27 June 2012

WILL THE REAL LEBRON JAMES PLEASE STAND UP?

"The Decision"  Arguably the moment that started
the "Public Enemy #1" Campaign for Lebron James.

 
The fall out from "The Decision" was epic for
Lebron.


                For a few years now Lebron James has been “Public Enemy #1” in the NBA.  A kid who hit the mainstream lights of the NBA from Akron, OH to a man who quickly fell from grace after announcing to the world he “taking his talents to South Beach,” to the newly anointed World Champion.  I have been of those who have bashed Lebron for years, constantly criticizing him over his performances late in playoff games, throwing jerseys after losses, and handling of the media.  Even this year, I bashed the Heat (mostly Lebron) heading in to the playoffs, and through all their series.  Every round I pulled for whoever the Heat played, and pulled for the media to get Lebron rattled.  Through the first 3 rounds I saw flashes of the Lebron we have all become so accustomed to seeing, fading late, passing when he shouldn’t, and not leading his team like a true superstar should.

Leavue Scoring Champion vs. League MVP

                The NBA Finals.  Oklahoma City Thunder.  Kevin Durant.  League Scoring Champion.  The NBA Finals.  Miami Heat.  Lebron James.  League MVP.  The 2012 NBA Finals.  Heading in to what would be a very one sided NBA Finals I fully expected the Oklahoma City Thunder to dismantle the Heat in 5 games, and crown the Thunder “World Champs.”
                With the stage set, Lebron James stood up, showing everyone that the crowned “Public Enemy” had been laid to rest, and King James had arrived.  Answering a game one loss at Oklahoma City where Lebron was outscored by Kevin Durant 36 to 30, he responded.  Game 2 came down to big plays in big moments, with Lebron leading the way with 32 points, 5 assists, and 8 rebounds to Durant’s 32 points, 1 assist, and 3 rebounds.  With a game that could be argued over calls that were made or weren’t made, the Heat pulled out a win to send the series back to Miami.
With one NBA Title under his belt, is the
pressure off Lebron to prove his greatness?

                Returning home, determined to prove the critics, naysayers, and possibly even himself, Lebron James delivered what could be one of the greatest NBA Finals performances for a series, all while leading Miami to the Championship.  Pushing the Heat to a 2-1 series lead, and outdueling Durant, Lebron took charge leading the way with 29 points,3 assists, and a team high 14 rebounds.  Game 4 proved to be a tougher challenge for the new Lebron, battling leg cramps that required him to be carried off the court, only to return later in true Willis Reed fashion, the Heat went on to win behind Lebrons 26 points, team high 12 assists, and 9 rebounds, falling just 1 rebound shy of his first triple double of the season.  The Heat had to resist a fiery effort from Russell Westbrook who lead the charge for the Thunder with 43 points, but falling short 104-98.
                Game 5.  Too much Lebron.  In what he called his own game 7, Lebron showed he can close out big games, collecting his first triple double of the season in true superstar fashion- 26 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds.  The Heat stormed away from the Thunder and never really saw them get close, winning game 5 121-106.

King James delivered on the biggest stage in true
superstar fashion.

                Lebron showed us that he can lead his team, he can be the leader that many of the greats before him were, whether he needs to lead his team in rebounds like Bill Russell did for many of the Celtics championships, whether he needs to keep feeding the hot hand of Mike Miller in game 5 the same way Jordan feed Paxson and Kerr on the way to championships, or whether he just needed to inspire the same way Paul Pierce did after returned to the game after leaving due to injury, Lebron fought through everything this series, but never folded once.  He shut out the critics; he shut out the noise, and just played basketball. 
                Is this the beginning of true greatness?  Was this success forged from chance?  Or, will we see the old Lebron again?  I think it’s a scary realization for the East;  Superman had kryptonite, but the Finals showed us that King James doesn’t have a known weakness, only a hunger for success.

Which Lebron shows up for 2012-13?


1 comment:

  1. Well put and I am with you I will in hoping this is only the beginning. I crave to see what he is capable of because I don't think he is done growing his game yet. Scary thought huh? I was so excited with the Heat vs Thunder that I would have loved seing either team win, but I was pulling for LeBron. Wanting to see him become what I believe he can be. For Durant, he will be so much better season as well and I can't wait for the rematches.

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