In case you hadn’t heard about this earlier from every traditional and social media outlet available, the Miami Heat won the NBA Finals last Thursday night and are now the “world champions.” This, of course, means that one of the most hated athletes in this era is now a champion for the first time. Not only is he a champion, but he was also awarded the NBA Finals MVP.
I may be (definitely am) one of those people that hated(-s) LBJ and the fact that he’s finally got himself a ring isn’t helping make things any better. I rooted against him, I yelled at the screen for all of the calls in his favor that wouldn’t typically get called for others and I grew furious at the site of him flopping around to help him get those calls.
However, I never doubted his ability and now that he’s officially this season’s best player (league and finals MVP), I give him his props. There’s no denying LeBron played amazingly throughout the playoffs and it was more than evident in the Finals. He deserves that Finals MVP trophy: 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 7.4 assists.
Still, this doesn’t change the fact that I’m no fan of his nor does it give him a spot among the sport’s all-time elite. Those jokes about his not having a ring may be over, but he’s still no Jordan. My biggest problem with him were those constant comparisons with “His Airness,” when it’d be much more fitting to compare him with Kobe. A simple Google search of LeBron James’ name brings up Jordan and Kobe under the “People also search for” section, but it’s the latter who we need to base the benchmark for James. Kobe and LeBron both skipped college for the big leagues. Both were pegged as “the next big thing” and both have received plenty of backlash when there were any signs that they would not live up to those extreme expectations, and especially received it after there were any signs that they just might live up to the hype.
Kobe has shown his worth to be among the greatest that ever played the game (5 NBA titles, 2 Finals MVP), but even he’s no Jordan. And if Kobe isn’t even on the same playing field as Jordan, let’s quit the b.s. and throw out any conversation pinning LeBron with Jordan. Kobe is a title shy of equalling Jordan’s tally, but he must live with the constant reminder that his first three titles were due largely to Shaq’s performances. Now that LBJ has received the highest honors for a player, he will have to put on a performance similar to this past season’s in order to be able to be considered the greatest of his generation, all by his own merit and not solely because of the help from D. Wade and/or Chris Bosh.
This title may be the greatest thing to happen for James’ career so far, but it may also be the worst. This man famously announced he went to Miami to win “not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven…” He’s got one, we’ll see if he can deliver on the promise of those (at least) seven others and finally gain the recognition and admiration that even then many of us believe he will never receive.