I'm glad it's over.
It didn't take long to figure out, and frankly, it was getting unbearable to watch.
The San Antonio Spurs are the best team in the world, and it's not even close. The Miami Heat have the best player in the world, and it's not even close.
The 2014 NBA Finals will be sadly remembered for a bunch of things that don't really matter. Cramps. Bubble guts. Ghosts. False narratives seen through cloudy lenses.
Some will see this as a triumph of good versus evil. The right way versus the wrong way. Fuck LeBron. Fuck the Miami Heat and their bandwagon fans. Overrated they are.
The memes will flow from the tap of hate. Facebook statuses will reek of ignorance. Twitter will be ablaze with hypocrisy. One can only imagine what one's text messages, phone calls and Google chats might be like today. And if you were to engage in face-to-face conversation with someone about the 2014 NBA Finals? God help you.
Like I said, I'm glad it's over. I've never been so happy for a team I generally loathe, but damn it was exciting to watch the Spurs go Spur during the playoffs. Moreover, I've never felt so down for a player I respect as much as LeBron. The man did everything he could to help his team win, and it hardly moved the needle in his team's favor. The Spurs were just that damned good.
So, What Did Ed Learn From Game 5 Of The NBA Finals?
I'd been stalling on writing this part of the article since the end of the game on Sunday evening. I smoked a cigar with my frat brother. I sipped Lagavulin. I just drove around town. (You know how expensive gas is?) I needed my mind to be settled on what I'd experienced. Here's what I now know:
Kawhi Leonard is some combination of Scottie Pippen and Jerome Kersey. The story of these Finals will be distorted. Tales will be told that Kawhi stopped LeBron James, and that'll be a shame. The real story here is that Kawhi was able to thrive while competing against LeBron James, and he made the Miami Heat respect him on the basketball court. He was no longer an afterthought. Instead he was the real killer all along.
The Miami Heat getting their asses whupped in the fashion they did could end up being the best thing that happens to them. Who knows how that plays out in regards to future contracts, roster management, and re-evaluations of their current scheme and mind-set, but it could've been a doomsday scenario for Miami if the Heat somehow would've stretched this series to six or seven games. Few teams have ever gone on a four-year run like Miami did, and it's something that should be celebrated.
I also think there's a real possibility that LeBron James opts out of his contract and signs with the Houston Rockets.
I learned that I'm not in a position to rank players and their legacies right now. All I know is that Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are four of the best to ever do what they do on a basketball court. Their sacrifices have cost them dollars and stats, but they make up for it by sheer excellence. You can't rank brilliance; you can only observe it.
It's been a fun 2013-14 NBA campaign. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Now do yourself a favor and remove yourself from it as soon as possible. Legacies aren't etched in stone days and hours after the trophy is hoisted. There's plenty of time for that conversation to happen later on.
Eddie Maisonet is the founder and editor emeritus of The Sports Fan Journal. Currently, he serves as an associate editor for ESPN.com. He is an unabashed Russell Westbrook and Barry Switzer apologist, owns over 100 fitteds and snapbacks, and lives by Reggie Jackson’s famous quote, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.”