The San Antonio Spurs are 48 minutes away from the fifth NBA championship of the Gregg Popovich-Tim Duncan era. The Miami Heat are 48 minutes away from either hosting a Game 7 for back-to-back titles on their home court or facing an offseason of blistering criticism for what will be perceived as its Big Three once again shrinking on the grandest possible stage. The stakes of an NBA game don't get much higher than this.
Tuesday's Game 6 is going to answer a lot of questions ? here are five that've been rattling around my head for the past two days. Feel free to weigh in on them or share your own big questions in the comments below.
1. Will LeBron James silence his critics?
That'll never happen. Never. Ever. Not in a million years. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever. And definitely not after they caught wind of those sneakers .
Even if James shows out and the Heat come back from a 3-2 deficit to win this title, and another, and another, and another, it still won't be enough. It'll never be enough until he has more rings than Jordan ? just ask Kobe ? and even if he someday gets there, it'll never be enough because he didn't do it the same way, with all that passing and deferring. And while I enjoyed reading Will Leitch's suggestion that a loss could prove liberating for LeBron, that's a pipe dream, a fantasy, an impossibility. As neat a thought experiment as it is, another Finals loss will not spare James from the Jordan comparisons and let us just appreciate him for him; it will just put more oxygen in the lungs of those determined to shout about how invincible James isn't. The outcome of Game 6 can't silence anything. It can only turn up the volume.
Still, it'd be cool for Heat fans if LeBron played real well.
COMMENTARY | The Phoenix Suns haven't had a great deal of success in the NBA draft over the last few years. With the No. 5 pick in the 2013 NBA draft, they have a chance to make up for misfires like Kendall Marshall, Markieff Morris and Earl Clark.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Front offices across the NBA seem to be panicking a bit these days. Job security has long been an oxymoron for coaches in this league, but even by that what-have-you-done-for-me-lately standard, this offseason has been a particularly volatile one.
Years ago, Michael Jordan established himself as a dogged competitor that didn?t mind how many bridges he burned or feelings he hurt on his way to getting what he wants. The latest news about the six-time champion and Basketball Hall of Famer, though, is a bit of a low point. In layman?s terms, he?s suing a grocery chain that dared congratulate him in an advertisement that also sold a few steaks. Jordan appeared in court this week to attempt to prove why such a lawsuit is necessary.
When Jordan was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, and prior to the wildly inappropriate speech he gave in the induction ceremonies , local Chicago grocery chain Dominick?s released an ad congratulating Jordan on his accomplishment, while pointing out that, while you?re at it, you can use your Dominick?s card or a coupon in the ad to take in the tasty two dollar savings on a ?Rancher?s Reserve Steak.?
The ad can be seen here:
Legendary center Patrick Ewing recently agreed to become the associate head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats, working under new 'Cats head coach Steve Clifford , with whom Ewing served long stretches as an assistant coach with both the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic. The decision to join Clifford's staff also means that Ewing will now (kind of) be on the same team as longtime nemesis Michael Jordan, whose Chicago Bulls waged annual battles with Ewing's New York Knicks throughout the 1990s.
Before Jordan and Ewing ever reached the professional level, though, they very nearly became teammates at the University of North Carolina ... until the Ku Klux Klan ruined the prospective future Hall-of-Fame team-up. (As the Klan so often does.)
During a visit to Dan Patrick's nationally syndicated radio show on Thursday to discuss his gig with the Bobcats and he was to see newly minted Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd lock down an NBA head coaching job mere days after his retirement, the talk turned to Ewing's feelings about linking up with Jordan, which led the big man to discuss their missed collegiate connection.
The story begins with Ewing ? then a much coveted recruit who'd played his high school ball for Cambridge Rindge & Latin School in Cambridge, Mass. ? taking a trip down south to visit Chapel Hill:
Ewing: You know, I was close. I was close. North Carolina was a very good school, but when I went down there, they put me in that Carolina Inn and there was a big Ku Klux Klan rally in North Carolina when I was there. And I was like, "You know what? I'm not coming down here. I'm staying my butt back in Boston."
Patrick: So the reason why you didn't go, or the main reason, is the KKK had a rally going on at the time?
Ewing: Big rally, man.