The 2016 NBA season began as one thing and ended up quite another. When the defending champion Golden State Warriors ran out to a record-setting win streak to begin the season, all talk centered around Steph Curry and company's legacy and the possibility of breaking the 72-win mark established by the legendary 1996 Chicago Bulls. The Warriors eventually did beat that mark by a game and rolled into the playoffs a prohibitive favorite to go back to back. Following a grueling seven game semi-final series against Oklahoma State the champs looked beatable, but after climbing to a 3-1 series lead against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, another title seemed assured. Sad LeBron! Another loss in the finals! Another Cleveland tragedy! And then it happened: Like Prometheus busting from his chains, LeBron, along with wingmen Kyrie Irvin and JR Smith, proceeded to win three straight including the last two on the road to stun the champs. In terms of changing the perception of a single athlete, franchise, or even city, perhaps Tom Brady transforming Boston into a city of winners in the 2000 Super Bowl is the only apt comparison. It was a victory that elevates James from the realm of brilliant enigma to unquestioned all-timer. The Warriors then threw more fuel on the rivalry in the off-season by adding once in a lifetime free agent Kevin Durant, creating the sort of superteam generally reserved for video game special features. With their signature antagonists in place, the league appears set for years to come.
MVP: LeBron James
Runner Up: Steph Curry