by Yusuf Gadlin
If LeBron James ever reads this, I will probably be thrown into the lion’s den some time in the near future. But like Daniel I hope to emerge unscathed and my body fully intact.
The closest thing to Michael Jordan was LeBron James. I’ve never seen a player with so much hype live up to all of the expectations. From LebBon’s eye popping dunks or the way he racked up stats at a alarming pace; King James was surely on his way to meeting or exceeding the Greatest of All Time–Michael Jeffrey Jordan.
The only thing the king had to do was win championship rings in my eyes–and at one point I think everyone that watched the walking legend said ” LeBron will win at least 8 championships” and if they say otherwise they are lying through their reneging teeth.
Lebron stopped being Jordan-like after he took the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2007 at the tender age of 22. Anybody that can take Eric Snow, Sasha Pavlovic and Ira Newble to the finals has to be the greatest of all time right? As a result the Cavs were swept out of the finals and the mastermind that coached the San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich forced a young LeBron James to shoot jump shots if he wanted to win his first ring.
James didn’t fair well shooting 35 percent from the field, 20 percent from the 3 and 69 percent from the free throw line. But LeBron was young and the Spurs were on a mission as always. King James deserved a pass that year: He was young and couldn’t shoot the rock. After that humbling experience Spurs legend Tim Duncan was seen hugging the young Cavalier and whispering in his ear ” This is going to be your league in a little while.”
But for the greatness placed upon LeBron by others and himself; and the level of expectations he was supposed to exceed, Cleveland’s finest never took the NBA by the neck by squeezing every championship possible out of it, like he should have or was supposed to do. After playoffs exits by the ’09 Orlando Magic and multiple losses to the Big Three of Boston, LeBron succumbed to the pressure of not having any rings and joined best friend Dwyane Wade and close friend Chris Bosh and formed a super team in South Beach, Miami, Florida. I wasn’t mad at LeBron and his infamous decision. He was 25-years-old and no jewelry for his fingers, he knew something had to be done about the void championships on his resume.
“Not 1, Not 2, Not 3, Not 4, Not 5, Not 6, Not 7 ” but eight championships King James was expecting as he yelled into a microphone at a Miami Heat pep rally. All I could think was “Wow” this is the moment I has been waiting for. The moment in James’ career where he runs of at least six straight championships.
It never happened.
His first year in Miami he led his team to the NBA Finals. What happened next broke my heart and i was forced to realized “the great” LeBron James ruined his chance to be greater than Michael Jordan. Only 11 points combined in a six game series in the fourth quarter against an old Dallas Maverick team. To this day I am still confused and baffled as to how and the hell that stat line is true, it is the ultimate indictment against a player of King James magnitude.
LeBron would go on to win his first and second back to back titles with the Heat at ages of 27 and 28 but the damage was already done to his legacy in my eyes. If Ray Allen hadn’t hit that game winning three to force a game seven against the San Antonio Spurs, LeBron basketball career would be a total failure in my eyes since we judge certain players by the number of championships they win.
But then it got worse for LeBron in a way I never expected. In the 2014 NBA Finals the Miami Heat fourth straight trip there, James cramped up in Game 1 and could not finish the game. I could not believe my eyes again! I saw Michael Jordan play with the flu or food poisoning depending on who you talk to for a chance to win a NBA championship. I saw Isaiah Thomas hobble around with a severely sprained ankle to battle the Los Angeles Lakers for a chance to hoist the golden ball. And here was The King himself gritting his teeth in pain and had to be carried of the court by teammates because of thigh cramps.
I am still lost for words for what I witnessed that night, as a result LeBron and the Miami Heat lost the 2014 NBA Finals by a record margin. Every game lost by the Heat was decided by 20 points or more! Again I ask how and the hell can this happen to King James? My days of comparing him to the greatest of all time MJ were dead and gone.
After another embarrassing lost to the Spurs again, LeBron left Miami in free agency and went back home to Cleveland to try to win his hometown a championship it has never sniffed. He formed another super team with young stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love who have never been to the playoffs and have no clue how to win in the NBA.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a poor record of 18 -14 this year. The Cavs likely won’t win the title this yea either. LeBron James just turned 30 years of age. With two rings on his resume and a clear decline in his play because of years of wear and tear on his body, the King has decided to try to win more championship–but only for the city of Cleveland. If LeBron ends his career with three rings, his NBA career was a failure. I don’t care about his great numbers and where he will place on any all time list. Players of his pedigree are judged by rings, and to only have two rings this late in his career is a fail. With 3/4 of his career complete he is undoubtedly a Hall of Fame player, but a transcendent player like King James should have been to the mountain top more than twice….therefore I have no other choice….
But to call out the “The King.”