The NBA Finals is a time of high stakes. Legacies can be made and broken, and a player's whole career can hinge on their pursuit of glory.
Not every player is as lucky as LeBron James to enjoy seven trips to the promise land, either. It appears for all the ferocity and intensity surrounding the season-ending affair, the opposing players aren't totally bereft of some heart for each other.
Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut has spared a thought for Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love after the latter missed game three with a concussion on Wednesday.
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Bogut, who suffered a concussion on October 27 and wasn't cleared to return until November 9, knows all about the side-effects that can spawn from the dangerous injury.
However, the Australian appears more concerned with the public's perception of the knock and he insists that as much as Love will be desperate to suit up again in these Finals, there's life beyond basketball.
"There's probably people calling Kevin Love soft, and those people are idiots," Bogut said, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN. "You don't mess around with the brain. ... You can be a hero now in the NBA Finals in 2016, and in 2021 you will be sucking food through a straw. And you won't give a [expletive] about what you did in 2016."
Bogut missed 13 days with his concussion and if Love was to follow those guidelines, then the former Minnesota Timberwolves star wouldn't be available until game seven on June 20, if the series gets that far.
Of course, Love is a competitor and "lobbied" against the decision to keep him sidelined for Cleveland's 120-90 game three victory, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com.
His coach, Tyronn Lue, told the press after practice on Thursday that Love's status for game four is undecided at this point. The Quicken Loans Arena will play host to the fourth game in the series tonight and the Cavaliers have the opportunity to level the tie if they can inflict back-to-back losses on the reigning NBA champions, a feat that has only occurred once this season.
Lue informed the media that there are several hoops for Love to jump through before he can get back out on the floor.
"After the workout, it has to take 24 hours for the NBA protocol," Lue said. "So once he works out today, it takes 24 hours to see him again to see if everything adds up. I'm not sure what goes into it. But now he had a great workout, and now it takes 24 hours to come and re-evaluate him."
If the NFL and wrestling have taught us anything, it's that concussions are serious business. Let's hope common sense prevails and Love's health is put first.