Why LeBron James really is The King

By Andrew Hanlon

Seven conference finals appearances in 12 seasons.

Six NBA finals appearances and two championships.

Playoff averages - 27.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.7 steals on 47 percent shooting.

Also, the first player to reach five straight NBA Finals since Bill Russell's Celtics in the 60s.

Oh yeah, and there's this.

There's a reason why people call LeBron James The King.

It seems like everyone is taking for granted the fact that LeBron just put a team on his shoulders and carried it to the NBA Finals after playing in 911 games, plus 172 playoff games, in the last 12 years. He's not young anymore.

Also, there's the fact that said team was missing two of its three best players during the conference finals, was starting an undrafted second-year player at point guard and added three of its key rotation pieces halfway through the season.

Seriously, is there any difference between this Cavs team, minus Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, and the Cavs teams LeBron carried in his first go-round in Cleveland?

Eric Snow or Matthew Dellavedova? Larry Hughes or J.R. Smith? Drew Gooden or Tristan Thompson? Zydrunas Ilgauskas or Timofey Mozgov?

Watching LeBron makes it hard to remember that making the NBA Finals is actually difficult. The fact that he left Cleveland, made four straight finals in Miami, then came back to Cleveland and went right back to the finals with the Cavs is nothing short of miraculous. Impossible. Astonishing. Superhuman. Whatever word you want to use, the feat is incredible.

But it feels like no one is noticing. And maybe that's what really makes him The King.

Those who hate LeBron for The Decision are stuck living in the past and missing out on one of the greatest NBA players of all time by choice. And if they want to do that, then fine, but I don't get it. Greatness needs to be respected, even if someone made one stupid decision five years ago that he's already said he wishes he could take back. I say get over it, but whatever.

But when you can carry a team, and an entire city along with it, on  your back, despite losing two of your three best players, while sometimes coaching that team at the same time, all while patching together a roster consisting of players who joined your team less than four months ago, during the playoffs, to reach the NBA Finals for the fifth straight season - well, then, you deserve to be called The King.

Go get it, LeBron. And enjoy your postgame group ice baths.

No comments:

Post a Comment