LeBron James had an absolutely massive block on Tiago Splitter last night while spearheading a fourth quarter run that turned a close game into an absolute blowout. The momentum had certainly already shifted into the Heat’s favor, but the block ignited the crowd and seemed to be the moment that the Spurs realized they had no chance at mounting a comeback, not with King James playing as well as he was.
The block has gone absolutely viral, and understandably so. LBJ made Splitter look a chump after he turned what would have been a monster dunk into one of the most enjoyable highlights of his career. Everything about the block was perfect, from the all-ball contact that he made after elevating to that patented LeBron stare-into-the-crowd-with-an-angry-look thing that he does after he makes these types of monster plays.
You can check out the video below:
In a day and age where everything is about ranking and contextualizing what happened today with what’s happened in the past, it’s only natural that we review some of the best dunks in recent memory to see just where the most recent LeBron James masterpiece fits in the grand scheme of things.
“Is that a steal or a block!?”:
This JaVale McGee block is insane. Wesley Matthews drives to the hoop, goes up for the dunk, and in the blink of an eye the ball in in McGee’s hand. Not only is he in poor position to make a defensive play under the basket, but he somehow manages to pull off an absolute heist and snatch the ball out of Matthews’ hands. Is it a steal? Is it a block? Does it even matter?
Tayshaun Denies Miller For The Playoff Win:
This is almost certainly the best playoff block of all time. Let’s review. Reggie Miller has a breakaway. The Pacers are down two points and the basket would tie up the game with under twenty seconds to go. Tayshaun Prince somehow finds the speed to catch Miller, with his last few steps actually seeming to defy the laws of gravity in physics as he covers that last stretch to the basket in the blink of an eye. The Pistons went on the win the Eastern Conference Finals series against the Pacers and later the championship. This play is now simply known as “The Block.”
Ellis Pulls Off A Highway Robbery:
Yes. This is a LaPhonso Ellis highlight. I bet you thought you wouldn’t ever hear his name again, but now you did. The McGee block was very reminiscent of this block by Ellis, but it seems that LaPhonso did it a tad better. He saw the opposing player — who’s identity can not be confirmed — driving for the dunk. He slid into position, jumped, placed his massive hand on the ball, and casually came down with the ball resting against his hip. That’s about as smooth of a block as you’re ever going to see. And for bonus points, teammate Dikembe Mutombo points at the shamed player just at the end of the video.
Maxiell Does What He Does Best:
It is hard to comprehend how quickly Maxiell elevated after Chris Paul’s seemingly perfect pass for the alley-oop. Jason Maxiell doesn’t light up the stat sheet, but he’s a strong player who’s known for his very physical and very strong play, which leads to a lot of blocks and dunks just like this one. This Maxiell block on Shannon Brown is equally as impressive, as is this dunk on Carlos Boozer.
MJ Ends The Game In Standard MJ Fashion:
Yes, this is a Michael Jordan highlight from his time with the Wizards. Yes, he’s playing his former team, the Chicago Bulls. With less than 20 seconds left in the game, Jordan seems to pull a Tayshaun Prince and cover those last few steps in half a second before using both hands to pin the would-be-dunk against the backboard and erase the Bulls’ hopes of beating their former star.
This just a small sampling of some of the greatest blocks in NBA history. So where does LeBron’s rejection stack up in the big picture? Probably not very well. In my personal opinion, all five blocks above are better than The King’s swat, and chances are that many others are too. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t get excited about a monster play from the best player in the game during an NBA Finals matchup, but it does mean that we should be careful about throwing around terms like “best block of all time.”