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NBA Finals: Legend of LeBron James grows with Heat's Game 4 win

Even on one leg, LeBron is a heck of a ballplayer. Step aside, Willis Reed. Another limping legend has been born in the NBA Finals.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 20, 2012

But Thabo didn't know, and truth is, LeBron himself might not have known he didn't have much left, that the cramps would return. That he would in turn guard Thabo on the Thunder possessions, because LeBron was too gimpy to chase Kevin Durant or Westbrook.

That 3-point shot would be his last gasp to secure victory.

“The ball was swung to me, and the shot clock was going down,” LeBron said. “I just wanted to step up and try to make a play. I happy I was able to come through.”

Forty-two years ago, Reed limped onto the court just before Game 7 of the NBA Finals. He didn't play long; his strained groin wouldn't allow it. But Reed nailed an opening jumpshot, and his Knickerbockers blitzed the Lakers.

Same plot, only this came at game's end.

“I don't know how he did it, but … fortunately we didn't look back after that,” said the Heat's Chris Bosh. “That's what being in this Finals is about, giving everything that you have until you can't walk anymore.

“We knew that we weren't going to have anything left in the tank. And it's kind of ironic because he was the main guy that said it, ‘You should be totally exhausted after this game.' And just for him to set the example, that was huge for us.”

Well, the Heat called it, and who could argue? Moments earlier, Juwan Howard and the Heat trainer carried LeBron off the court. Oklahoma City fathers had to be planning a parade route about that time.

Then back came LeBron, and now Miami leads the series 3-1, with history and momentum and Game 5 homecourt advantage all on its side.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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