Pre-game rituals are some of the best stories in sports.
Everyone knows about Wade Boggs and his love for chicken before every single game, Kevin Garnett’s stanchion head-butt, the Ray Lewis Dance, and heck, even Jason Giambi’s gold thong.
But LeBron James, famous for the chalk-toss, has been following a new ritual during these playoffs.
ESPN’s Chris Broussard claims that James has watched “The Godfather Part II” SIX TIMES this postseason, with his latest viewing coming – you guessed it – right before last night’s big Game 5 win, which also just so happened to be an all-time performance from James.
Also, it just so happens that “The Godfather Part II” is home to one of the greatest lines ever from Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone:
“I don’t feel I have to wipe everybody out, Tom. Just my enemies.”
Think LeBron’s ears perked up on that one? It definitely showed!
Now, watching “The Godfather Part II” six times might seem a bit excessive – scratch that, it IS excessive – it seems like it’s starting to pay off for LeBron and co. It also looks like tonight, tomorrow night, and just before game time on Thursday could be prime-time movie watching for the King.
With that being said, it’s clear that “The Godfather Part II” is a LeBron’s go-to pre-game motivation flick – but what about the rest of the Cavs? How about the Warriors?
We don’t deem ourselves movie experts, but we think that these cinema masterpieces could be beneficial for the following players:
Let’s start by stating the obvious: Kyrie Irving went OFF last night. 41 points on 71% shooting is absolutely insane, especially in the NBA Finals. So how do you keep up the motivation and drive heading back to Cleveland? Fire up the latest Star Wars installment. Why? More like why not? After Han Solo sees his unfortunate end, it’s Chewbacca – perhaps the best side-kick in cinema history – who leads Rey and Fin back to safety and takes a shot at Kylo Ren. Perhaps Kyrie can take a page out of Chewy’s book and step-up again – especially if LeBron isn’t clicking.
Okay, this choice has nothing to do with that fact that “Love” is in the title. Think about it, though: the movie’s main character, Peter Klaven – a man with no friends – searches for that one person he can bro-out with. Despite his numerous rejections or friendships that haven’t worked out, Peter doesn’t give up hope in making a friend. Same should go for Love mending things with LeBron. Though he was non-existent in Game 5 (2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist – but a +18), we think if Kevin gives the movie a shot, he could learn quite a few things.
How do these two go hand-in-hand? I’m glad you asked. “Finding Nemo” is not only a great movie, but one of the most quotable. We think that Dory’s famous line for positivity, “just keep swimming,” could be what JR needs to hear – though we assume he’ll hear it and spin it off as “just keep shooting.” Smith is shooting an abysmal 16/41 (39%) in the NBA Finals, with his best game coming in Game 3’s 20 pt, 7/13 performance at home. So if you see JR mouthing “just keep shooting” after a few 3’s on Thursday, then you know where he got the inspiration.
“Are you not entertained?!” Stephen Curry shouts as he nails a three in the deciding game, bringing a championship back to Oakland… You can see it happening, can’t you? After a lackluster Game 5 performance, we think watching this movie could channel Russell Crowe’s Maximus for Steph and provide some inspiration. When Curry’s on, he’s just about as lethal as Maximus in that epic fight scene.
This seems perfect – a story about two best friends overcoming challenges to save the day. Klay is clearly the Buzz to Steph’s Woody, and if last night was any indication, he can launch three’s from infinity and beyond. If anything, this movie is a classic! And you know Klay will be singing “You Got A Friend In Me” if he needs to step up for Steph again.
“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” You better believe Draymond Green is going to be ready to play in Game 6. Perhaps countering LeBron’s “Godfather II” ritual could have some kind of reverse effect – after all, Michael Corleone DOES meet his end in the movie’s finale. We saw what the Cavs were able to do against a Draymond-less Warriors team, but they shouldn’t get too comfortable – just when they thought Draymond was out, he’s coming right back.