Joe “Champ” Tanksley co-hosts “The Varsity Show” with Sean “Pharoah” Terry, you can catch them live Thursday evenings at 9 pm on Regal Radio’s BlogTalkRadio page
The failure of the Miami Heat to win a championship should not be an indictment on the legacy of LeBron James.
Anybody that was paying attention to the recently completed NBA Finals — won by the San Antonio Spurs over James’ Miami Heat in five convincing games — and knows anything about the game of basketball could see that it was going to take much more than “The King” to beat the San Antonio Spurs.
This year’s Spurs were hungry and they couldn’t have faced a better opponent in the Finals than the team they lost to in last year’s championship series.
San Antonio played the ultimate team game, aided by the ability of each of their players to make shots and defend. LeBron is not the rapper Future – he can’t guard everybody at the same damn time. Instead of focusing on LeBron, we should take a look at a team that just wasn’t able to match up with the Spurs. Dwyane Wade was horrible, Chris Bosh wasn’t a factor, Ray Allen didn’t knock down shots and Mario Chalmers disappeared — the only player that showed up every night was LeBron!
James has received the most grief for leaving Game 1 with cramps, but he still had 25 points when he got carried off the floor and still lead his next-best teammate by six points at the game’s end. The Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard had the extremely difficult task of matching up with James, he impressed with his effort and ultimately won Finals MVP but his 17.8 point/6.4 rebound/2.0 assist per-game split doesn’t match up well against James’ 28.2/7.8/4.0 averages.
So much of the attention during this championship stretch of LeBron’s career has been focused on making silly and ignorant comparisons between he and Michael Jordan. Yeah, Jordan has six rings and LeBron only has two, but by that logic that would mean Robert Horry and his seven rings is better than the both of them… so you can stop with that one! LeBron took a broken down Cleveland Cavaliers team to the Finals two times, he has been to Finals with the Miami Heat the past four seasons straight, his run of recent championship series runs has only been matched by the very best in the game’s history and no one — not Russell, not Magic, not Bird, not Shaq or Kobe, had to do it with less help.
During the Bulls championship runs, MJ had consistently great play around him coming from Scottie Pippen (one of the NBA’s 50 greatest of all-time) and all-stars Horace Grant and Dennis Rodman and the Bulls arguably never faced a team that could stretch the floor and hit shots like this year’s Spurs. That’s not to say Jordan’s Bulls teams couldn’t have beat the Spurs, but they too would have faced similar challenges than the Heat did this year.
LeBron isn’t Jordan, he certainly isn’t — he is more like Magic, Jordan, Pippen, Barkley and Malone wrapped into one phenomenal athletic package.
I understand that a lot people still have hate for James because of The Decision and his taking his talents to South Beach, I thought that it was weak too (he should have chosen the Bulls instead), but we cannot ignore how dominant he has been as an individual player and the ability he has shown throughout his career to make players around him better.
As he alluded to early in the series, it’s way too easy to point the finger at LeBron and crack goofy Instagram jokes with silly captions in the picture, but all that is a side show. Night after night LeBron is the real show, but put him on a bad team and he’s going to lose to a great team, its simple as that.
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