Friday, June 15, 2007

Did You Witness the Truth?

Do you still believe that LeBron James is a superstar?

Is he really like Michael Jordan? Kobe Bryant? Or even Dwyane Wade?

Or is he more like Dirk Nowitzki? Tracy McGrady? Chris Webber? Or Vince Carter?

I've learned my lesson. I'm not going to keep saying "next year." You either have "it" or you don't. Whatever "it" is. Killer instinct. Leadership. The almost pathological drive to win.

And LeBron doesn't have "it." I'm not stupid. He's a great player. But his default mood is nonchalant. I've seen nothing to disprove that his highest priority is to do just enough to keep Nike happy.

And let's all say it together. "He's only 22!" Well, what is the age when you develop the craving? Face the truth. He was already behind his draft peers. Carmelo Anthony made the playoffs before LeBron did. And Dwyane Wade has a championship ring. And don't you dare say, "LeBron has no help." That's a lie. If LeBron is a Kobe wannabe, consider Kobe's current team. Now, the Lakers are absolute trash. Would you trade for a single player on that team? I mean, before your 4th shot of Patron? Cleveland, on the other hand, is full of tradeable parts. Well.. except for Damon Jones. Still, Kobe makes it to the playoffs and generally avoids sweeps.

The numbers don't lie. LeBron is a very nice all around player. But he doesn't have the box score of a superstar. He leads the league in nothing except hype. And what will make LeBron change? Sure, he'll give you a nice press conference. He'll say all the right things. After all, he was raised on ESPN and the art of soundbites. But he didn't start playing ball until he was in middle school and, soon thereafter, he was an instant prodigy. What has he ever had to work for? Resigning with Cleveland was cute, but was that the move of a player serious about winning and attracting quality free agents or a player serious about ingratiating himself with fans and being an expert marketer?

For the purposes of winning championships, is LeBron really a #1? Is he a co-#1? Or even a #2? Do you build your team around LeBron or with LeBron? Or do you just remain delusional like Mark Cuban as it relates to Dirk Nowitzki (or Michael Finley, lol)?

Even the fact that LeBron's girlfriend seemingly didn't even consider inducing labor of their new child, Brice Maximus, for the convenience of her baby daddy and his championship legacy seems significant. The fiancee of the Finals MVP was front and center for every game and ran across the court to jump in the arms of her husband to be and teared up at the magnitude of her man's championship accomplishments.

Does LeBron deserve that sort of devotion?

Does he still deserve yours?

(Nice outfit, btw. No ring. But otherwise stylish.)


doublenicks said...

Not saying you're wrong, but this is the kind of prediction that could look pretty ridiculous when Lebron hangs 'em up in 15 years.

Sean said...

Jordan didn't win without Pippen (and vice versa).

Kobe and Wade didn't win without Shaq (and vice versa).

If LeBron doesn't win once he has a viable second banana then you'll have a point. But to write him off because he couldn't carry a team whose second-best players are Boobie Gibson and Sideshow Varejao to an NBA title is foolish.

The HCIC said...

You'd think I be a little gun shy after Peyton proved me wrong. :)

Unless LeBron starts playing with a proven veteran, the media will claim he's always surrounded by scrubs. At some point, he has no excuse.

I've been down this road before with some of my favorite players. I won't be hurt again!!

The Brooklyn Boy said...

Had to take issue with one point here - I'm sure Lebron wouldn't mind playing with Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum's a pretty nice chip ...

DP said...

Odom and Bynum are SIGNIFICANT upgrades over ANYTHING in Cleveland.

And comparing ABC Product placement (errrr) Eva Longoria on the sidelines to inducing Child birth is a bit more than heartless...

I liked the hearted you better.