Unlike Every Non-Biased Basketball Fan, Victor Oladipo Has No Idea What Would've Happened If LeBron James Were Called For Goaltending In Game 5
“Nah, I’ll never get over that because at the end of the day, if they call that goaltending, who knows what happens? I think we win that game, honestly, but it is what it is. I can’t really do anything about it now. Next year I’m gonna just make sure I dunk it.” - Victor Oladipo (h/t Get Up!)
For a refresher, here's both the play in question and the play that followed...
I'm quite sure he's been made aware of the most basic of math an incalculable amount of times, but the following is my own personal effort at saving Victor Oladipo from a lifetime of completely unnecessary anxiety.
The only thing that would have been made different by the goaltending call that wasn't was the amount of pain felt by both the Pacers and their fans as LeBron stole from them a victory instead of merely the unknown of an overtime period. I'm not one to stand in defense of NBA officiating, especially when it comes playoff time, but all the referees altered with their incompetence was the height from which the hopes of the Indiana faithful were set to fall.
I'm all for a good hypothetical, but let's save them for instances in which the butterfly effect would have at least changed the point of entry on one single in-bounds pass. We all like to fudge the numbers while playing the "what if..." game from time to time, but the only "what if..." that mattered on that particular night was "what if LeBron James was actually human?".
Simply put, considering the casualness with the best player in the sport pulled up to the three point line and drained both a buzzer beater and the soul from the opposing bench that looked on in disbelief, there's no way you can convince me that being up two measly points at the time would have altered the trajectory of history. Victor Oladipo could have dunked that ball and spent the entire ensuing timeout hugging it, kissing it, and promising it the world in exchange for one clank off the iron, and it still would have been used as the weapon of his destruction. I don't discouraging lying to one's self about what could have been, but in the case of LeBron James Vs. The Eastern Conference you'd have to declare your independence from reality not to see that inevitable truth as self-evident.