- The Warriors were on the brink of becoming the greatest team in NBA history after securing an NBA record 73 wins but then ‘The Block’ happened.
The 2016 NBA Finals was one of the greatest sports finals in history. We all know how the story goes, the Warriors blew a 3-1 series lead and LeBron James finally brought a title to the Cleveland. But how was the experience in person? Ben Golliver recently sat down with Andrew Sharp in the latest Open Floor to discuss his memories of Game 7, Warriors fans and 'The Block'.
(This transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Ben Golliver: Cavaliers vs. Warriors, NBA Finals Game 7 (2016)
It's Game 7 of the NBA Finals—the block, the shot, the stop and the shock. I really think in that arena and I don't want to call the Golden State Warriors fans spoiled before that game but it always seemed like there was this feeling that somehow the Warriors were going to figure it out and as that series started slipping away, the concern level definitely ramped up. But in the back of my mind I was like they will find someway to just pull this off.
I mean they are the Warriors, they had been untouchable, Steph had been Steph, they always had an answer. And half-way through that series when Draymond gets suspended, it's not oh this is going to flip the series, it was oh this is going to drag on this one-sided series, the NBA just wants the ratings. By the time we got to Game 7 that level of confidence whatever you want to call it, all of a sudden hearts were in their throats for a little bit.
It's funny because I remember this game very well but almost all of it is a blur but I want to go back to my ability to see the future because I saw the block like four seconds before it happened. For whatever reason my eyes were trained on LeBron basically at half-court and it is easy to look back at the highlights and track him but most plays in that situation my eyes wouldn't have been on LeBron, maybe it was a coincidence I don't know but as I saw him there with the straight path, I was like this is going to end in his favor in one way or the other.
I didn't have the world's greatest seat to this game by the way, I was in kind of the end-zone, fairly high up but to see that block unfold, to watch how 20,000 people reacted to that block in real-time and for them to finish it off to take care of it.
And then let's not forget that LeBron came about 86 percent of the way to killing Draymond on that dunk that he missed at the very end, that was very close to being a homicide by dunk so that was just another thing thrown into the middle of it. If he would have finished that dunk, I think they would have had to put up a statue in Cleveland immediately of that dunk.
But there was so many things going on but the celebration was great. LeBron really showing true emotion I thought for the first time compared to the Miami days. All the stories that we kind of beaten to the ground but at that point that hadn't been beaten to the ground yet because we were still wrapping our minds around it was like wait a moment—the Cavaliers are going to win a title. They are going to overcome a 3-1 deficit. They are going to beat a 73-win team. None of these things to the rational analytic mind seemed possible or likely even with a few minutes left in that game and they did it.
Listen to the entire podcast here.