LeBron: Did Game 6 of the 2013 Finals Cement his Legacy?

Jordan’s “flu game”, where he scored 38 points in game 5 of the 1996-1997 NBA Finals despite being visibly ill…

Magic starts at center and plays all 5 positions in game 6 of the 1979-80 NBA Championships…

Larry Bird stealing the ball late in game 5 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals…

Provided you were old enough to have seen these three performances, without question they will still resonate to this day.  There is no question that some of the greatest moments in NBA history come from the game’s greatest players. Many Hall of Famers have these iconic moments that 20, 30 years from now people will still tell their kids. With LeBron James it is no different.  Since he came into the league high expectations has been heeped on him and whether he will live up to those expectations is a controversial topic in and of itself.

Through 3 quarters of game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, LeBron James looked as if his legacy was about to take another blow, going 1-3 in the NBA Finals and going 3-12 from the field would’ve killed the LeBron and MJ comparison in its tracks. Then in the clutch moment, the same moment fans have ridiculed him for, things changed in a big way.  Basically he turned into Super Man, exploding in the 4th quarter and OT, saving his team from losing in rather embarrassing fashion at home. With this being one of the most exciting games in recent NBA history and LeBron being the center of attention, what did that game do for his legacy?

LeBron James sometimes seems to over think the game judging by his usual demeanor and body language in these big game scenarios.  So for Heat fans, what a joy it was to see him go out and play more freely and with more aggression than we’ve seen from him that whole series – maybe outside of game 4.  And his encore? He torched the Spurs for 37 points in dominating fashion in game 7.

It was a performance we will remember long from now mostly because of the magnitude of the game and how exciting it was.  That same performance in a blowout wouldn’t have the same luster to Heat fans. It certainly wasn’t his best playoff performance either, some may argue it was game 6 against Boston when he scored 45 along with 15 rebounds and 5 assists or when he scored 25 straight points and 29 of Cleveland’s 30 points against the Pistons in 2007. His 32, 11 and 10 in game 6 though is nothing to take for granted.

What stood out for me is his aggressive nature late in that game and how must of a stark contrast it was to how passive he seemed earlier and how he missed make-able shots the few times he did get to the rim.  Of course it was frustrating for fans because it’s nearly impossible to keep him from the rim.

It may be nit picking, but it didn’t have the iconic ending for him as many would like to see as it was Ray Allen who had one of the biggest shots in NBA history and Chris Bosh with the huge block on Danny Green to preserve the win.  For many iconic moments in NBA history, we remember the ending more than anything else. The game was incredible but it pales in comparison to some of his better playoff games, statistically speaking. But this game wasn’t so impressive because of the stats.  It is a defining moment because of the situation and how it was handled.

What this game does is keep his chance of catching Jordan intact.  Personally I don’t feel he will reach MJ, but this loss would be the final nail in the coffin for those who put him in the argument of the “GOAT.” As exciting as game 6 was, it means nothing if they had lost game 7.  There is still much to be done before the Heat can celebrate back to back championships and another big performance will be needed from James and the rest of the big 3.

We’ll see what will happens this 2013-14 season.  Perhaps that legacy will be further cemented, if that’s possible, and if he can inch ever closer to #23.


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