When Lebron James decided to take his talents to South Beach I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t even watching that horror show on ESPN. I was at a Film Festival nerviously looking at my phone for a text to come in to tell me where Lebron’s geographical location would be next year. It was the first and only time I’ve had my phone on in a movie theatre.
So when I read “Miami” I wasn’t filled with rage, I was just bummed out.
My favourite player in the league had decided he didn’t want to be The Man anymore, he was going to supplement himself in an attempt to cheat the system and win a championship.
My anger towards Lebron and the Heat comes from a selfish place. I can admit that. I watched with interest Lebron’s first game, a 106-92 loss to Sacramento. Even at 18 you could tell just how special he already was and just how dominant he was going to be. On that night Lebron went off for 25 points, six rebounds and nine assists.
So yeah, I was invested in The King right from the start. I wanted Lebron to succeed. I wanted to see him build Cleveland into a champion. But here’s where I get selfish: I wanted him to do it the traditional way.
We all know that story arch. Superstar comes to a team down on its luck, experiences success and failure and through hard work and sacrifice they finally get to grasp the Larry O’Brien trophy, raise it up to the heavens and relish in the fact that they overcame a sea of hurdles to achieve the ultimate achievement.
That is the narrative that I wanted to see from Lebron in Cleveland.
Instead I got The Decision. I couldn’t believe the best player in the NBA had decided to opt for the quick fix, the just add water approach to winning a title.
For a lot of us, that is why we were filled with “Hate” towards Lebron and the Heat. We wanted Lebron to follow the road of Tim Duncan, Isiah Thomas, Larry Bird and so many others.
I can honesty say that I have never felt so much vitrol towards one team or one player like I have this past NBA season.
Thankfully all that negativity transformed into utter jubilation last night with Dallas winning their first NBA Championship.
Now I am not going to go over all the numbers or X’s & O’s of the game. I’m sure by now most of you have been gleefully reading every article about the game. I know I have.
So instead, a couple thoughts and interesting snap shots from the Mavericks 105-95 Game Six win.
(1) The first moment you could tell it was going to be another bad night for Lebron was at the 2:14 mark of the 2nd quarter. Yes James started off strong hitting his first four shots, but the Mavs were fine if all Lebron was going to do was take jumpers. Back to 2:14. This was the first time that Lebron finally headed to unfamiliar territory, the free throw line. Miami was down by two, the momentum had swung back and fourth like a crazy tennis rally, and what does Lebron do? He misses both shots, badly. Looking at his body language between misses, Lebron just didn’t look like he was fully dialled in.
(2) 28 free throws in six games. How does a guy who is built like Karl Malone and moves like a point guard average less than five free throws per game? James was guarded one on one by Jason Kidd for much of the series?? Kidd is 38 years old! Let’s put that in context. By the time James was born, Kidd had already seen all three Star Wars films and could do long division. Out of everything that has occurred in the Finals, I will never be able to understand why Lebron refused to attack the basket.
(3) Here is my final Lebron James thought and I’ll do it in E-Mail Form:
TO: Lebron James
FROM: Common Sense
SUBJECT: Your Post Game
Hey Lebron. When you’re done blaming the media or reminding fans that your life is better than there’s, could you be a buddy and hit the gym this off season and work on your post game? You’ve been in the league for eight years, you can physically dominate every player not named “Dwight Howard”, yet you’ve never worked on how to score five feet from the basket.
I know you have that whole Global Icon thing to cultivate, but would it kill you to add that final weapon that would make you unstoppable?
The only thing uglier than your post game in Game 6 were those commercials for ‘Zoo Keeper’. Seriously who is going to want to watch Kevin James and a talking monkey? Who green lights that crap? All right I’m getting off track.
So before you hit the Delano for a round of Mojitos with the boys, why not schedule a little gym time instead?
(4) It’s a good thing Dwayne Wade has a Playoff MVP on his resume or we’d be talking about his five turnovers and 10 missed shots a little more.
(5) -24! Really Lebron? In an elimination game you hang a -24 in the plus/minus column. I know I promised not to pick on you anymore but I was just looking at the box score and that number just jumped out at me. Wow.
(6) Yeah he missed a ton of shots, but give Dirk Nowitzki credit for not backing down. He kept shooting, scored late when it counted and didn’t pass the ball to inferior players because he was afraid of the moment like a certain player whose nickname infers royalty. (I’m sorry; it’s so hard to not go back to the LBJ well). I’m wracking my brain trying to think of a better individual performance in the playoffs in NBA history over the past 20-25 years, and I can’t think of anyone who accomplished more than Dirk. Through 21 playoff games opponents focused their entire defensive game plan to stopping Dirk and no one had an answer. Do you realize the degree of difficulty that Dirk faced? Rarely did Dirk have an open look, most of the time he had multiple hands in his face and two guys guarding him. Dirk has been a Hall of Fame player for years, but these playoffs have elevated his status, his legacy is set in stone.
(7) No way Dallas wins this game without Jason Terry. They probably lose by double digits. Nowitzki missed 10 shots in the first half and yet they led by two. Terry kept them in the game and allowed Dirk to eventually find his stroke.
(8) There is no statistical way to prove this, but didn’t every shot made by Jason Kidd seem important? He averaged just 9.3 PPG in the playoffs but every one of them was critical.
In the end, this was a good day for sports! Didn’t you feel better about The Game after Dallas won. It really was a battle of Good vs. Evil and, in this case, Good won the day. Yes, I understand that is a wildly biased opinion, but I love the game of basketball and I felt the Heat were trying to cheat the system. Barring a massive injury they will eventually win a title, but for at least this year the good guys won.