Ring Don't Lie

LeBron James Does Cool Dunk; Fans of Cool Dunks Go “Yes!”

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after a play in the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday in Cleveland.

Getty Images

With the Warriors and Cavaliers combining to score 154 points in the first half, Friday’s Game 4 had the feel of an All-Star Game from the start. And then LeBron did this in the third quarter:

I can’t decide what the best part of this play is. Is it the borderline-sociopathic level of calm LeBron displays while executing one of the most insane dunks in finals history? Or is it Mike Breen, who manages to call such an absurd sequence—“James, drives, scoop layup, PASS TO HIMSELF, AND HE THROWS IT DOWN!”—without missing a beat?

Actually, I know what my favorite part is: It’s Tristan Thompson getting dunked on by his own teammate while trying to snare the offensive rebound but then realizing his mistake and holding up his hands as if to say, “Sorry I almost ruined your cool dunk there, Mr. James. My bad.”

This isn’t the first time someone has thrown themselves an alley-oop off the backboard in the middle of a game. There is precedent for this, and it was mostly set by Tracy McGrady, who was ahead of the curve in realizing that this is one of the coolest of all cool dunks:

Needless to say, no one had ever done this in a finals game before.

After the game, LeBron—who was wearing a shirt made from the floor of Twin Peaks’ Red Room—described his thought process:

I think it was a transition play. I believe it was Kyle [Korver] on my right side that was running the wing and two of their players were back. I was trying to engage one of them so I could get Kyle a shot in the corner, and they both went to Kyle I believe. I got caught in the air, so that’s the only thing I could think of. I didn’t want to travel, and Draymond was kind of playing Double T [Tristan Thompson]. Double T kind of had his back towards me, so I just threw it off the glass and went and got it.

“I just threw it off the glass and went and got it.” LeBron, you fool! Now everyone will know how to throw an alley-oop to themselves. Also, it was Kevin Love running to the corner, not Kyle Korver. But hey, we’ve all made that mistake.

Because this dunk was so cool, the highlight truthers are bound to come after it with their pitchforks and their slow-motion replays. To get ahead of their inevitable slander, please note the following:

  1. It was not a travel.
  2. It was not a carry.
  3. It was not an offensive foul.
  4. It was not a double-dribble.
  5. LeBron did not kick anyone in the nuts.

In conclusion, the cool dunk was cool. I hope you enjoyed it.

Update, June 10: Here are the slow-motion replays. Still cool.