Inside the College Student Athlete: NBA Finals
06.21.2016 | Sports Source: bostonglobe.com

Inside the College Student Athlete: NBA Finals

The NBA Finals from a student-athlete perspective.

So if you've been reading any of my stuff (thank you), you know that I'm a little biased towards basketball. It's what I know, and ever since I was a little kid, it's honestly been a part of who I am. A lot of people hate on the NBA, claim that college basketball is better and more fun to watch. I don't care. I love the NBA, I love the players, the coaches, even the ridiculous commentators because they all contribute to an end result that I can't get enough of.

This series between Golden State and Cleveland sucked. There was so much hate and negativity revolving around the now NBA Champion Cavaliers that even the biggest of Cavalier fans felt doomed. There was talk about how terrible the ratings would be for Games 5 & 6 because there was just no way there would be a Game 7, especially the way the Cavs had been outplayed.

But that proved to be just that, as LeBron and Kyrie willed their way to arguably the best comeback in NBA history and Cleveland's first major sports championship since 1964.

Now for any of you that watched this game, just know that it was so historic that ESPN has probably already started production for the 30 for 30 film on it. The 73-win Warriors with a choke similar to the 2007 Patriots, Kevin Love's absolute fall from grace, Kyrie's ascent into a top-10 player in this league, the storylines are endless.

The part that really stuck with me, however, was the emotions you saw on these guys' faces. You saw LeBron, the mightiest of Cavaliers (I'd say Warriors but that just doesn't seem right so I'm just gonna try and make this one work), was brought to his knees, tears streaming down his face.

JR Smith, who was probably sipping on Molly water in the final minutes, was just as emotional. That's when it really hit me, this was something that these guys may never experience again. Something that they play their whole career for: This one moment.

Here's a quick list of guys that have never won an NBA Championship: Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson, Charles Barkley.

James Jones has three.

The emotion I saw was reminiscent of the way I felt after what, at the time, I had thought to be my last high school race ever. I came from a very, very good track program. My junior year we finished as the third best public school team in the entire state of New Jersey. My senior year, I believe 10 of us went on to compete in college, and about half at the Division I level. Together we all broke countless school records and won numerous league, county, and state sectional titles.

At the State Group meet, I prepared what would be my last 200m race as a high school athlete. I didn't use blocks in this race because they wouldn't allow you to bring your own set and I was very superstitious so I just went without them, which many people look at as a stupid decision but it worked for me.

I remember as I got down into the set position, the last four years of training and races and teammates all flashed in my head. Everything that I had gone through to lead me up to this moment right here. I knew that I had to give everything that I had, and I did. I ended up running a personal record (PR), and afterwards I was so overcome with emotion that I couldn't even believe I had just finished. I was ecstatic with a PR, but also sad that it was all over.

It turns out that my race had qualified me for one additional meet, the State Meet of Champions, which obviously I was excited for but it actually made me look like an idiot because I made the whole emotional Instagram post and everything.

That feeling though after that race, I don't think will ever be matched. Even at the State Meet of Champions, I had felt like I had already come to terms with the end. You only get one last race, and in the eyes of the Cavaliers, you only get one first championship, and I just have to assume that the emotions I felt that day are similar to those the Cavaliers are feeling right now.