Jun 18, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (21) battles for a rebound with Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) and Mike Miller (13) during the third quarter of game six in the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
It’s one of those feelings you get when you know something epic and historical is about to occur. The anticipation of Thursday night’s game 7 is possibly the highest and most hyped up finals game in NBA history, as it should.
The headline starts with Lebron James, who will always be compared to Michael Jordan. Even though he is the best in the world, and quite possibly is the most talented player to ever play in the NBA, his four MVP awards are second tier to what people will judge him by: rings. Should the Heat win, it will almost be like a joy of relief for them, as they won’t have to hear the criticism that will come in the offseason.
And for the rest of Miami’s Big Three? Dwyane Wade can add to his hall of fame career by winning his third championship, and Chris Bosh can get his second ring as well. But if the Heat fall, they would have only won 1 of 3 championships in the 3 years that they have been together, which would be seen as a failure.
The San Antonio Spurs are trying to solidify their legacy as well, as the greatest team in the last 15-20 years. The Spurs were crowned champs 4 times in the last 15 seasons, and the tandem of head coach Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan have not lost in an NBA Finals appearance. A win Thursday night would give the two a 5th ring.
The rest of the Spurs Big Three, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are chasing their 4th championship. Both players became instrumental in the championship runs of 2003, 2005, and 2007, and another ring will add to their already, Hall-of-Fame careers.
But legacies are not just only on the line for these six players, there’s Ray Allen, who’s looking to add a 2nd ring to his Hall-of-Fame career, and veteran Juwan Howard, who won his first championship last season after 19 seasons. Mike Miller is also looking for his 2nd ring after waiting 12 years in the NBA to receive his first championship last year. There is also former all-star and 15-year veteran Rashard Lewis who will be looking to receive his first ring. Lewis has made only one finals appearance in his career (2009 with Orlando).
The star of the Finals so far, Danny Green, may create his own legacy tonight, if the Spurs come out on top. Green has already broken the Finals record of most three-pointers made in a series. He is at 25 makes, which broke the old record of 22, set by Ray Allen in 2008. If San Antonio wins, Green has an opportunity of winning Finals MVP. He would be the 4th player ever, and first since Chauncey Billups in 2004 to win Finals MVP before every making an all-star team.
Last but not least, we can’t forget about Tracy McGrady. One of the greatest scorers to every play, McGrady’s legacy in his early days was that he could never get past the first round of the playoffs, which he never did as an active player, until this season. Now, he is one game away from winning his first title, and would be the perfect going away gift, as he was signed by the Spurs days before the playoffs were set to start after he played in China this season.