I would have wagered anything. Even with a 102-degree temperature, even with dried contacts, even with a lump of phlegm wedged in my throat, even with everything feeling vaguely white and hazy —
They started reviewing the play. We whirled around and studied replays on our undersized monitor. Unbelievable. Never touched either line. You could compare it to only one other NBA shot: Kareem’s walk-off sky hook in Game 6 of the 1974 Finals, which saved Milwaukee at the buzzer in double overtime. If Kareem missed it, Boston took the title. If he made it, Milwaukee hosted Game 7. He made it. One problem: The Celtics flew to Milwaukee and won the title there, anyway.
This time around, Ray Allen saved Miami’s season and swung the title.
I love so many things about the NBA, but over everything else, it’s those moments when you know you’re seeing something special — something that will get replayed forever, something that lets you say, “Yeah, I was there,”
And here’s what happens when you’re there: You’re crammed around a basketball court watching these physical freaks bring out the best in each other, and occasionally, something unbelievable happens, and it creates this sound that can’t even really be described. It’s the single best sound, actually.
You know what happened next.
Instead, I returned to my hotel room, cranked the thermostat to 80 and crashed. I stayed in bed for the next 36 hours. I lost six pounds. I finished the first half of Season 5 of Breaking Bad.
Around 4 p.m. the following afternoon, the TV adrenaline started kicking in. We were five hours away from Game 7. I took another hot shower, shaved my face, slipped on a wrinkled suit, knotted a colorful tie,