It's Still Too Early to Crown LeBron James King
We’ve all seen how he has guarded every single position (including center) whenever the occasion has called for the need, and he has succeeded. He can score at will, literally, and is so solid he gets more “and-ones” finishing at the rim than he would if he were signed by the shoe company with the same name. He pumps out more triple-doubles than his pores produce sweat. If James and Michael Jordan were to play a game of one-on-one while both were in their primes, I honestly couldn’t say with certainty that Jordan would win. And I’m a Chicago Bulls fan.
All this, and James is just barely hitting his peak. The league will be a scary place for anyone not wearing a Miami Heat jersey in the near future, and this guy will be able to perform at an even higher level without the pressure of being title-less.
We are all extremely privileged to have this opportunity to watch James play at this level. I appreciate his talent and love watching him dominate (when he's not playing my Bulls).
And yet I still must root against him.
Of course, the most immediate reason is because James is the opposition (I got to gloat so often during the 90’s while Jordan ripped everyone else to shreds, I almost feel like this is atonement). My team is the Heat’s only rival in the East, and watching James cut through the Eastern Conference without having to go through his biggest roadblock felt cheap. James insisted at the beginning of the postseason that there should be no asterisk assigned to this year’s title, even with the condensed season and plethora of injuries. And since the creaky Boston Celtics were able to force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals, it seems almost criminal that James and the Heat had a path to the championship that didn’t include Derrick Rose. Would the much younger and athletic Bulls have been able to force a different result?
So…an asterisk season? Maybe not. But a season with huge question marks? Definitely.
And good for James for finally getting a ring, so he can finally get to work on his “not one, not two...” promise. Joakim Noah called the Heat “Hollywood as hell” last year after his Eastern Conference Finals exit, and judging from the Heat’s celebratory rap concert (and apparently insane bar tab), his assessment isn’t far off. Pair that with their reputation for being “divas” on the court when calls don’t go their way and you’d think that concert was part of a Grammy after party. There is only so much ego-flexing non-Heat fans can stomach.