Three life lessons NBA Finals 2016 taught us

An emotional LeBron James embraces teammate Kevin Love after the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors to become 2016 NBA Champions.

An emotional LeBron James embraces teammate Kevin Love while J. R. Smith celebrates nearby after the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors to become 2016 NBA Champions.

By Carmen Glover

It’s no secret that sports sometimes act as a metaphor for life and amid the rush of euphoria being felt by fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers who won their first NBA Championship with a decisive 93-89 victory over the Golden State Warriors, there are some important lessons to learn. The victory comes after a 52-year drought in professional team championship in Cleveland in any sport.

As NBA fans around the globe celebrate with the deserving Cavaliers (I was rooting for Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors because I admire his tattoo-free, wholesome image and his thrilling style of play) the lessons that can be derived from the results of the NBA Finals 2016 are worthy of emulation.

The Cleveland Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors and win the 2016 NBA Championship trophy.

The Cleveland Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors and win the 2016 NBA Championship trophy.

  1.  Never Give Up On Your Dreams

Throughout his life, James, 31, has been driven to succeed, propelled by a fierce desire to escape poverty, reach the pinnacle of basketball, while being an astute businessman, loyal friend, devoted father and exemplary team-mate. After a successful career at St Vincent-St. Mary High School, he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft

After failing to win an NBA championship, he bolted for Miami Heat in 2010 in a controversial ESPN special called “The Decision,” in which he famously announced that he was “taking my talents to South Beach.”  With the Heat, he won consecutive NBA championship titles in 2012 and 2013 before returning to Cleveland to lead his team to the ultimate victory last night, June 19, coming back from 3-1, a feat never before seen in the NBA Finals. “Cleveland,” James screamed as tears of joy streamed down his face, “This is for you.”

In his first year as head coach, Tyronn Lue, 37, leads the Cleveland Cavaliers to the team's first NBA Championship.

In his first year as head coach, Tyronn Lue, 39, leads the Cleveland Cavaliers to the team’s first NBA Championship.

In life, we all face disappointments, uncertainty, betrayals and what appears to be insurmountable odds but the key to true success is an unwavering impetus to keep on pushing and fighting until the bitter end. Curry and the Warriors failed miserably in that regard, which, though unfortunate, provided a poignant lesson to all viewers of the game

 2.  Leaders Set An Example

Throughout the NBA regular season and Finals, it was evident that James was frustrated with his teammates when they failed to perform according to what was expected. In the past, he took out his frustration by posting cryptic messages on social media and demonstrating questionable body language.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are 2016 NBA Champions.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are 2016 NBA Champions.

But when the team was in the 3-1 Finals hole, an epiphany occurred and the Cavaliers finally understood that they were in that hole together. Every member of the team stepped up and contributed with James, Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Richard Jefferson and Kevin Love providing pivotal, albeit inconsistent and spirited, performances. Banding together, the Cavaliers erased all questions about their supremacy and created NBA history by becoming the first team to come back from a 3 game deficit to win the championship.

With first- time head coach Tyronn Lue at the helm, the team responded, came together and were victorious. Conversely, the Warriors fell apart, in more ways than one, with Draymond Green missing game five due to a suspension and Curry being ejected during game six. Meanwhile, coach Steve Kerr, basking in the glory of a team assembled by former Knick Mark Jackson, disappeared along with Klay Thompson, Shaun Livingston and other usually productive players.

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors failed to repeat as consecutive NBA Finals Champions as LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers battled valiantly to the finish and emerged victorious.

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors failed to repeat as consecutive NBA Finals Champions as LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers battled valiantly to the finish and emerged victorious.

3.  Achieving Goals Require Grit and Focus

The Warriors got caught up in the hype after winning their first two games on home turf and stealing one in Cavaliers territory. They became complacent and sloppy, conducting themselves with a careless aura of arrogance that was shortsighted at best and immature at worst. Amid the theatrics, they forgot one important lesson: It takes single-minded focus and grit to achieve goals and you cannot rest until you taste victory.

