The King is Crowned

June 22nd, 2012

Last night the Miami Heat trounced the Oklahoma City Thunder and captured an NBA championship. It was a stunning game, where just about every Heat player stepped up and made big shots and big plays, and the team tied an all-time NBA record for the most three-point shots made in an NBA Finals game. As a Heat fan, a LeBron James fan and a fan of the game of basketball, it was an exhilarating and satisfying moment. How much more so for LeBron James, certainly the most (unfairly) scrutinized and criticized professional sports athlete in my lifetime.

I really, really hope this will put a gag order on many of the LeBron haters. It blows my mind that there has been such a volume of bile and hatred for an athlete who's biggest crime was raising millions for a charity and making a promise he may not be able to deliver on. There are so, so many more athletes in this country who are terrible people once they exit the stadium.

When I watch professional sports, I want to see greatness. I don't want to sit in front of my TV and spend two hours watching mediocrity. I want to see great athletes accomplish great feats, and that's why I love watching LeBron James. He is a superb athlete who excels at what he does in just about every category. This playoff run especially should put to bed some of the criticism of LeBron, based on his numbers alone. It should put to rest some of the criticism based on the fact that the Heat won every series of this playoff run in a come-from-behind capacity, largely carried on the shoulders of LeBron James.

Last year, LeBron James truly had an abysmal playoff performance. Criticism of his performance last year was justified. In response, LeBron spent a summer in introspection and practice, and he came back this year a fundamentally improved player. He took his licks, he dealt with them and wrestled through them, and then used those experiences to improve as a player. He met adversity and used it to propel himself to greater heights, rather than wilting in the face of it. If that doesn't tell the story of athletic competition, then what does?

Perhaps even more exciting then LeBron's play last night was watching the entire Heat team rise to the moment. Mike Miller was absolutely unstoppable last night. I was literally jumping around our condo every time that guy sunk another three point shot. It was surreal. Mario Chalmers had big moments. Shane Battier had big moments. Norris Cole had big moments. And of course, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade had huge moments. It was an amazing team effort, and it resulted in a blowout game, something I truly did not think was possible.

My hat also goes off to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite a pretty atrocious performance last night, I think the Thunder are a really great team. They have a lot of enormously talented, young players who will be in the thick of this league for a long time. I really wasn't sad for the Thunder loss, because I'm confident that these guys will be winning a championship at some point. If they are the caliber of players I think they are, they will use this experience to improve and will come back and win a championship in the not-to-distant future.

Maybe LeBron James will be the greatest player in the game of basketball. Maybe he won't. At the least, he is one of the greatest players to ever play the game, and he's likely going to continue to get better and improve. He probably has at least 5 or 6 more years of prime play. It's going to be an exciting thing to watch.

Haters: you better think twice before you open your mouth to spew forth the LeBron haterade. The defensibility of such a position is significantly weakened.



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PMasta says...

"To say that LeBron James' biggest crime was raising money for charity is a little disingenuous, you have to admit."


But really, though. Continuing to hold a grudge against LeBron James is absurd. ABSURD. I have no doubt that LeBron James wanted to bring a championship to his hometown, and I think that would have been incredible. However, he was playing on a team that didn't have the chops and for a green owner that didn't know what the heck he was doing. It wasn't going to happen in Cleveland, and so he made a decision that ANY kind of professional would make: he changed companies to be more successful in his career. Yes, he did it in a way that displayed the impetuousness of his youth, but if that's his greatest crime, then he's FAR above many other athletes. He's not using fake bats or running dog fighting rings. Everyone does dumb stuff as a punk kid. People do stuff as punk adults!

It's time to move on. LeBron James is a professional athlete, and his performance both on and off court has generally been very high, all things considered.

Posted June 22nd, 2012 @ 11:14 AM

DZ says...

To say that LeBron James' biggest crime was raising money for charity is a little disingenuous, you have to admit. The guy is a truly unreal athlete, and he stays out of trouble, and I'm happy for him. But what made him a villain was telling his hometown fans that he wanted to stay there and build a championship team, and then holding an hour-long special on ESPN to break up with them. If he had done it quietly (even a tiny bit moreso) I don't think he would be nearly so despised by so many people. That decision just came off as oblivious at best, and self-serving at worst.

But, again, I don't dislike the guy and I'm glad people will now have to stop pretending that he's a choker or mentally weak.

Posted June 22nd, 2012 @ 10:56 AM

Strandy says...

I like LeBron. I didn't know the world was hating... but that usually happens to popular people.

Posted June 22nd, 2012 @ 9:41 AM

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