Before we begin, I’d just like to clarify that this is in no way a jab at LeBron James or another one of those “Ray Allen saved LeBron’s legacy!” rants. This is simply intended to show how impactful Ray Allen’s infamous corner three in the 2013 NBA Finals was and shed light on the discussion. After all, it was LeBron who scored 18 of his 32 points in the 4th quarter after trailing the Spurs 65-75 entering the 4th, not to mention he drilled a three pointer with less than 24 seconds in the game to bring the Heat within 2 points.
So again, without LeBron James heroics in that 4th quarter, the Heat don’t even get in position to make “the shot”. Now that we have that covered, let’s explore how history would have been altered had that shot not fallen.
Can you imagine how much more unwarranted hate LeBron would garner if he went 1-3 in the finals and accumulated just 1 ring in his 3 years with “The Big 3,” after all, he was the one who went in front of cameras promising the city of Miami 7 championships. The headlines would be through the roof! But facts are facts, if Ray Allen misses that shot LeBron is 1-3 on the biggest stage of basketball. No one would remember his game 6 triple-double, no one would care for his 18-point 4th quarter, and no one would damn sure care for his late 3 that cut the deficit to 2. Instead, all we’d hear about is how he let his team fall, how turned the ball over twice in the final minute, how he values stats over wins and how he will never be in the same realm as “his airness,” Michael Jeffrey Jordan. The media would have a field day with this.
The Big 3:
Would this series have been the end of “The Heatles?” There was a strong possibility. After their first press conference together and the infamous “not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4…” speech by LeBron, one could assume moves would be made after winning just 1 ring together with their only win coming against a young Oklahoma City Thunder team. And unfortunately for Bosh, he would be the odd man out in this situation, because let’s be honest, Pat Riley isn’t shipping off Dwyane Wade or LeBron James anywhere. Unfortunately, it would probably mean the end of head coach Erik Spoelstra as well. 3 years with 3 of the best basketball players in the world on your team and you come up short 2 out of 3 times. It would be virtually impossible for him to bounce back from that.
Let’s assume for a moment that history stays on-course and next year’s NBA season plays out the same way. Duncan would be 6-0 in the finals and could’ve quite possibly won his 4th finals MVP after that 2013 series. Would this have put Duncan in the top 5 all-time list automatically? Maybe even top 3? We’re talking 6 championships, a perfect finals record, 4 final’s MVP’s, and 2 MVP’s. Add in all his other accomplishments and accolades, and Tim Duncan could legitimately make a case as one of the 3 to 5 greatest players in NBA history. He’s already the greatest power forward of all time, this would just extend the gap even further and make it nearly impossible to surpass the Big Fundamental.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone, I, like many forget or at least try to forget McGrady’s brief stint with the Spurs. T-Mac is one of the most beloved NBA superstars ever and one of the biggest “what-if’s” in history. We all remember the days of McGrady throwing himself alley-oops in the middle of games, making defenders look silly from all areas of the floor, and dropping 13 points in 35 seconds in one of the most amazing clutch performances the game has seen. After years and years of playoff failures, McGrady finally saw his first real opportunity to secure a ring with the Spurs only to have it painfully stripped away at the last minute by Ray Allen. As a fan who grew up watching and admiring McGrady, it would’ve been awesome to see him finally triumph and win one.
Much like Timmy, Pop would have benefited greatly from this scenario. Not only for his career, as we all know he’d be 6-0 in the finals and is the holder of one of the most decorated coaching resumes. But he’d also alleviate a lot the scrutiny off his back for his game 6 blunder. If you recall on that last Heat possession, Tim Duncan was on the bench when Chris Bosh snagged the rebound and kicked it out to Allen in the corner. Many will look back on that final play and question Pop for not having Duncan out on the floor to secure a rebound and a win.
That’s right, Skip Bayless. He would be the ultimate winner in this situation. This guy has made a living out of bashing LeBron and parrading him for the overrated superstar that Skip claims he is. I can hear it now, “LeBron James proved again why he doesn’t belong in the same breath as the greatest basketball player of all-time, Michael Jordan”…”My Spurs” this, “my Spurs” that. There wouldn’t be a more satisfied human being in the world than Skip if Ray Allen had missed that shot, giving his precious Spurs at that point a perfect 5-0 finals record and another win against his fellow nemesis. It just makes you appreciate Ray Allen’s shot even more doesn’t it?