LeBron James (credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
I’ve never been a huge fan of Lebron James (although I am the first to admit that he is in the conversation when discussing the greatest of all time).
The manner in which he left Cleveland by way of “the Decision” left a bad taste in my mouth, and reeked of the new mentality of athletes who demand (and get) the attention of the media. It set the standard of how young athletes would act and today, even high school players hold press conferences today to inform the public of their decision to attend a university. I can only imagine Lebron, several years ago holding a presser to announce that he was taking his talents to Duke, or Kentucky or Akron.
All of this aside, I’m converting to the notion that Lebron is a pretty special athlete and human being, worthy of the attention he gets and, perhaps, in some ways, not getting his complete due.
LeBron James (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
The numbers speak for themselves. He is averaging just under 46 minutes a games, 35.8 point, 12 rebounds and 8.3 assists. Don’t buy the rhetoric that Dellavedova and Tristan Thompson are stars in the making. James is playing with 4 other guys named Who. Even though Golden State has played poorly in 2 of the games, this series would have been over but for the efforts of Lebron. I still think Golden State wins the title, but Lebron James has earned my respect and should have earned the respect of basketball fans everywhere.
He has not had the benefit accorded most superstars by getting the benefit calls by the officiating crew and I could make a case that he has been hijacked throughout the finals by defenders constantly smacking him without the referees calling the fouls appropriately. His drive to the basket at the end of regulation time in game 2 was a perfect example of him being smacked at least 2 times with the refs turning off their whistles in the dying moments. His help defense has been outstanding and his passing has made average players look very good. He is the one Cav, who every time he gets the ball, he is a threat to either score or pass to someone else who will. He has been a one man team, who has made this series interesting and even if Cleveland loses, he will have, once again, proven his greatness.
Throw in the charitable work he does through his foundation which he has, among other things developed a mentoring program, called Wheels For Education, designed to help young kids identified as “at risk” of dropping out of school and one can see that the impact of Lebron James will continue far beyond this NBA final series. He has also been free from negative gossip that affected players like Michael Jordan and others. I don’t believe in comparing great players of different eras and arriving at a decision as to who is the greatest of all time, but I think it is only fair to say that Lebron James has stood up and demanded to be counted and deserves the respect of the basketball fan, whether they like or dislike the Cavs.