LeBron Passing Torch To Durant Looks Like A Professional Wrestling Work
Way back in 2003, with the retractable roof aiding them from Seattle’s cold and rainy weather, the World Wrestling Federation held their 19th annual Wrestlemania at Safeco Field.
For those who don’t recall, the main event that night actually featured two real wrestlers — former Olympian gold medalist Kurt Angle and former NCAA champion Brock Lesnar — kayfabing around in a scripted version of the sport they had once mastered.
Due to one of his countless neck and spinal surgeries, Angle — the incumbent champion — knew he could not carry the load of the title anymore. So, like any good company man, he agreed to drop the belt on the biggest stage, to someone who had the gravitas to fulfill the necessary requirements (Lesnar).
Also like any good company man, he made sure that he looked superhuman even in a loss.
In a normal Lesnar match, the opponent is immediately pinned after his finishing move — the F-5. But, Angle, the bad-ass dude he is, was able to withstand the first F-5…and the second F-5…only succumbing to the third Lesnar-finisher.
I tell you that seemingly unrelated story to tell you this about the 2017 NBA Finals…
All week long I’ve been telling people how the refs would steer the game the way they wanted in an attempt to lengthen the series. However, when push came to shove, it turns out I was wrong.
The referees had a chance to make this a real series, but without thought, swallowed the whistle and effectively ended the series.
After blowing a seven-point lead in the closing minutes of Game Three, Cleveland found themselves down by three with less than 20 seconds left. The Cavs were inbounding the ball under their basket, eventually feeding LeBron James in the corner for the tying three.
Instead of getting the shot off, Bron-Bron was stripped/fouled by Andre Iguodala, allowing the Warriors to regain possession and hit a few free throws to ice the game.
There could have — and should have — been a whistle…no one would have said boo.
LeBron could have dramatically stepped to the line for three shots, potentially sending the game to overtime and lifting the spirits of ESPN execs everywhere.
Instead, we’re left with the series in the bag — Golden State up 3–0 — and virtually zero reason to watch Game Four.
In any other year, the call would have been made…but this year, LeBron is taking a backseat, stepping off the throne to be replaced by someone else.
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It reminds me of a WWE-work, with LeBron fully aware that he’d be passing the torch to Durant — even before the series started.
Just like when a longtime WWE champ drops the belt to a first-time champion, James has looked superhuman in defeat. He’s played very well, complete with gaudy numbers in tow, but Durant — the torch receiver — is looking just a little bit better.
No harm, no foul…no shame in dropping the belt, leaving the throne, or taking the backseat. James knows he can’t carry the torch anymore, he’s simply done it for too long and is legitimately tired. Or maybe he just knows what’s best for the league, with the championship belt passed on to a younger, more capable superstar, who can meet the necessary requirements.
Just like Kurt Angle.