Kawhi Leonard's rise led to Heat's fall

A player wearing a Spurs uniform who silently redefines the understanding of what a dynasty is. A player who is not concerned about being known, not trying to be seen, heard, exploited or exposed, pimped or controlled. One who is not trying to claim the moniker of "LeBron Stopper," make the cover of Sports Illustrated or be given accolades from his opponent, such as when Michael Jordan said no one guarded him better than Joe Dumars. One who is not trying to be the new generation's Dr. J or Scottie Pippen -- even though there are eerie flashes of both in Leonard's game. (Dr. J and Pippen are often the first names out of old-school hoop connoisseur mouths when Leonard is pushing himself past his own limits.)

Leonard is the player who seems to tip the scale in making this Spurs squad the best in the organization's history. Even with past players such as Mario Elie, Sean Elliott, Robert Horry and Stephen Jackson, the Spurs have never had a player like Leonard on any of their championship rosters. Leonard turned the Big Three into a Fab Four. It makes them the one Spurs squad that could beat the other championship squads in franchise history if they were to mythically play each other in the Finals. Kawhi completes them.

Much will be made about LeBron and how he -- despite playing far better than anyone else in a Heat uniform -- didn't do enough to stop his team from getting embarrassed and exposed. Still, something should be said about the symbolism of his figuratively passing the trophy to the Spurs and passing the torch to Kawhi. Because, as James led his defeated unit to the Spurs' end of the court while time was still ticking off the clock, the first person he wrapped his arms around to congratulate was Leonard.

James knew what we all know now.

ESPN/ABC promised in their promotion of these Finals: A Champion Will Rise.

As did a star.

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