Kyrie Irving’s Finals-winning 3-pointer in Game 7 earned the nickname “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” as was widely regarded as one of the biggest shots in NBA history. And that was before the news broke late Monday morning that Kevin Durant would be taking his considerable talents to Golden State.
In the game that would decide whether the Warriors would complete the greatest regular season ever with a championship, or whether LeBron James fulfill his promise in the most dramatic of ways, Kyrie’s pullup 3-pointer was the deciding factor.
The game was in a stalemate at 89 for what seemed like an eternity, with LeBron and Steph Curry, arguably the two best players in the world, trading bricks. It always had the feeling that the next basket would win.
So naturally, Kyrie’s shot would go down in history as the shot that broke the curse. That alone warrants a spot in the “biggest shots in league history” conversation.
But it wasn’t until yesterday that we learned just how much the shot has changed the landscape in the NBA.
Durant’s decision to leave Oklahoma City can be justified in knowing that the team he’s going to aren’t the current NBA Champions. Had Kyrie missed, and Golden State finished the greatest regular season ever off with their second consecutive title, Durant doesn’t even consider the Dubs an option in free agency.
And how could he? As damaging as this move already is to his “legacy”, it’d be even worse if he was heading to the back-to-back champs.
The “super-team era” looked as though it had been coming to an end when the 2011 labor deal centered around graduated luxury tax penalties, all in an attempt to prevent another Miami Heat from forming. But this decision from one of the faces of the league may set a precedent for other superstars to value winning over money, and how they’re viewed in history.
No other shot has changed the league like this, not even Ray Allen’s 2013 game-tying three.
In the moment it seemed like a bigger shot than Kyrie’s, but the game was played between two serial-winners in the NBA, and didn’t pave the way for radical changes to take place.
The curse is broken, an all-time great talent has just joined an all-time great team, and the dawn of the 2nd “super-team era” is upon us. All because of one shot.