NBA Finals: Repeat or Revenge

Lebron dunk

After the Golden State Warriors came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, it set the stage for a rematch in the NBA Finals that everybody wanted to see. The Cleveland Cavaliers breezed through the first two rounds of the playoffs, sweeping the Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks, before finishing off the Toronto Raptors in six games. The road wasn’t as easy for the defending champion Golden State Warriors after completing the best regular season in NBA history.

No disrespect to Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder, but this is the best match-up for the NBA. It’s the top seed from each conference, it has the revenge factor from last season, and it will feature the best player in the NBA, LeBron James, and the league’s back-to-back MVP in Steph Curry. Together, they have won six of the last eight MVP awards, and three of the last four championships.

A lot is on the line here for both teams aside from the Larry O’Brien trophy. This will be LeBron’s sixth straight trip to the NBA Finals and his seventh in his 13-year career, though his record in the Finals is only 2-4. Critics citing this record won’t give him credit, despite taking a mediocre Cavs team to the Finals in 2007 and almost single-handedly defeating the Warriors last year with a depleted Cavs roster. This probably won’t be the King’s last trip to the Finals, but if he fails again this year, even against a favored Warriors squad, the criticism and hate will be at an all-time high. On the other hand, the Warriors are trying to go down as the greatest team in NBA history. If the Warriors don’t win, everything they accomplished in the regular season would be all for nothing. Like the saying goes, “73 don’t mean a thing without a ring.”

Steph Curry

When the Finals start, the Warriors will be the favorites to win the title, as they should be. And after coming back from 3-1 down to the Thunder, their confidence level must be through the roof. But the Cavs will be well-rested. They will have played just 14 games in the last 50 days, and will have the services of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Love got injured in the first round of last year’s playoffs, and Kyrie got injured in the first game of the Finals.

This will be the 14th time that the same two teams meet up in the NBA Finals in consecutive years, and the champion has repeated in six of those instances. The last team to repeat against the same opponent was Michael Jordan’s 1997 and 1998 Chicago Bulls, who beat the Utah Jazz in consecutive seasons. Ironically, Steve Kerr played for those Bulls teams and hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the ’97 Finals. However, six of the last seven teams that lost the Finals one year ended up getting their revenge and won the rematch.

So when it is all said and done, we will either see the Warriors cap off their 73-win season with a second consecutive title, or LeBron James will get his revenge and deliver the city of Cleveland their first championship in over 52 years.

Watching basketball as a kid, Michael Jordan was the greatest player in the world. I wanted to play just like him. Everyone wanted his shoes, and most of all, we wanted to wear the #23 on the basketball court. It’s been 13 years since he stepped foot on the basketball court, and the popularity of his shoes are at an all-time high; his #23 is still spotted all over the court. In this year’s NBA Finals, LeBron James and Draymond Green both wear Jordan’s #23. Number 23 truly repre23nts greatness.

Nowawdays, people wear #23 because of LeBron. In my son’s six years of watching basketball, he’s witnessed LeBron James make it to six straight NBA Finals. Nine years after LeBron came into the league, Draymond Green was drafted by the Warriors, and he also sports the #23. Even the fithth pick in last year’s draft, Croatian-born Mario Hezonja, rocks #23. The number 23 repre23nts excellence in sports worldwide and the legacy of the #23 will live forever. In the end, it will repre23nt the best to ever do it. With the NBA Finals starting tonight, I just have one question… Who Do You Rep?

Elie Neufeld is the founder of DHTK. DHTK’s clothing line integrates brand affiliation with positive athlete role models and an active lifestyle that pursues excellence in mind, body and spirit. Sign up for the DHTK email list to stay up to date with sales, promos and free giveaways.


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