by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni
Eight years into his NBA career, at 26 years old, LeBron James is already a sure-fire Hall of Famer. His legacy, however, is still very much up in the air.
It’s a strange in a way — in this age of the 24-hour news and opinion cycle — that a great athlete’s entire body of work is threatened by the stain of one calamitous performance on his sport’s grandest stage.
But, that’s where we are with LeBron, who must answer the bell tonight, in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Despite questions about whether or not he’s been playing too many minutes in the postseason, James expressed confidence that he’ll be able to bounce back in what has now become the most important game of his life.
Superstar teammate Dwyane Wade is also certain that LBJ will come through.
“[Tuesday] night, you know, eight points is definitely inexcusable for myself,” James said. “I hold myself to a higher standard than that … I had to do a better job of putting myself in situations where I can benefit myself and my team, no matter how many minutes I’m out on the floor,” James said.
“Obviously, he feels like he let me down,” said Wade, who had the reverse version of this conversation while he was struggling to assist LeBron in the Eastern Conference finals. “I understand he’s going to respond. So we just talked about the moment more than anything. I’m not worried about him. Eventually, he’s going to do something amazing, and it’s going to put us over the top.”
LeBron James promises to be a lot more aggressive from the start of the game tonight.
While many in the basketball-watching world jeer and delight in LeBron’s and the Heat’s failures, is anyone actually willing to doubt their collective ability to forcefully respond?