When it comes to the most clutch shots in recent NBA history, there are two that immediately spring to mind. The first, of course, is Kyrie Irving’s dagger three-pointer in Steph Curry’s face to help seal the Cavs’ 2016 championship and put the punctuation mark on their miraculous comeback from a 3-1 series deficit against the Warriors. The other is Ray Allen’s title-saving three at the end of Game 6 of the 2013 Finals between the Heat and Spurs.
LeBron, ironically enough, had front-row tickets to each of these. Now, there’s a right way and a wrong way to interpret this, the wrong way being to cast ludicrous aspersions about LeBron not having the clutch gene or some other such nonsense, and the right way being to give him the credit he deserves for trusting his teammates. After all, the results speak for themselves.
And it’s a safe bet that LeBron is eternally grateful to each of them. In Allen’s case, we know this for a fact. During a recent interview, Allen was asked whether LeBron and/or Erik Spoelstra still call him to thank him for hitting that shot, and the answer was an emphatic yes.
Do LeBron or Coach Spo [Erik Spoelstra] ever call you out of the blue to thank you for knocking down that shot?
Oh yeah, they do. They definitely do. And I owe them a debt of gratitude for accepting me into the fold. They already had a championship environment, and to welcome me in to help them get to the next level, that’s what true winners do. They always continue to find ways to win by any means necessary. They’re always willing to learn and get better. There hasn’t been a year that’s gone by where either one of them hasn’t mentioned 2013 to me. They’re always grateful for my input.
Just how he expresses that gratitude to Kyrie is probably a trickier question, but that’s neither here nor there. Allen’s full interview is well worth the read, as he talks about, among other things, how he failed to convince Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and Paul Pierce to join him for pedicures and the importance of foot care for NBA longevity. Given that he boasts one of the longest and most successful careers of all-time, young players would do well to take heed of that advice and make an appointment at the nearest salon soon as safely possible.