Every championship run needs a signature moment, a play that will live forever in the highlight reels.
LeBron James delivered a perfect one for the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.
The King’s chase-down block of Andre Iguodala late in the fourth quarter helped the Cavaliers complete their historic Finals comeback and win their first NBA title in 52 years.
“That is the greatest play I’ve ever seen,” Cavs assistant coach Jim Boylan said, via Zach Lowe of ESPN.
The block https://t.co/gZEYFQ4qIn
— Athletic Recruiting (@ncsa) June 20, 2016
With the game tied at 89 and just under two minutes left, the Warriors broke out on a two-on-one fast break—featuring two-time MVP Steph Curry out front, Iguodala trailing behind and only Cavs guard J.R. Smith standing in the way of a go-ahead basket.
Iguodala hit Curry on the wing, then received a bounce pass back from Curry as he attacked the rim. What looked like an easy two points soon crumbled, as James flew in from out of nowhere and stuffed Iguodala’s layup clean along the backboard. Smith picked up the loose ball and cleared the danger, with the game still tied at 89.
Golden State wouldn’t score another point as the Cavs finished off the 93-89 win.
The play so perfectly summed up the final three games. A second consecutive NBA title and maybe the best overall season in NBA history was right there for the Warriors, but LeBron and his otherworldly talent and desire was simply too much to overcome. A layup in that situation could have changed everything about the ending of Game 7. James just wouldn’t be denied. As former teammate Mike Miller said last week, LeBron “ain’t losing Game 7.”
The Block was the defining moment of The Comeback. LeBron will always be remembered for bringing a a most improbable title to Cleveland, with his impossible rejection of Iguodala sure to live on forever as one of the greatest clutch defensive plays in the game’s storied history.