Thunder vs. Heat: Was LeBron James' Game 4 Among the Most Heroic Finishes Ever?

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IJune 20, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 19:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat is tended to by medical staff and teammates Juwan Howard #5 while he suffered from cramping in the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Four of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 19, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

You have to hand it to Miami's LeBron James, who played through the pain in Game 4 and limped onto the floor to make what could go down as the biggest shot in his career, a three-pointer with 2:50 left that gave the Heat a 97-94 lead.

So much for James not performing in the clutch, but while his efforts were heroic, were they among the most heroic of all time?

Not a chance.

LeBron limping on the court for a minute or two doesn't touch the likes of Isiah Thomas playing on one leg, Michael Jordan playing with the flu or Willis Reed limping through the tunnel of Madison Square Garden.

Those are just NBA examples.

While James' actions were indeed heroic, they don't touch those of Kirk Gibson who limped out of the tunnel in Dodger Stadium to hit one of the more memorable homers in World Series history; Kellen Winslow, who in 1982 had to be carried off the field after enduring cramps, dehydration, three stitches to his lower lip and a pinched nerve in his shoulder; or Byron Leftwich, who had to be carried down the field by his offensive lineman to complete a touchdown drive.

No, LeBron doesn't quite rank up there with those heroic moments.

Not taking anything away from LeBron's heroics, as he showed a lot of guts, but in reality, he came back in the game for under two minutes and while he hit a huge shot that helped determine the outcome of the game, he also finished the game on the bench.

A lot happened in the last minute to determine the outcome of the game with LBJ on the bench, including Mario Chalmers scoring the final five Miami points and the jump ball that resulted in Russell Westbrook's boneheaded foul.

LeBron's three was big, but ultimately it wasn't the game-winner.

All of the above mentioned performances ranked ahead of LeBron's heroics in Game 4.

In NBA circles, it's up there, but definitely not ahead of Thomas, MJ or Reed.

That's taking nothing away from what LeBron did Tuesday night, but by no means was it one of the gutsiest performances in history.

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