Windhorst, a fellow St. Vincent-St. Mary alum, and James would be destined to cross paths for the next 19 years. In the same year James was the youngest player in the NBA, Windhorst was the league’s youngest beat writer for the Akron Beacon Journal.
Tonight, Windhorst and James intersect once again for Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The ESPN writer briefly put down the pen to talk to us about Game 4, LeBron’s future and the Cavs’ magic championship season of 2016.
Q: Kevin Durant “LeBronned” the Cavs in Game 3 of the Finals. What do you expect for Game 4 tonight?
A: Typically when the other team’s star player [Steph Curry] misses 10 straight 3’s you win the game. The Warriors have an MVP redundancy. In the modern NBA we’ve never seen anything like it. Last year, the stress was off the Cavs after Game 3 and they had a great Game 4. But I’m quite certain Kyrie Irving won’t be scoring 40 points for them this year. I think [the Cavs] know the score. They really feel they could be up 2-1 but they’re not.
Q: Many are saying that tonight will mark James’ final Cleveland appearance as a member of the Cavs. What are your thoughts?
A: He knows who the Cavs are and he knows what they have. It’s red meat to say he’s going to be leaving the team after this series. It’s a really complex decision he has to make. Things change very quickly in the NBA in June and July. There’s an assumption out there that he knows what he’s going to do. Whatever he does will involve compromise.
Q: If James does leave, what will be his legacy here?
A: This is a living legend, and you should honor him in the time he is here. I’ve recommended the plaza between Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena be named LeBron James Plaza with a statue of LeBron making that block in Game 7 against the Warriors in 2016. There were so many nights downtown Cleveland was filled with a glow because of LeBron. The time has come to celebrate him.
Q: You co-authored the 2017 book Return of the King: LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Greatest Comeback in NBA History with Dave McMenamin. What was it like to experience that remarkable win over the Warriors?
A: Most sports fans live in the moment but the difficulties [the Cavs] have had the last two years makes 2016 even more special. I think that championship banner should be made four times bigger because it’s worth more than one. It’s one of the great memories of my career and something that is self-sustaining for decades. One of the most emotional scenes I’ve ever seen were the thousands of fans pushed up against that fence at [Cleveland] Hopkins [International] Airport when they came home with the trophy. It’s a gift that was shared communally.
2:30 PM EST
June 8, 2018