The Cavaliers, on the other hand, were steadfast in their goal of hoisting the NBA Championship trophy. They recovered swiftly from their mistakes and remained focused on the task at hand. They played with passion and purpose. The Cleveland Cavaliers deserved to win and the lessons that their championship run taught us can be applied to every life situation. Congratulations to the Cleveland Cavaliers! Well done and thanks for the lessons!–OnPointPress.net–

 

 

Expect a thrilling NBA Finals series

Golden State Warriors' leader Stephen Curry has exemplified grace under pressure.

Golden State Warriors’ leader Stephen Curry has exemplified grace under pressure.

By Carmen Glover

When the NBA Finals series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors begins on Thursday, June 2, excitement will color the mood of the players and fans from the tip-off because both teams have something to prove.

LeBron James took his talents back to the Cleveland Cavaliers where he intends to win not one, not two, but several chamionships.

LeBron James took his talents back to the Cleveland Cavaliers where he intends to win not one, not two, but several championships.

The Warriors aim to demonstrate convincingly that their impressive, 73-game, history making, regular season numbers, and back-from-the-brink second round match up with the Oklahoma City Thunder were not anomalies. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers intend to do everything possible from preventing the Warriors from defending their title as champions.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (2) and LeBron James (23) celebrate the team's victory.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (2) and LeBron James (23) celebrate one of the team’s many victories.

In every respect, the NBA Finals series will be rich with high emotions, intense plays, edge-of-the seat drama and palpable, raw, unchecked girt. This is what the playoffs are made of, a fierce battle between competitive, evenly matched teams. After several days of relaxation from their series with the Toronto Raptors, LeBron James, Kyrie  Irving, Kevin Love and the rest of the Cavaliers squad are rearing to take the fight to the Warriors, especially since James made it very clear during the regular season that he was unimpressed with Stephen Curry being named the MVP.

The Golden State Warriors celebrate their trip to the NBA Finals.

Klay Thompson (11) and Draymond Green (center) joyously celebrate The Golden State Warriors’ second consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.

Stoic and seemingly unswayed by James’ views, the understated Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and the rest of the Warriors team have proven that they are scrappy, focused and driven to succeed. Let the games begin!–OnPointPress.net–

 

Warriors aim to repeat as NBA Champions

After a close MVP race this NBA season, James Harden (l) and Stephen Curry (r) are the clear frontrunners to win the award.

James Harden (l) and Stephen Curry (r) will continue their rivalry during the post season with game two tonight.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Golden State Warriors, toast of the NBA during the regular season, entered the post-season on a good note. The Warriors beat last season’s Western Conference opponents, the Houston Rockets, in their game opener with their star, Steph Curry, scoring 24 points before leaving the game due to a recurring ankle injury.

The Warriors started the regular season with 24 straight wins, a record in the NBA. They capped their historic season with 73 wins, setting a new record for wins in the regular season by winning one more than the Chicago Bulls in their 1990s heyday.  Anything short of an NBA title will be a major disappointment for the Warriors.

The Golden State Warriors celebrate their trip to the NBA Finals.

The Golden State Warriors celebrate their trip to the NBA Finals in 2015.

Curry, last season’s regular season MVP, was better this year despite head coach Steve Kerr missing the first half of the season recovering from back surgery. Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and others are performing well. Overall, the team played all season with a heightened level of confidence earned by winning it all last season.

This year the Warriors lost only once to a team (San Antonio Spurs) that finished in the top four in their conference. They finished second to the Spurs for the best home record in the NBA with 39 wins and just 2 losses. There is no question they are the overwhelming favorite to win the title this year.

Stephen Curry and the top seeded Golden State Warriors now know their opponent in the Western Conference Finals. Now the MVP must play at a high level to get his team to the NBA Finals.

Stephen Curry and the top seeded Golden State Warriors  are focused on repeating as NBA champions this year.

Essentially, there are no excuses for the Warriors to lose in the playoffs. Curry proved on Saturday that he could deliver results despite his ankle Injury and the same dedication is expected of his team mates. Last season, LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals minus two of his best teammates for a significant portion of the playoffs as Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving both endured serious injury during the playoffs.

Fatigue cannot be used as an excuse as the bulk of the Warriors team is in their physical prime. The Warriors they have rested players at various junctions throughout the season. They have defeated all competitors this season and there is no reason not to expect a dominant post-season performance from the defending champions. That is what an all-time great team is expected to do.–OnPointPress.net–

 

Kobe Bryant, the ultimate perimeter player, signs off

Bryant ended his career on a high note scoring 60 points in the season finale.

