The Big Three-Oh: #27

Welcome to “The Big Three-Oh!” I’m turning 30 at the end of July and to celebrate, I am counting down my best/favorite sports moments in my lifetime. If you missed the kickoff post, check it out for the background for the seriesI‘m continuing the list with one of the best plays I’ve ever seen in sports history. It happened in maybe the best NBA Finals I’ve ever seen. At #27, it’s LeBron James and “The Block”

#27 — LeBron James’ “The Block” as the Cavs Come Back from down 3-1 to the Warriors the 2016 NBA Finals

An iconic moment from LeBron in the Cavs’ only title out of the four straight Finals appearances between 2015 to 2018. The 2016 Finals are still talked about to this day because of the 73-win Warriors not converting on a 3-1 series lead. I vividly remember going to the Fieldhouse in Center City to watch the second half of this. I’d just had dinner with my dad for Father’s Day and as soon as dinner ended, I had to go to a bar. I had to experience this game with other people.

Those playoffs had been pretty wild to follow from start to finish, especially on the Western Conference side of things. The Warriors themselves had to claw back from trailing 3-1 to the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals so the rematch of the combative 2015 Finals came in with all the hype in the world. But those first four games, particularly Game 4, felt deflating with the Warriors so easy winning three games. After they pushed to the brink in the WCF, I came in thinking the Finals would be a slugfest and I’m sure I wasn’t alone in that thought. What made this game so special was it ultimately proved the initial thoughts I had going into the series: a back-and-forth game. The fact that the icing on the cake happened to be one of the greatest plays ever is our just desserts.

So now why only 27? Well for as iconic of a play/moment the 2016 Finals are, I was only an observer in this adventure. The Cavs aren’t my team and I’m not the biggest LeBron fan in the world. As awesome as this moment was, my connection isn’t that large to this moment. Especially, compared to entries that will appear higher on this list. It is completely subjective, after all. Objective, it is one of the greatest plays ever given the circumstances. But for me, it lands as my 27th favorite.

Today’s Instagram Athlete

Nine years ago to count down the days until my 21st birthday, I posted a picture of athletes wearing the corresponding number of days left to Facebook. While I did not have an Instagram account back in 2011, I have one now so I’ll be revisiting this idea in conjuncture with Top 30 Sports Moments. FOLLOW MY INSTAGRAM SO YOU DON’T MISS IT

Aaron Nola is today’s athlete for #27. Originally, Ron Hextall occupied this spot but Nola quickly became one of my favorite Phillies when he got called up in 2015. A mainstay of the starting rotation, Nola had an incredible 2018 campaign and while he didn’t get completely back to the level last year, Nola was still one of the bright spots for most of a disappointing 2019 Phillies season. Nola starts quickly became appointment television for me and if I can get the chance to go down to CBP to see him pitch in-person, even better. #GueaxPhils

(cover photo via)

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