With a Shot During Which Fate Quite Literally Hung in the Balance, Kawhi Leonard Willed The Toronto Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals
Iconic. Just, iconic.
Not just because the argument can be made that the first ever Game 7 buzzer-beater was the most emotionally impactful shot in NBA history, as evidenced by the fact that it coaxed a resounding reaction out of most aesthetically apathetic athlete in all of sports...
Not just because it became more and more of a cinematic experience as each breathtaking bounce of the ball added dramatic effect to a singular moment that was made into its own scene, much like the end of every sports movie ever put to big screen...
Not just because both the immediate and long-term future of two franchises may have quite literally been hanging in the balance as a cutthroat competitor was brought to a squat by the significance of the situation and a soul-crushing beat was readying itself to drop.
Not just because it may have pulled at the heart wires of the soulless shooter turned self-aware robot in a way that might convince him to call another country home past this summer. Not just because it may have served as the last straw to an immutable malcontent that couldn't have been too happy to look like one of the few players on a young team with tons of potential that was willing to go down swinging.
Not just because it looked like as though an attempted goal-tend by a LeBron-sized ghost of postseasons' past was exorcised as the Raptors and a fanbase that's underrated in their enthusiasm finally experienced the melodramatic thrill of victory after being made the poster children for the anticlimactic agony of defeat...
Not just because it may have already aged poorly a process that's supposed to still be maturing after being damn near a decade in the making.
Not just because it punctuated a 40+ point performance for a superstar that made unforgettable a game that was otherwise anything but from an offensive standpoint.
Kawhi Leonard's game winner was iconic for all those reasons and, depending on how both this impending offseason and many seasons to come play out, potentially even more. The play, in and of itself, will go down as one of the memorable moments in the history of a league that's stopped no shortage of hearts throughout the years, but the unknown amount of miles on the wings of its butterfly effect make that timely shot far bigger than just four lucky (or unlucky, I suppose) bounces of a basketball.