Every basketball fan loves watching the greatest athletes go head to head against each other. In 2009, two of the NBA’s most popular players of all-time were almost matched up against each other in the Finals. LeBron James won the Most Valuable Player award that year and carried the Cleveland Cavaliers to 66 wins and 15 losses. He averaged 28.4 points, 7.2 assists, and 7.6 rebounds per game that year. Arguably the greatest player of all-time, LeBron James, had a chance to play Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, but he had to go through Dwight Howard’s Orlando Magic in the Eastern Finals to get there.
The series went to six games and unfortunately for basketball fans, the Cavaliers were knocked out of the playoffs. Although King James went ballistic putting up 49 points in Game 1, 41 points in Game 3, and 44 points in Game 4, the Cavs were simply undermanned. The Cavaliers’ second-best player that year was Mo Williams, which is all you need to know. The Orlando Magic were a solid team. They had an inside presence, which the Cavaliers did not have and had shooters throughout their roster. JJ Redick, Hedo Türkoğlu, and Jameer Nelson were right there to knock it down whenever the Cavs decided it was time to double team Dwight Howard.
There are two main reasons why this would have been the most entertaining Finals matchup ever:
1) LeBron James and Kobe Bryant were both in their PRIMES
Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are recognized as the game’s top players. In 2009, LeBron took home the MVP, but right behind him was Kobe Bryant who had the second-most votes. These two players are amongst the most popular players of ALL-TIME. They both have their fair share of hardware and are looked up to by millions which would have made the matchup a must-see.
Take a look at their incredible highlights from the 2008-09 season:
2) The Fans Wanted the Matchup
Here’s some examples:
LeBron and Kobe faced each other earlier in the 2008-09 season, and it was a spectacular showcase from each of them. This was also in the midst of the MVP battle and each player was trying to make their case of who deserves it. Check it out below: