LeBron James has faced criticism from many directions throughout his illustrious NBA career. Some critiques of James have been rational, some have been simply mind boggling. Either way, these are things that James has had to deal with since donning a Cleveland Cavaliers draft day hat as their number one pick in 2003.
James has had the gift and the curse of high expectation. When he walked through the doors of the league he was expected to maintain greatness at a high level almost instantly. He was expected to hold the weight of a franchise on his back. He was deemed “The Chosen One” and “King James” by many supporters and people in his inner circle. For better or worse, James embraced those monikers as his own. He has “The Chosen One” tattooed across his back, even. By accepting these titles, James opened the doors for a massive amount of media surveillance.
With those high expectations came a lot of venom. When you’re someone with high honor there are always going to be people who want you to fail–especially when they believe that you haven’t earned it. James, from day one, had always been an exceptional talent. In his first game he captivated a Sacramento audience. His first assist was an alley oop to Ricky Davis. His first points scored were from the baseline on a beautiful jumpshot that he’s still having inconsistencies with.
In his first game in a hostile NBA environment, James had dropped 25 points, had nine dimes, and six rebounds in a 42 minute span. Not to mention that he shot 60% from the field. You could tell that this guy was going to be something special and that he would be playing for titles someday.
Now, James is at the pinnacle of his career. He’s at his third NBA Finals and he’s about to play the most important game of his career tonight. That is a term that is easily thrown around; James has had many “most important games” in his career. But this one is for all of the marbles. This is where James is showing his all of his harsh critiques and all of his nay-sayers. LeBron will have the opportunity to solidify his legacy with a championship.
People have said that LeBron isn’t clutch or LeBron sucks in the Finals–some of which was warranted. They said that he shrinks in the biggest moments and that was proven to be correct with his mediocre Finals’ averages before these and the big series losses to the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic before. They say that he doesn’t have a killer’s mentality–in which he likely doesn’t. But you don’t need to be a killer to win a championship.
To win a ring, you need to play your brand of basketball; not theirs. That’s what LeBron is showing us right now. He’s the best all-around player in the NBA and he gets very little respect for that. So what if he left Cleveland for a better situation. While I hate “The Decision” as much as anyone else, James has shown some genuine remorse, publicly, for the city of Cleveland and that organization.
So what if when he went to Miami, they had a glorified pep rally about the team that they just put together. I’d be pretty pumped too, honestly, if I had just signed three All-Stars and Olympians. I didn’t love that decision either; but its in the past now. Of course he promised championships to Miami. He did the same thing in Cleveland as well. This time he’s making a run with a better supporting cast.
For every decision that James has made, there have been people who have had something to say about it. From leaving Cleveland to the way he prefer’s his steak, everything has been monitored from the jump. People even care about his mother does in her spare time. James has probably grown tired of this. I’m sure he realizes the mistakes that he has made and that he has brought plenty of attention to himself, but enough is enough.
James has a chance to end it all tonight. He must explode through one more obstacle on his way to being a champion, just as he’s done all season long. James has to grab the bull by the horns here, or it will forever be talked about just as the rest of his shortcomings have. They say that James can’t win the big one. I’ve heard that he’ll be the greatest of all time to never win a championship in any sport. Well tonight, prove us wrong Mr. James. Take what is surely supposed to be yours; we’ll have nothing to say then.
Until that moment, lets enjoy one more night of basketball.