Bryant ended his career on a high note scoring 60 points in the season finale.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Kobe Bryant played the last game of his 20-year career for the Los Angeles Lakers amid much fanfare on Wednesday, April 13. Bryant dazzled fans, scoring 60 points as the Lakers defeated the Utah Jazz in the season finale, capping a farewell tour for Bryant that started once he made it clear he was retiring at the end of this season.

"Penny" Hardaway (left) and Grant Hill (right) were two players primed to fill the void of Jordan's departure until injuries severely altered their careers.

“Penny” Hardaway (left) and Grant Hill (right) were two players primed to fill the void of Jordan’s departure until injuries severely altered their careers.

While not accurate, it is often said that Michael Jordan passed the proverbial torch to Bryant.

The similarities between Bryant and Jordan are easy to see. Both are similar in height, position played, disposition on the court, and team success.

However, many forget that there were two superstars who were poised to follow in Jordan’s footsteps but suffered career altering injuries: Anfernee (Penny) Hardaway, and Grant Hill. Both superstars were similar to Bryant early in their careers because they had charisma, exciting talent and marketing appeal.

On the strength of two championships at Duke university, Hill emerged quickly as a superstar leading all NBA All-Star Game players in fan voting in his rookie season and soon afterwards leading the Detroit Pistons to multiple playoff appearances. Hill was a dynamic player with excellent scoring and play-making ability.

While Bryant was carving his niche early in his career, other players like Tracy McGrady (left) and Vince Carter (right) were among the guards that Bryant battled with.

While Bryant was carving his niche early in his career, other players like Tracy McGrady (left) and Vince Carter (right) were among the guards that Bryant battled with.

Hardaway also had quick success, helping to lead the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals in 1995 with Shaquille O’neal. Hardaway and Hill had huge endorsement deals and were well positioned to be pre-eminent perimeter players in the NBA upon Jordan’s second retirement in 1999.

Other perimeter player contemporaries of Bryant who entered the NBA during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s include Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, and Ray Allen.

All of these players helped lead their teams in different ways, while displaying entertaining and captivating styles of play. All of these players were also major faces in advertising, which assisted in bringing extra attention to the NBA internationally.

(I - r) Allen Iverson, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, are among the list of players Bryant had brief rivalries with during his career.

(I – r) Allen Iverson, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, are among the list of players Bryant had brief rivalries with during his career.

Bryant might have the highest international profile of all of the previous mentioned players, except Jordan, and his battles with those players helped pave the way for the current wave of perimeter All Stars. Bryant’s 20 year career has allowed him to compete with players already in the basketball Hall of Fame as well as number of players likely to land there as well.

Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, James Harden, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James headline a long list of perimeter players that have carried the torch of exciting the fans and helping fans fill the impending the void created upon Bryant’s retirement.

Bryant had a fond farewell and received respect and admiration from fans and peers throughout the night.

Bryant had a fond farewell and received respect and admiration from fans and peers throughout the night.

As Bryant retires, perimeter play is on the uptick in the NBA. The last several regular season and NBA Finals MVP have been perimeter players. Bryant reminded all spectators that current NBA fans enjoy seeing their perimeter stars score in bundles as he scored the most points by a player this season in his final game. A great ending to an even greater career.–OnPointPress.net–

 

Congrats to Allen Iverson on Hall of Fame induction

Allen Iverson is one of the 10 selected to the 2016 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Allen Iverson is one of the 10 selected to the 2016 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Allen Iverson (A.I.) was one of 10 people selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame today. Other notables include Yao Ming, Sheryl Swoopes,Tom Izzo, Jerry Reinsdorf and Shaquille O’neal. All are very deserving but none captured the hearts of the masses like Iverson.

LeBron James was asked about the basketball phenomenon ahead of Iverson’s retirement ceremony in Philadelphia in 2013 and had this to say:

AI“They say he was 6 feet, but A.I. was like 5-10½. Do we even want to say 160? 170 [pounds]? Do we even want to give him that much weight? And he played like a 6-8 2-guard. He was one of the greatest finishers we’ve ever seen. You could never question his heart. Ever. He gave it his all. A.I. was like my second-favorite player growing up, after [Michael Jordan] MJ.”

