BOSTON (CBS) – The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the NBA Finals as heavy underdogs, and now find themselves up 2-1 in the series.
LeBron James and the Cavs are two games away from achieving Cleveland’s first championship since the ’64 Browns. Sean Grande and others have said that if LeBron is somehow able to pull this off, it would be the greatest accomplishment of his career.
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix does not disagree.He joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich to talk about the NBA Finals and how we are witnessing history with what LeBron and the Cavs are doing.
“If the Cavs win a championship this year I think it’s the greatest playoff performance in NBA history, just for all the adversity that this team has endured from the Boston series on. It’s startling,” Mannix said on Wednesday.
“To be this big an underdog against this [Warriors] team, to have another catastrophic injury, to have this rag-tag bunch that [James] is playing with, it’s hard to envision another player, historically, doing what LeBron has done,” he added.
“I know people will get up in arms about that. ‘Michael Jordan could have done it. Larry Bird could have done it. Magic could have done it.’ I don’t agree. They never had to, and I just don’t think those guys could elevate this group the way LeBron is.”
Fred Toucher brought up the 1979-80 Lakers, and how Magic Johnson had to switch to center in the Finals for Los Angeles to win the title. Mannix thinks that’s a decent comparison, but adds that that Lakers team had far more talent than this Cavaliers team.
“Magic, as great was he was, was nowhere near the scorer that LeBron can be by flipping a switch when he wants to be. That was one instance where I thought the comparison was comparable, but Magic still had other talented guys around him,” Mannix said.
“LeBron is playing with two ex-Knicks, an ex-Nugget, a guy that played in the D-League last summer, and the next best player is a paint-oriented big man in Tristan Thompson. It’s truly a bunch of guys that I don’t think anyone else could excel with.”
Listen below for the full NBA Finals conversation: