One of the great things about the Lakers vs. Celtics series is that they aren’t just playing for a title, they are playing for legacy. There is so much at stake in Game 7 that the repercussions will be felt for a very long time:
For Kobe Bryant:
Bean is fighting tooth and nail to get on the Mount Rushmore of the NBA. He obviously has the most to gain and the most to lose. A 5th title over his bitter rival will vault him into the conversation of one of the greatest basketball players that ever lived. A loss drops his Finals record to 4-3 — and his critics, fair or not, will have a field day.
For The Big 3:
With the Big 3 I like to use the Peyton Manning comparison (and Brett Favre, to a lesser extent ). One title gets you out of the Barkley category (or Dan Marino category, if you want to follow the NFL analogy), but it doesn’t quite put you up there with the greats of the greats.
Manning will end up with a lot of records, but if he never wins a 2nd championship, people will always think something was missing, similar to Favre.
When you think of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce, all three of them will probably end up in the Hall of Fame, but a second ring just pushes them up another notch not just in NBA lore, but Celtics lore.