After completing one of the biggest comebacks in NBA post season history, and putting on one of the best shows in NBA history, it seems as if LeBron James has finally gotten his crown, and his seated throne as one of the greatest to ever play the game.
With his team down 3-1 to the reigning NBA champs, and 73-9 Golden State Warriors, LeBron epically carried the Cleveland Cavaliers to three straight Finals victories, delivering “The Land” it’s first championship in over fifty years.
James floored back to back 41 point outings in games five and six, as well as a triple double game seven, a game in which he had 27 points and played 47 minutes. He was rewarded with his third NBA Championship, along with his third Finals MVP. Joining a prestigious list of greats, names such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O Neal, and Tim Duncan (Michael Jordan of course leads with six).
So after this historic performance for the ages, and the milestones it comes along with, has LeBron James cemented his legacy as an all time NBA great?
To me, yeah. Honestly, the cements been dry since 2012.
As a fan of the San Antonio Spurs, and someone who has all the respect in the world for the Boston Celtics, let me say that finally respecting LeBron James and admiring his skill and talent was something extremely difficult.
For years I’ve watched him, and grown to hate him. I hated how he left Cleveland, and how he needed the help of Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh to win a title. I hated how he needed Ray Allen to win a second. I hated how he complained after EVERY single call. I hated how he celebrated, roared, danced, and pounded his chest after every big shot or victory. I hated how people called him the greatest ever by only having two rings, and not having any of the career achievements that guys like Jordan, Bill Russell, or Kareem have. I hated it all. LeBron this, LeBron that, it all made me sick. Every time I saw him on tv, a jersey of his in a store, someone wearing his shoes, it disgusted me. But then I realized something.
LeBron James is good, like scary good, and he’s not just good, he’s great, the best on the planet. He’s hands down been the best player in the league for the past ten years. And after this Finals victory, there’s no debate about it. No Curry, No Durant, No Kobe. It’s always been LeBron.
We as NBA fans give him a lot of slack for needing Wade and Bosh to win a title, but we forget that almost every legend needed someone. Jordan needed Pippen, Kobe needed Shaq, Magic needed Kareem, Bird needed Parish and McHale, so in fact, most NBA champions needed some other big name player to provide some kind of cut. And I mean look at Kevin Durant for example. As good as KD is, he’s been with Russell Westbrook for a couple of years now and the only thing he has to show for it is a Finals appearance in which the Thunder lost in five games. So even though he needed help in not only Miami, but Cleveland obviously as well, he’s not the first big name player who’s needed assistance.
When Stephen Curry transformed from a mediocre top ten point guard, to a top three player in the world, people called him the best in the league. Which was honestly such an overstatement from day one. Sure these past two seasons have been extremely impressive for not only Steph, but the Warriors franchise as well. Back to back MVP’s, record breaking numbers, best regular season record of all time, two finals appearances, one championship. However, in that time it seems like we all forgot how dominant LeBron’s been.
When LeBron first left Cleveland, they weren’t as bad as people seem to think. Sure they were no Dream Team, and never won anything, but LeBron always kept them in title contention, and even took them to an NBA Finals. So it’s extraordinary to think how LeBron went to Miami in 2011, where he would lead them to four straight finals appearances, splitting two. After that, he goes back to Cleveland, who by the way haven’t sniffed the playoffs since the King left, and he takes them to two straight Championships, winning one out of the two, while Miami hasn’t made any noise in the playoffs since LeBron left.
Even though LeBron’s lost four finals series, he’s still taken three, and he’s been to six in a row, seven in his career. And I’m willing to bet anyone, he doesn’t stop at seven. The number could very well go into the double digits, and it probably will. I don’t care what you say, that’s impressive stuff.
I never really appreciated LeBron entirely though until this series.
Before the series, like most people, I believed the series would determine who the best in the NBA was. Even though basketball’s a team sport, and you can’t win a game with just one player, at the end of the day this series was gonna come down to #30 vs #23, in a showdown showcasing who’s the best in the league. As good as Steph is or even might be, LeBron proved that there’s no comparison between the two of them.
LeBron put up over 100 points in the last three Cavs wins combined, and bested every other player in the five important stats. Points, assists, rebounds, blocks, and steals. LeBron led both teams in all five of those categories.
It’s easy to remember the big plays like the much needed threes towards the end, or “the block” on Andre Igudola, or the clutch free throw making it a four point game, but what made this championship so special for LeBron and his legacy is the history behind it.
LeBron made it his mission to win a title for Cleveland, and after thirteen long years he captured the city it’s first NBA championship ever.
Back against the wall, he rallied his team to win three straight games, becoming the first team ever to win a Finals series down 3-1. The Cavs didn’t just beat the Golden State Warriors, they beat the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. They beat the so called “greatest team of all time” along with the first ever Unanimous MVP, and the back to back MVP, Steph Curry.
I guess people just need to respect greatness when they see it. We’re not gonna be as fortunate enough to see LeBron play our entire life, might as well stop hating on the man, and respect his hard work, and love for the game, because what he’s done in his career has been nothing but magic.
Whether this was or wasn’t his last championship, this is going to be the one we all remember when we think of the greatness behind LeBron James.
A four time MVP, three time finals MVP, seven time Finals contender, countless All Star game appearances, eleventh in most points ever, THREE time champion, and he’s not even close to being finished. I wouldn’t put LeBron in my top three ever, nor my top five, however he already has a slot in my top ten accompanied by some of the greatest to ever play the game.
I’ve finally given my respect to the king, LeBron James, who after this historical performance, is no doubt one of the greatest basketball players of all time.