A few months back, on June 12, the Miami Heat lost their final game to the Champion Dallas Mavericks. It was a sight to behold, the spectacle that was the Miami Heat had lost the NBA championship that was seemingly in their hands.
Up 1-1 after 2 games with a convincing victory, the Dallas Mavericks played like champions the rest of the way. They came back in game 4 from a 10 plus point deficit. They didn’t look back since that moment and won 3 games straight.
There are many theories to why the South Beach triumvirate failed to take home the Larry O’Brien this season. Some say Lebron was tired, some say Lebron quit (as you can see they mostly revolve around Lebron). But I say this is what was supposed to happen. They should look at their season as a failure because when you bring together a team like that, championship is what is supposed to happen. No way should they have lost to Dallas like that. They allowed them to win 4 straight. Miami hadn’t lost 2 in a row since about March or February I believe. 4 is unheard of, and they should be disappointed.
One thing I do have to say is that when you win as a team, you have to lose as one too. It isn’t all Lebron’s total fault that they lost those games. Dwyane Wade slowed down a bit too. In game one, Lebron had a pretty good game, scoring 22 points. He led the team in scoring, and was also setting everyone up. Without Lebron they don’t win that game, plain and simple. Dwyane Wade even got hurt in game 4, so we could take the time to talk about that too, right?
Even Kobe Bryant, the 5 time champ, said let Lebron be. In an interview with ESPN’s George Smith, when asked about all of the Venom towards the Heat, Kobe said he “Thinks everyone should ease off the kid.” I think that he’s right for one, and he is definitely qualified to suggest that. Kobe is a five time NBA champ. Count em, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. He knows what scrutiny, trials, and tribulations come with championship runs. He knows that they aren’t east to acquire.
All throughout his career, Kobe has faced doubters just like Lebron. When he won 3 rings the first go around, during the Shaq era, he was looked at as a secondary piece to the Lakers organization. He was just a complimentary star that was mainly a scorer. Kobe was a man that just “high jacked the Lakers offense.” This could be seen as true at times also, but not because Kobe didn’t know better.
Kobe had 9 straight 40 point games; also, an 81 point game against the Raptors. Kobe knew that he was jacking up shots left and right, but for good reason. He knew that was the only way his team would win. With a backcourt partner that was Smush Parker, Bryant knew that he could only win by taking over in certain games. He had no choice in the matter. The next best piece on that team was a frail Andrew Bynum. How do you expect to win with that?
I’m not comparing that team to the Miami Heat so don’t get that idea in your head. I’m saying that Kobe knows how hard it is to win games in the NBA.
Kobe faced the criticism just like Lebron James is now. He faced possibly less criticism than Leborn. People used to say all the time that Bryant couldn’t win a championship without Shaq. That’s all he used to get. People compared him to Michael after he won his first championship without Shaq, but he needed Pau. Well, newsflash to everyone, you can’t really win a ring without a team. There have been few feel good stories like that in the NBA. The only ones I really can recall are the Mavericks from this year, and the Rockets from 94. There is usually more than one star one a championship team; you can’t do it on your own.
Now, let’s get back to James. He has been compared to Michael Jordan since he came into the league. Think about that expectation, also, think about his age. The guy was 18 years old, coming into the league being called the next Michael Jordan. That’s a huge deal. Michael is the greatest player of all time. That’s bigger than Bryant, let alone James, will ever be. Maybe we should give everyone a break and stop looking for the next great one, because there will never be another Air Jordan. The throne is his and his alone.
Michael makes it hard for great players in the league to play without even playing a second of defense on them. That speaks for his greatness. His shadow is casting down, as of right now, on NBA players like Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade. They all strive to get on his level but will never reach that pinnacle in their careers. They can’t be Michael Jordan, they can only be themselves. But to us, as in the public and media, that isn’t good enough. We need someone to be Michael Jeffery Jordan.
We want someone to average almost 40 points in a season after coming back from a broken leg injury the year before (Kobe, Melo). We want someone to win 5 MVPs again and dominate the league without question from anyone (Lebron). We want someone to go 3 for 3 in the finals, go play baseball and golf for a spell, and go 3 for 3 once again (Wade, Bryant). None of those things will ever be accomplished again. Not the way Mike did it. The talent level in the league is too close now. The NBA that Michael played in was more talented than this one; however, he was so far ahead of the class then. Even today I think that Michael, in his prime, would dominate every star player in the NBA, no questions asked.
Michael was a once every 10 generations, probably lifetime, player. No one can come close to what he had accomplished in the league. I know for a fact that Lebron never will, he is 0 for 2 in the finals already. Kobe never will; he has one league MVP. Dwyane Wade is .500 in the finals, but has no MVPs to show and now plays on a team with Lebron James. Carmelo has no MVPs, no finals appearances, and left for New York. Michael never left the house he built. None of these guys even come close to his greatness, no one in the future will as far as I can see.
Now, let’s take this full circle back to James. Let him be him. He was the most used player in the playoffs; he carried the Heat to the finals past the Bulls and the Celtics. Lebron was hands down the MVP of that team, and when he was hot everyone feared what he could do. If he comes back next season and never cools off, you’ll let the guy be. You’ll all have nothing to say, and Lebron will be an NBA champion.
Without a doubt, Lebron is the most talented player in the NBA. No one in the history of the league has a combination of size, speed, and skill that Lebron does. The way he uses it is uncanny and flawless at times; he can be unstoppable when that jumpshot is hitting. However, we’ve been saying that for years now. 8 years in your career you need to finally step up your game. Win a title, shut everyone’s mouths. That’s the only way people will leave him alone. We’ll just keep talking, debating, and speculating until then.
I’m no Lebron fan, but I do recognize his skill and his talent. Also how hard it is to win the NBA finals, no matter how skilled your team is. It’s about who wants it more, and Lebron needs to want it more than anyone. It’s about time he puts his money where his mouth is, and shuts everyone up. That’s when everyone will “Leave the kid alone” as Bryant said.