Playing in the NBA Finals is an amazing feat, not just because of the excellence, but equally as much because of the endurance. The season begins in mid October and Game 7 would’ve been played on June 19. For the players, it takes a bare minimum of 98 professional basketball games over an eight-month span to play in the NBA Finals, more than likely 105-plus.
The odyssey to get to that Larry O’Brien trophy is part of what makes the NBA playoffs such compelling entertainment. Staying on the court for a six-game run on the playground in the summertime is taxing enough to give a 15-year-old a charlie horse. Playing at NBA playoff intensity every other night for two months and change, all the respect to everyone on the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics. Even for the people who follow and/or cover the league, once the trophy is presented it’s time to take a deep, full body exhale.
However, without the players who fight through exhaustion to make spectacular performances it wouldn’t be worth watching. The bad knees, ankles, and backs these players fight through to put up 20 points in June is as good as sports get. While basketball is a team sport, the players who rose to the occasion in this series — whether their team won or lost — deserve to be acknowledged. So let’s show some love to the best players of the NBA Finals.