Talking about the difficulty he faces in his third straight NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, LeBron James couldn’t just use the last two matchups for comparison. While the Cavs and Warriors split the last two NBA titles to set up this superstar rubber match, those Warriors didn’t have former NBA MVP Kevin Durant. These Warriors very obviously do have Durant. And that means four big-time All-Stars in one starting lineup — Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Durant.
So James’s always active mind went searching for a legit comparison and found the San Antonio Spurs. James’s Miami Heat faced a tremendous Spurs team in back-to-back finals in 2013 and 2014, splitting the titles. James remembered it fondly, especially since perhaps it makes his present task seem slightly less Herculean. “I’ve played against four Hall of Famers as well, too, with Manu, Kawhi, Tony and Timmy D on the same team,”James said, recalling those Spurs. Ever the basketball historian, James also added that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will be in Springfield also. There’s little doubt that the Big 3 of the Spurs — Ginobili, Parker, and Tim Duncan — will be Hall of Fame inductees when their times come. But Leonard is still young and probably needs a few more years at this level to get there. James, obviously, has no doubts about Kawhi.