Give It A Rest, LeBron Lovers
Because the only thing that matters is the next series.
by Doobie Okon / @doobieSLAM
I am not a LeBron hater. Not anymore.
Sure, he lost me as a fan when I witnessed the atrocity that was The Decision, and I’ve criticized the man on many occasions here on the Dime since. But like Kobe, who I used to really despise on and off the court, I’ve grown to respect James’ game too much and in the process lost any ‘hater’ mentality.
That being said, nothing LeBron has done this season matters. At all. Did he have one of the best statistical years ever? Yes. Did he just record one of the greatest Playoff series as an individual against the Celtics? Sure. Is LeBron James the most talented athlete on the planet? Arguably so.
But we’ve seen this before. Time and time again, in fact. And still, once we get to this stage, the pundits say, “This year he’s ready.” “He’s too motivated.” “He’s on a mission.” Blah blah blah.
Does anyone remember last year, when Bron went pretty insane as well in the first three rounds of the Playoffs? I do. I was impressed, for sure. And then the Mavericks happened. And the fourth-quarter issues were severely exposed and then continued this year at times… however, Miami still arrived back at the door step. A chance for redemption, indeed.
But give it a rest though, LeBron lovers. Until this next series finishes.
Because, what if LeBron pulls the disappearing act again against OKC? What if Kevin Durant, who is right behind James for best basketball player on Earth, drains shot after shot in the fourth quarters and LeBron shrinks and passes off in crunch time?
Nothing will matter, again. He will face the same harsh criticism from the media, and the same venom from his haters. The amazing MVP season that he had, that he deserved, will ultimately be lost in the shadows of yet another failure to bring home the only trophy that matters.
LeBron has been the best player in the NBA since he stepped on to the court in 2003. He’s one of the greatest athletes and basketball players of all time. I have no issue saying that. But… it isn’t about being one of the best when it comes to an iconic player like LeBron James. It’s about being the best. The greatest. It’s about being able to compare yourself to Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and a handful of other legends who rang up all-time resumes as well as the bling. You can’t question those guys. LeBron is surrounded by questions every day.
So, it begins now. It was a long road back to this point for James, and I recognize that. I don’t buy the smiles at the end of the conference finals, because I know LeBron isn’t happy. And if he is, then there is no way he’s going to carry the Heat in the Finals. He better be hungrier than ever, for 48 minutes, for possibly seven games, because you know Kevin Durant will be.
Now, of course, all of that can change if James indeed continues this torrid streak of dominance. But like I’ve said, we’ve seen that dominance just shrink away in the past, when the real business is at hand. I will never have confidence in LeBron to win himself a Championship until he shows me otherwise. And now he can! So congratulations to LeBron and Miami for making it back to the Finals against possibly an ever tougher opponent in the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Will our so-called King actually don the crown this time? It should be fascinating to watch either way. Not to mention it’s a hell of a series in general.
And even if LeBron and the Heat take home the Larry O’Brien, the man will still have to face the ‘had-to-join-forces-with-two-other-superstars-to-get-it-done’ argument. But, hey, that’s for another day… one step at a time.
Good luck, Mr. James. Your season begins now.