It’s been a running joke all season that the Cleveland Cavaliers are basically just LeBron James and whatever eleven random bodies GM Koby Altman was able to dig up. Still, I don’t think anybody expected the first game of the NBA Finals to underline that joke so thoroughly.
If you’ve somehow missed the recaps, here’s what happened: LeBron almost single-handedly lead the Cavs to a tie with the Golden State Warriors as the fourth quarter came to a close. With the score tied and less than five seconds on the clock, JR Smith of the Cavs grabbed a rebound and then just sat on the ball, not even attempting a shot and letting the clock run out. (Everybody assumed Smith thought the Cavs still had the lead, but today he said he thought somebody else on the team would be calling for a timeout.) LeBron was obviously furious, and the TV cameras captured an image for the ages immediately after clock hit zero. The Warriors basically crushed the Cavs in overtime, winning the first game of a series that they’re widely expected to win. LeBron basically carried his team to victory, only for a teammate’s Chris Webber-esque mistake to bring it all crashing down.
As ESPN’s Bill Barnwell tweeted:
This isn't Paste Sports, though. Basketball might be one of our favorite sports, but we're gathered here today to talk about jokes, and specifically the memes and tweets that are still flourishing today in the game's aftermath. LeBron's look of exasperation is timeless and universal; it's an image guaranteed to enter the annals of unforgettable sports moments, like Ali crowing over Liston's sprawled out body, or Bobby Orr floating parallel to the ice after his Stanley Cup-winning goal in 1970. We can all relate to his look of absolute frustration, of a trust that's been utterly denied, and perhaps fundamentally misplaced all along. Here's LeBron, the greatest player of his generation, and perhaps of all time, as openly pissed with his coworkers as any of us have ever been. And the result is a legendary meme.
Watch out, MJ.
Here are the best of the many memes and jokes floating around on Twitter today. You don't even need to understand basketball to get these. (Yes, JR, we're talking about you.)