This whole NBA Finals was themed by legacies. But what makes it so different and does different mean worse?
As sports fans, we live for the moments, whether that’s a chase down tackle, a last minute goal, an insane wicket or an incredible save.
It’s the moments we know that in 30 years’ time we’ll still remember them, we’ll still be in shock and awe of them and we’ll continuously revisit them on YouTube.
Sometimes, these moments come on the world’s biggest stages and sometimes they happen on a regular Wednesday night.
We never know when they’re going to happen – unlike a movie, we can’t just fast forward to the last 25 minutes to see the hero save the day and have their moment, but that’s what makes these sports moments so special.
The NBA Finals seemingly gives us one of these moments every year, whether it’s an injured Willis Reed hobbling out of the tunnel in a Game 7, Magic Johnson’s ‘junior’ sky hook to win Game 4 against the Celtics, Michael Jordan’s iconic flu game or his series-winning shot against the Jazz, Allen Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue in 2001 or Ray Allen’s series-saving three in the corner against the Spurs.
Recently, we’ve had LeBron James’s game-winning block to break Cleveland’s title drought and Kevin Durant’s dagger threes over the Cavs in 2017 and 2018 to seal both Game 3s.
Today, Giannis Antetokounmpo gave us our finals moment.
A moment we’ll see every time there is a highlights package of him, a moment they’ll show on the jumbotron as they introduce him at every home game.
The moment that will play when he retires and during his Hall of Fame induction.
In Game 4 against the Suns, the Bucks were up by two points with 1:19 left in the final quarter. Down 2-1 in the series and at home, the Bucks’ season was on the line.
Some would even argue Antetokounmpo’s legacy was on the line.
With 40 points, Devin Booker was clearly the focal point for the Suns’ offence and preventing him from scoring was Milwaukee’s number one priority.
Fully knowing this, Giannis looked to switch onto Booker as he made a drive to the rim from the pick and roll. However, this allowed Suns centre Deandre Ayton to roll to the rim virtually uncontested.
As Booker threw up the pass to Ayton over the basket for the alley-oop, it looked like we were going to have a tie game as Giannis had what seemed like an impossible amount of ground to make up in such a short space of time.
In a split second and off two short steps, Antetokounmpo rose up and with an outreached right arm, he blocked Ayton’s dunk.
— NBA (@NBA) July 15, 2021
Just like that, Giannis Antetokounmpo gave us a moment, a play that we will always associate with him and this Finals series, a block that will go down in history as one of the greatest ever.