2014 Finals could be best ever

Five historical factors indicate Spurs-Heat II may top 1987 Celtics-Lakers Finals

Updated: June 5, 2014, 2:31 PM ET
By Bradford Doolittle | ESPN INsider

It's doubtful that the notion of legacy has any kind of impact for the combatants in this year's Finals. (LeBron James went so far as to tell reporters Wednesday that the topic was "stupid.") But for fans, this year's Finals matchup has a chance to be special in terms of historical context. From a historical standpoint, there are several markers in place that could leave us considering whether this was the best Finals matchup ever. Ever? Yes.

Note that for this exercise we'll be dismissive of pre-merger Finals matchups, some of which were epic in their own right. But they came in a smaller NBA, both in terms of the number of teams in the league and the reach of the brand. Until the early 1980s, there wasn't any guarantee that you were even going to see a postseason game in real time -- many of the best matchups were shown via tape delay. In the end, I just see the pre-merger NBA as a different animal. Of course, if the games simply stink or one team sweeps, then this point will be rendered moot. Indeed, the margins of victory, or the number of games a series lasts, have a direct impact on how much we enjoy and how we remember a series, but those factors aren't everything. 

Let's take a look five factors that indicate the 2014 Finals have all the makings of the most epic of NBA championship confrontations.