In Game 2 of the NBA Finals, LeBron James blocked a white guy’s shot and it was somehow enough to blow up the internet universe.
Though there’s no question LeBron’s fourth-quarter stuff of Tiago Splitter was an impressive feat of athleticism, the overreaction made me wonder what life would have been like if Twitter existed during the moon landing.
Prototypical reaction: OMG! THAT IS THE GREATEST BLOCKED SHOT I HAVE EVER SEEN! THE KING!!!!
Um… no. Settle down people. That wasn’t even the greatest blocked shot of LeBron’s career — I think any number of the seemingly countless times he has run someone down from half-court as they appeared to be driving in for an easy layup is more qualified for that distinction.
Secondly, there was no other possible outcome of that play. Tiago Splitter was trying to dunk over LeBron James. There is a zero percent chance LeBron doesn’t stuff him. This was the opposite of the miracle that everyone is trying to hype it as.
Even more annoying is the fact it had no bearing on the result of the game. San Antonio was already down 20 in the fourth quarter. This was not some clutch moment that will shift momentum in the series. We already knew the series would be tied 1-1 going back to San Antonio, and we were also well aware that LeBron is a better athlete than Tiago Splitter. Anyone reading further into it is an idiot.
This is not an anti-LeBron diatribe. Had he blocked Tim Duncan in a similar manner, or had it won the game, we could talk about it being an all-time great play. The shame of it is if Miami wins the series, they’ll probably forever show this play in the highlights as if it had any bearing on the outcome.
Want to see a blocked shot that actually did change the momentum of a series? I refer you to Game 5 of the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals.
Want to see a Hall of Famer actually blocking a Hall of Famer? I refer you to Bill Russell vs. Wilt Chamberlain.