Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals began with LeBron James being showered with obnoxious jeers and whistles from the raucous Golden State crowd with every touch of the ball.
But as the night wore on, the heckling became quieter, the taunts inaudible, until the arena that had been deafening mere hours before had become completely soundless, in a stunned silence. They had just witnessed one of the greatest Finals performances ever.
With his back against the wall and 19,000 fans audibly rooting for demise, the King delivered a performance for the ages, slicing the Warriors’ lead in the series to 3-2 in the process.
It was like Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals all over again. The critics had never been louder, the stage never brighter, and the quiet whispers that 4-time MVP maybe wasn’t as good as we thought he was were circling.
On both occasions LeBron played like a man possessed, getting to the rim at will early on, and hitting dagger jumpshot after dagger jumpshot to seal it late.
The performance was Jordan-esque, perhaps even better, and James has shown us once again that the big stage brings out the best in him, just as it did with the greats before him. He has reclaimed the title of “Best Player in the NBA” and is now cementing his place in history beside players like Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
A win in this series will revamp the “greatest ever” talks regarding the King, and will go down as the most heroic performance in Finals history.
Now LeBron gets a chance to go nose-to-nose with Draymond Green, who insulted him to his face, again. With a chance to extend this series to seven games against the team that’s trying to capture a championship in Cleveland for the second year running. Your move, King.