With the NBA season beginning, there’s no better time to relive the final game of last year’s NBA Finals. One of the iconic moments of that series came at the expense of Andre Iguodala, the previous year’s Finals MVP. With the score tied at 89, Iguodala and Steph Curry had a 2-on-1 fastbreak against J.R. Smith, or so it seemed. As Iguodala went up for the layup after eluding Smith, LeBron James came out of nowhere and slammed his attempt off the backboard in what became known as “The Block.” Cleveland went on to win the game and the series.
For his part, Iguodala doesn’t seem to regret being on the wrong side of a play that may have swung the series in the Cavaliers favor, per ESPN’s Chris Haynes: “But I give [James] all respect,” Iguodala said. “When he blocked it, I thought somebody got shot. I laugh about it all the time.”
At the highest levels, professional sports aren’t about one player or team capitalizing on the other’s mistakes. Rather, what makes sports so compelling at their height are when individuals and teams meet each other at their bests and one rises above the other. That’s how Iguodala views James’ contributions to “The Block.”
“People don’t realize, somebody just made a great play. There’s nothing to change about somebody making a great play because I even thought I could have went off to the other side [of the rim], but [LeBron] was so high over the rim, he would have had both sides covered. I mean, I wouldn’t have changed anything about it. If somebody just makes a great play, you just give them respect for making a great play.”
Iguodala did say that if Smith wasn’t there he would’ve tried to dunk, although he admitted while laughing that he’s not even sure he would’ve been able to dunk because he “was about to die out there.”