There have been many “Badass Moments” in NBA history, from Willis Reed’s Game 7 heroics during the 1970 NBA Finals, to Allen Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue.
Every player, coach and fan will have a different opinion on which moments in league history is the baddest of all badass moments. For reigning NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, it’s the 2016 NBA Finals, when LeBron James led his Cleveland Cavaliers back from 3-1 down, to defeat the defending champion Golden State Warriors and bring his city their first major sports championship since the Browns won the 1964 NFL Championship.
As Giannis explained, it was the mentality that must have gone into mounting that comeback that impressed him the most. Oftentimes in sports, when a team gets down in a series by that much, the players tend to quit, looking ahead to an offseason of family and vacationing, rather than focusing on erasing the deficit by winning one game at a time. But in the Cavs’ case, they were able to stay focused thanks to LeBron, who put the team on his back during those final three games of the series.
Here’s how Giannis put it:
“Man, when LeBron was down 3-1, and he was able to get his team together, he was able to lock in ad get the job done. It takes a lot from a leader, because at that moment you feel so much pressure. When you’re down 3-1, and most of you teammates are thinking, “It’s over with. I’m about to go on vacation. I’m about to go spend some time with my family.” I think he did a great job just bring his team together, try to keep all the emotions out of it, and just go and complete the game at the time. It didn’t only take a toll physically, but mentally also, because he had to be in the moment. He could not think that would be the last game of the season.”
Mad respect from one NBA MVP to another. LeBron’s comeback from 3-1 is definitely one of the NBA’s biggest badass moments, and it also became one of the most memeable.