Game 6 of the NBA Finals is why I love sports. The back and forth runs, the drama, the urgency, the controversy, the legendary players cementing their legacy on the biggest stage, the drama and the drama! If you weren’t able to see the game live, please do yourself a favor and watch one of the countless replays of the broadcast because it will be available to you…easily one of the greatest 3 NBA Basketball games of all time. Speaking of greatest NBA Players of all-time, let’s spend a few minutes on LeBron James… Why are there so many people who are so against this guy? Fundamentally I can’t wrap my head around the hatred for him. Maybe it comes down to the media continually hyping him up and covering him since he was 15 years old and people are tired of the coverage and want to see him fail?
I am certain that “the decision” comes into play as well; certainly a bad PR move by him and his team but definitely a product of the times and the enormity of that moment…the greatest player in sports making a decision on where he was going to play his basketball moving forward. I am not defending it, but ESPN gave him the forum, paid millions to James’ charity for the access so he bit at the opportunity. Whatever the reason for the dislike, I think it’s time for a few things to happen as it relates to LeBron: Stop comparing him to Michael Jordan. The media is creating more disdain and more division by constantly comparing him to MJ. They are two totally different players. They don’t compare Magic to MJ or Shaq to MJ so this has to stop. When I hear people say “MJ wouldn’t have done that” or “MJ would have taken that shot” I think it is the laziest commentary possible.
Michael Jordan is the greatest player in the history of the NBA, period. He was a tenacious scorer, the most competitive player of all-time and has 6 championships. Michael’s legacy is cemented and no one is close, at this point, to removing him from his current standing. But please, let’s look at LeBron James as a once in a lifetime type player, and appreciate him and what he brings to the game… LeBron James has the unique ability and often does, guard every position on the floor, from the opposing team’s point guard to their center; this is a skill unique to LeBron. For a sample of this watch last night’s game. He guarded Tony Parker and did a fantastic job on him, even preventing the go ahead shot with 5 seconds left guarding Parker full court. He also guarded Ginobli, Leonard and even Tim Duncan. Defensively, he is a beast.
I love the knock that “he isn’t clutch.” Really? Because he has missed a few game winning shots? Do you realize that Michael Jordan missed 27 game winners in his career? Yes, 27! So stop it with this ridiculous “LeBron isn’t clutch,” it’s lazy. In elimination games in the playoffs, which in my definition is ‘clutch’ opportunities, he is the all-time leader in points per game, averaging 32 points per game in these situations. Even better than Michael Jordan. Last night what did James do? He had a very subpar 1
st 3 quarters and went on to score 18 points in the 4
th quarter and over-time, when his team was down 10 points to take over the game and lead the team to victory. His final stat line -> 32 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 historic block on Tim Duncan late in the 4
th quarter. But the haters are right, he definitely “shrinks” in big moments. Like Magic Johnson, LeBron is the ultimate “team” guy…almost to a fault at times. He is constantly working to get his team involved and is currently on pace to finish in the top 5 in the history of the NBA in assists in his career. Think about that…he is on pace to finish with more assists in his career than players like Isaiah Thomas and Magic Johnson. As it relates to rebounding, he is a beast. He focuses on getting involved in one of the toughest and most difficult points of the game. He is on pace to finish in the top 20 all-time in rebounds, surpassing some all-time great centers and power forwards like Patrick Ewing, Dennis Rodman and Elgin Baylor. Offensively he will finish as likely one of the top five leading scorers in NBA history and this part of his game he is continuing to evolve. I think that his scoring ability is the one part of his game that he can improve further as he is at times inconsistent compared to the rest of his game. But when he has it going, it is amazing to watch. The purpose of this 700 word rant is really to remind people that we are in the midst of greatness. Every time the Heat lose it feels like the end of the world as the media questions LeBron and his “legacy” and his ability…RELAX! LeBron James will finish as one of the greatest NBA Players and athletes of all-time, period. We have to quit judging every single game as if he is in some sort of contest vs. Michael Jordan and his legacy. At the end of his career all the pundits can debate, but let’s allow LeBron to finish his career before diving into the real comparison. Enjoy this once in a generation athlete. If you hate him for “the decision” or because he beats up on your favorite team, or for any other reason, you have that right. But if you can’t appreciate what this guy does and what he is, you are truly missing out! #TeamTRAINlete “
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