It’s crazy season out there, folks. Tread lightly.
The LeBron Haters are out in full-force today and let’s be honest, they’re not the brightest bunch in the world.
LeBron just put up, arguably, the greatest performance in Finals history. He’s the only player to ever lead the NBA Finals in points, rebounds and assists. It’s never happened before, very well may never happen again.
And he didn’t win Finals MVP, which is fine. If you want to give the award to only a player on the winning team, just define the award differently. Because we just failed to give the award to the guy who put up the greatest Finals performance in NBA history and instead gave it to the guy that was credited for “holding” him to 36, 13 and 8 per night.
As for the Cavs losing the Finals, isn’t kind of a miracle they won two games?
They were down three starters, with two of these three starters being Top 15 players in the NBA. LeBron’s supporting cast was a few guys the Knicks decided they didn’t want anymore, a goofy looking white dude that shouldn’t be in the NBA, afterthought James Jones and the scrappy Tristan Thompson. Not exactly a Murderers Row. We’ll get into that later.
Even if they had the least important of the three starters, Anderson Varejao, this series probably stretches to 7, at the least. Add Kevin Love, a stretch four that is one of the best shooters and rebounders in the league, and Kyrie Irving, one of the best scorers in the NBA, and we probably have the Cavs taking down the 67-win Warriors without home-court advantage. Again, we’ll dive deeper into this later.
Before we get into the next rant, let me preface this. Michael Jordan is the best player of all-time. At this point (if LeBron were to retire today), it’s not even really close.
However, LeBron is starting to make it interesting. Specifically, if his next 5-6 years go well for him.
Much is being made of LeBron’s Finals record but as usual, the fanboys don’t want to look at it from a logical standpoint. They want to take the most convenient numbers, slap them on a graphic and turn off their brain.
LeBron has only lost one Finals while being favored, one. That was in 2011 against the Dallas Mavericks.
However, he’s also won a Finals as an underdog. That came the next season against the Thunder.
The outlier in this argument is the supporting cast. The two Cleveland teams LeBron drug to the Finals had zero business even being there. The closest parallel I can find is this: if Michael Jordan brought the 87-88 Bulls to the Finals, at age 24.
LeBron brought a brutal, brutal Cavs team to the 2007 Finals at age 22. His supporting cast, you ask? Larry Hughes, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden, Sasha Pavlovic and Donyell Marshall.
I’m serious, that was it. He brought them there after taking down the powerhouse Pistons with one of the greatest performances in NBA history. At age 22.
You’re really going to fault him for losing that Finals? Really? Lets go back to the 87-88 Bulls I mentioned, which is a solid comparison but MJ was a couple years older and had Sam Vincent, Charles Oakley, Horace Grant and a young Scottie Pippen.
It took them the entire five games to get past the Cavs in the First Round, and they fell to the …Pistons… in the second round, in just five games, including three straight losses.
Simliar situations, but one of the guys rose above expectations and drug him team to the Finals. Now, internet experts that love revisionist history, are going to punish him for that? Alright then.
Another interesting side note: Look at what happens to teams LeBron leaves. The Heat, after adding even another couple guys, failed to make the postseason in the East. That’s…bad. I don’t need to go into detail about what happened to the Cavs when LeBron left last time.
So what about the 93-94 Bulls, when MJ left for a season? Well, they were just fine. They went 55-27, good for 2nd in the Central and swept the Cavs in the first round, before falling to the Knicks in seven games.
How about this season? LeBron lost Top 5 PF Kevin Love in the First Round and had to get through the confident Bulls squad without him AND with Kyrie being hobbled. Then they took down the 60-win Hawks without Kevin Love and a hobbled (he even sat out a couple games) Kyrie.
Then, in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Cavs officially lost Kyrie. Kevin Love wasn’t coming back. Anderson Varejao was long gone. To be real, the Cavs should’ve been swept. But with the superhuman performance LeBron put up, they actually won two games, including one in Golden State, where they lost only a few games all year.
We’re going to punish him for losing this one, too? Well alright.
Lastly, I really don’t understand the blind hatred for LeBron. Cocky? Arrogant? Selfish? What are you people talking about?! He and Magic are the biggest examples of pass-first superstars, even to a fault. Cocky? Arrogant? People LOVED Michael Jordan for this! Kobe is loved for it now. If you’ve been an athlete, you know a certain level of confidence comes with the job, especially for those at the top.
LeBron has never been suspended. He’s never been arrested. He married his high-school sweetheart and takes care of his kids. He’s a pass-first superstar. He isn’t vulgar. The worst thing, really the only negative thing, he’s done so far: announce he’s leaving Cleveland on TV. If that’s the worst thing he does in his career, I think we’ll all be alright.
I will say that it’s almost understandable as to why Bulls fans hate LeBron. I mean, the guy should almost have his own statue outside the UC at this point. He’s owned the Bulls, season after season, and sent them home after dashing any hope they had. I can see how that would get frustrating.
It’s just a bit ironic because…
Michael Jordan would routinely undermine management. He would punch teammates at practice. He would verbally break down teammates to the point they would be in tears. Everyone knows about his gambling and womanizing issues. If you are unaware of anything I’ve mentioned or need a reminder, this is a good start.
Kobe, well we don’t have to get into Kobe. We all know the story.
MJ & Kobe were maniac competitors, is that why they’re forgiven for everything else? Michael Jordan played before social media and the 24 hour news cycle, which is good for him. He’s probably viewed much differently if he played now.
There will always be those with blind hatred toward a certain athlete, and that’s fine. But knowledge is key, at least have a baseline of the situation.
And at this point, the LeBron Haters are comical. Just sit back and enjoy greatness, because we may only be a handful of years away from this being a legit debate.
Who knows when we’ll ever see this again? As a sports fan, I’m enjoying the ride, just like I did with Michael.