Usain Bolt has been the most dominant athlete in the world over the last two years. Why? Because in a sport where the margin for error is almost non-existent — where competition plays out over the course of just 10 or 20 seconds — Usain made it so his only competition was the clock.
Until now. Tyson Gay beat Bolt over the weekend in a 100-meter final in Stockholm. Gay is widely considered the second-fastest man in the world, so on paper this shouldn’t be as much of a shock. But at the same time, Bolt hadn’t lost a race in two years and had made the gap between No. 1 and No. 2 so large that it seemed he wouldn’t lose for at least another couple of years.
Is there a realistic upset on this level in the NBA?
In college there’s more room for such upsets because of the NCAA Tournament, but in the pros it’s different. Because basketball teams are so evenly matched and there are so many factors involved on a day-to-day basis — long road trips, injuries, just having an off night — I don’t think any single game would cut it, unless it were an individual matchup like DeShawn Stevenson completely outplaying LeBron James on a big stage. But more likely it would have to be a playoff series, like the ’94 Nuggets beating the top-seeded Sonics in the first round, or the ’07 Warriors knocking off the top-seeded Mavericks.