When discussing who the best player in the world today is in the sport of basketball, it would almost be considered blasphemous to mention any other name than LeBron James. Sure, there is a new MVP in Kevin Durant, and some “dare” to say that he is the number one guy; but for the rest of the sane world, LBJ is King…literally. With being recognized as the subject who sits on the throne, one must have an oral resume with bullet points that the masses can point to. On the scroll of one “King James” is a game that most acknowledge as his finest moment.
Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals featured a young king… a prince one might say. At only the tender age of 22, LeBron led his crew in the Palace at Auburn Hills against a veteran and battle-tested Pistons team who were only a couple of years removed from claiming the league’s ultimate prize, the NBA Championship. The expectations were high on both sides as most analysts predicted a full seven game series. The result did not disappoint.
The first two games were very close and saw Cleveland fall by identical 79-76 scores. Down 0-2, the spotlight shifted back to Cleveland where the Cavs would hold court, evening the series 2-2. In game 5, the scene switched back to Detroit, where one of the greatest moments in NBA history would take place.
With 6:14 left to play in regulation and his team clinging to a one point 79-78 lead, the cub transformed into the lion that everyone had been waiting to see since he stepped foot into the league in 2003. LeBron scored 11 of the final 12 points to end regulation tied at 91 apiece. In the first overtime, James scored all nine of the Cleveland points, ending the period tied 100-100. In the second overtime, LeBron again scored all nine of the team’s points to capture the win and put the Cavs up three games to two (thus, in the last 16:14 of play, James scored the Cavaliers last 25 points and 29 of the last 30 points). Cleveland would eventually close Detroit out at home in Game 6 on LeBron’s way to making his first appearance in the NBA Finals.
“I’m not going to miss,” James said with a weary smile, walking out of the interview room 20 minutes after the buzzer sounded. “Not everybody gets the opportunity to be in a zone like that. I just wanted to will my team to victory and do the best job possible.”
We were all “witnesses” on that day and received a preview of what was yet to come. It is what sparked a series of Nike commercials featuring James as well as the LeBron-Mania the exists till this day.