Y'all remember sports? Man sports were awesome. Especially when they end on plays like this. The natural drama, the raw emotion, souls crushed, dreams torn from the mantle of reality and smashed like your grandmother's vase when you're playing with a ball in the living room despite the fact your mother told you repeatedly not to play with said ball indoors. There have been plenty of game winning shots throughout the history of the NBA. Even in recent history there have been a couple big dick, nut-dragging series winning shots. But this Kawhi one, especially in retrospect, feels career-defining since we know what it ultimately led to.
Jordan's shot over Craig Ehlo won a series. And because of the titles he racked up later in his career we associate that moment with him being a winner. He didn't win a ring until two years after that shot over Ehlo. Kawhi won a ring a month after this shot. Speaking of this shot: what a terrible shot. This is the best play Nick Nurse had with a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals on the line? It worked, obviously, but there had to be something a little better than "be covered by Philadelphia's best defender and dribble into a double team of their second best, substantially taller defender." Again, it worked, it shouldn't have, but it worked. They got the ball in the hands of their best player and he took care of the rest. Sometimes that's all you need. He rose up, put more arc on his shot because - again - Joel Embiid was in his face, and hit every inch of that rim before that ball fell in.
Too many game winners go directly in for my liking. Like all of Damian Lillard's? Nothing but net. BOR-ING. This ball bounces for an hour if you're a fan of either of these teams. I think it pauses long enough that the refs considered blowing their whistles and ruling a jump ball. And finally, it rolls in, like Bugs Bunny using a magnet to sink Jordan's golf ball to bring him to Looney Tune Land. I still don't understand the science behind how a giant magnet would be able to have such control over a golf ball, but I'm no physicist. Anyway, hopefully during every other anniversary this shot has will be accompanied by live playoff games that night. Because I fucking miss this shit.