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Saturday Sports: NBA Finals, Tom Brady's Concussions

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Could three be a charm for one of two teams, not to mention fans? Howard Bryant of espn.com and ESPN the Magazine joins us now. Good morning, Howard.

HOWARD BRYANT, BYLINE: Good morning, Scott. How are you?

SIMON: How am I? Well, listen...

BRYANT: Are you better than the Boston Celtics?

SIMON: Well, I don't want to make any jokes. They're a fine team. But all the little kids going up on the skid say Cleveland rocks today. Did you see that game? They won by, like, 104 points. No.

BRYANT: Yeah, it was a destruction. It was a demolition. And to think that the Red - that the Cleveland Cavaliers had - are the actual two seed because they played very poorly down the stretch, and the Celtics are the one seed. This is somewhat surprising. You're looking at two games where the Celtics were down 61-39 at the half in game one, and they were down 72 to 31...

SIMON: Yeah.

BRYANT: ...In the second - at halftime last night. And they haven't had the lead at all in either of these two games. And I think that what you have here is you have two teams - you have Golden State and you have Cleveland - that have been eyeing each other ever since last year's final. And right now they are on a collision course to play. It's never happened in NBA history where you've had two teams play each other three times in a row for the championship. And they are just head and shoulders above everybody else right now.

SIMON: I have to say, LeBron, who, interestingly, not even on the list of nominees for most valuable player this year, seems to be in a whole new dimension. I mean, three blocks last night. You know, people go up figuring, you know, they've got a layup in hand and he takes it away from them. And Golden State seems to be in another dimension, too.

BRYANT: Well, and they are. I think that, obviously, you feel bad for Kawhi Leonard and you feel bad for San Antonio because let's remember that San Antonio was a 61-win team this year. And their best player got hurt. They were up by 23 points over Golden State when Kawhi Leonard got hurt. And then they've been demolished ever since. They've been outscored by I think 68 points ever since. And so when you're looking at this series, that injury has changed everything.

And it's not as though San Antonio has had no chance against Golden State. That injury was a very big deal. But both of these teams are undefeated, Golden State and Cleveland. And let's not forget that Cleveland was down last year. They were down three games to one. Golden State had won 73 games. And everything has changed since game five of last year. And I think one other thing is worth noting, Scott, in that we have our nostalgia. We have - everyone has their era. As you listen to the old-timers talk about how, well, nothing, nobody was better than Wilt Chamberlain or nobody was better than Bill Russell.

But when you're looking at what LeBron James is doing right now - yes, I'm going to say it - he's doing everything that Michael Jordan has done. And by the time his career is over, I'm not sure that you're going to be able to say that Michael Jordan was the greatest player of all time.

SIMON: Even I will agree with that.

BRYANT: (Laughter).

SIMON: Gisele Bundchen made some news this week. Her husband, Tom Brady, the great Super Bowl quarterback, she said suffered concussions last year. If that's true, the Patriots concealed it.

BRYANT: Well, and not a surprise, necessarily, because football is a very dangerous game. Who doesn't have a concussion in football? The surprise is the fact that in Tom Brady's 17-year career he's never been on the - even on the injury list for having any sort of head injury. But then again, very rarely do they do that with any of the quarterbacks.

I thought that Tom Brady's agent, Don Yee, did a wonderful job of staying clear of his wife, of Gisele, when she - when he gave his statement because it said that he had never been diagnosed with a concussion.

SIMON: Right.

BRYANT: And so this is football. And I think that the message being sent by Mrs. Tom Brady was very clear that you may want to play until you're 45 years old, but your body may not want you to do it, and I certainly don't want you to do it.

SIMON: Yeah. Howard Bryant of ESPN, thanks very much.

BRYANT: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.