’Angelo won an MVP!
OK, that last one was a joke. Don’t be ridiculous.