It is clear that Iverson is revered by fans and former colleagues. Comments from some of today’s best players confirm the respect he has earned. Dwyane Wade added these comments recently:

Iverson has received a great deal of praise from many who appreciated the way he played the game.

Iverson has received a great deal of praise from many who appreciated the way he played the game.

“My favorite moment is getting a chance to play against him for the first time in preseason, it was in Puerto Rico. I got a chance to be around him the night before and it was a cool experience for me. I got a chance to play with him in the Olympics after my rookie year. I got to be around him as well. He’s just a real cool guy, someone who came in and just loved the game of basketball, gave everything he had to it.”

Iverson was a personal favorite going back to his days as a member of the Georgetown Hoyas and has been as influential off the court as he was on the court. Iverson’s Reebok sneaker line has been one of the most successful of all time. Congratulations to all of the Hall of Fame inductees, especially Allen Iverson.–OnPointPress.net–

Golden State Warriors win 2015 NBA title, Iguodala is MVP, after magical season

The Golden State Warriors shoed teamwork is needed to win NBA Finals 2015.

The Golden State Warriors showed that teamwork is needed to win NBA Finals 2015.

Stephen Curry has led his team with humility and poise.

Stephen Curry has led his team with humility and poise.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Golden State Warriors responded to a 2 -1 series deficit by winning three consecutive games to win their first NBA Championship since 1975 with a final score of 105 – 97 on Tuesday, June 16 in Cleveland. Regular season MVP Stephen Curry led the team with 25 points in the game, but the Warriors got great production from forwards Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green. Green notched a triple-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists while Iguodala tied the team’s lead in scoring with 25 points and was named NBA Finals MVP.

Golden State Warriors' leader Stephen Curry has exemplified grace under pressure.

Golden State Warriors’ leader Stephen Curry has exemplified grace under pressure.

LeBron James finished the game with a near triple-double himself scoring 32 points with 18 rebounds and 9 assists. The Cavaliers clearly missed the injured Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love as they struggled to find consistent production throughout the series. The Warriors were able to capitalize on 16 turnovers by the Cavaliers to generate good ball movement that resulted in 28 team assists for the game.

Andre Iguodala was named NBA Finals MVP, beating out self-proclaimed "best player in the world" Lebron James from the Cleveland Caveliers.

Andre Iguodala was named NBA Finals MVP, beating out self-proclaimed “best player in the world” Lebron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In the battle of first year NBA head coaches, the Warriors’ Steve Kerr was able to out-strategize the Cavaliers’ David Blatt. The series shifted after Kerr’s game 4 decision to start Iguodala and the Warriors never looked back. In all fairness to Blatt, the Cavaliers were not left with many options after losing Irving during game one, but the team still had their chances in the series. Cleveland has nothing to be ashamed of as they played valiantly through adversity and received extraordinary efforts from their leader James. One can only wonder what the series would have looked like if the Cavaliers were healthier.

Former Golden State Warriors Coach Mark Jackson set the foundation for the team's successful 2014-2015 season and NBA 2015 Finals win.

Former Golden State Warriors Coach Mark Jackson set the foundation for the team’s successful 2014-2015 season and NBA 2015 Finals win.

On the other hand, the win caps off a magical season for Curry, who becomes just the third point guard to earn regular season MVP honors and win the NBA title in the same season. The splash brothers, Curry and Klay Thompson, made their former NBA playing dads, Dell Curry and Mychal Thompson, proud just in time for Father’s Day.

Steve Kerr seems like a genius, in hindsight, for spurning the New York Knicks and choosing to lead the young Golden State Warriors team that former NBA coach and current TV Analyst Mark Jackson assembled.

Steve Kerr seems like a genius, in hindsight, for spurning the New York Knicks and choosing to lead the young Golden State Warriors team that former NBA coach and current TV Analyst Mark Jackson assembled.

There will be plenty of celebrating in the Bay Area in the next couple of days after a very exciting season. Congratulations to the Warriors, 2015 NBA champions, and congratulations to St. John’s product Mark Jackson who was instrumental in implementing the winning philosophy and culture that Kerr inherited in leading a young, talented, likeable team to the pinnacle of victory..–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and licensed insurance agent with HealthMarkets. Follow him on Twitter at @GloverIsGood.

