From the 2013 NBA season’s inception San Antonio Spurs fans have had a reason to be optimistic about winning a fifth championship. For the entire season the Spurs boasted one of the top three records in the league, finishing at 58-24, and when they reached the playoffs in relatively good health the outlook was bright.
The Spurs, especially with the news of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook’s season-ending injury, were huge favorites to represent the Western Conference. The stalwart squad swept the Kobe-less Lakers, outlasted the youthful sharpshooters of the Golden State Warriors, and proceeded to run over and through the Memphis Grizzlies in consecutive games.
The stars had certainly appeared to have aligned, but when the best player in a generation—Kobe is the previous one—decided to play like it in a winner-take-all Game 7, you just have to give it up. LeBron James simply played like the best player on the planet that he is.