Warriors, Cavaliers face-off in historic NBA Finals matchup, who will win?

LeBron James (c) will lead the Cavaliers to Oakland to face the Golden State Warriors. Game 1 is Thursday, June 4.

LeBron James (c) will lead the Cavaliers to Oakland to face league MVP Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors for an exciting NBA Finals series. Game 1 is Thursday, June 4.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The NBA Finals are set to begin Thursday June 4, with league MVP Stephen Curry and his Golden State Warriors (67 – 15) hosting LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers (53 – 29). While the Warriors had the best record in the NBA this regular season, the Cavaliers have had the best record so far in this postseason, losing only twice. The Warriors are looking to end a 40-year NBA championship drought, while the Cavaliers are looking for the organization’s first title.

Steph Curry's (l) 3-year old daughter Riley, his wife Ayesha (c), and his mother Sonya (r) have received as much attention as the team this postseason.

Steph Curry’s (l) 3-year old daughter Riley, his wife Ayesha (c), and his mother Sonya (r) have received as much attention as the team this postseason.

The Warriors enter the NBA Finals as the favorites due to their strong regular season performance, an MVP season from their best player, and a strong postseason run of their own. Curry receives the bulk of the attention as his star power continues to rise this season, but the Warriors are a balanced team with veteran players who hope to cash in on this championship opportunity. There is no doubt that the Cavaliers game plan will center around slowing down Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors and first- year head coach Steve Kerr will spend the upcoming week preparing to counter defensive strategies against their stars.

LeBron James celebrated his 6th trip to the NBA Finals by taking a selfie with his wife Savannah, and his sons Lebron Jr. (center) and Bryce (bottom).

LeBron James celebrated his 6th trip to the NBA Finals by taking a selfie with his wife Savannah, and his sons Lebron Jr. (center) and Bryce (bottom).

The Cavaliers will be the underdogs in the NBA Finals but LeBron James is expected to be the difference maker if the team is to overcome the challenge. James is making his 6th NBA Finals appearance, 5th consecutive, and is anxious to bring a championship to Cleveland. NBA rookie head coach David Blatt has had to make numerous adjustments due to a myriad of injuries to key contributors this postseason. Blatt admits, “It’s a lot easier having James on your team.”

The Golden State Warriors celebrate their trip to the NBA Finals.

The Golden State Warriors celebrate their trip to the NBA Finals.

The Cavaliers aren’t the only ones dealing with injury concerns. Curry suffered a nasty fall in game 4, landing on his head, which required testing for a concussion. In game 5, Klay Thompson received an accidental knee to the face and suffered a concussion as the team closed out the Houston Rockets. The Warriors will take full advantage of the week off to let their stars recuperate. The Warriors will have to continue being an efficient shooting team, showing intensity on defense if they are to be victorious in the Finals.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (2) and LeBron James (23) celebrate the team's victory.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (2) and LeBron James (23) celebrate the team’s victory.

Kyrie Irving will also benefit from the week-long break, as he had to miss games this postseason due to knee and ankle injuries. The Cavaliers have seen mid-season acquisitions J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Timothy Mosgov contribute to the team’s success this playoff season. Tristan Thompson and Matthew Delavadova have also been key in the Cavaliers’ victories so far. James will have to continue playing at an exceptionally high level since most of his teammates are making their first NBA Finals appearance.

If the Warriors win the championship, Curry will likely be the Finals MVP as well.

If the Warriors win the championship, Curry will likely be the Finals MVP as well.

The NBA Finals looks to be exciting as both teams play at a fast pace and have players with the ability to have huge performances. OnPointPress.net’s  editorial director is picking the Warriors to win the NBA Finals with Curry being the Finals MVP, calling the Warriors “the team of destiny.”

James is looking to add his 3rd NBA Finals trophy to his collection.

James is looking to add his 3rd NBA Finals trophy to his collection.

This writer is picking the Cleveland Cavaliers to win their first NBA championship and LeBron James to win his third NBA Finals trophy. Either way, the NBA Finals should be compelling.

Share your NBA Finals pick on our social media sites with re-tweets to support the Warriors and favorites in support of the Cavaliers.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a licensed insurance agent with HealthMarkets. Follow me @GloverIsGood on Twitter.com.