Jun 22, 2012, 1:31 AM EDT
Love LeBron? Hate him? Aside from how he handled his free agency (“The Decision”), how about apathy?
Personally, I couldn’t care less that LeBron James abandoned Cleveland in pursuit of a ring — not my problem — but it wasn’t worthy of its own television special. Whether you appreciate his larger-than-life persona or not though, you can’t deny LBJ’s place as one of the greatest pro basketball players in the NBA, now and forever.
Winning the NBA Finals solidified that, as if somehow it wasn’t cemented already.
In his second season with the franchise, the Miami Heat took down the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games, finally crowning King James with his first World Championship. Naturally he was named the Finals MVP, averaging 28.6 PPG, 10.2 rebounds, and 7.4 assists for the series.
There’s a ton of debate out there over how we’re supposed to feel about LeBron, but I suspect a large portion of Philly fans are like myself, not fully engaged. However he measures up historically, James is just another superstar basketball player who is not presently a member of the 76ers roster. His trials and tribulations — invented and otherwise — don’t resonate with everybody.
But there are plenty of folks deeply invested, a handful of whom probably began beating the “LeBron is great” drum when he was just a high school kid posing for the cover of SI. For them, this was vindication. I don’t suspect James converted many new fans during a Finals run, but certainly “haters” must admit he’s deserving of some credit after leading his team to the ultimate prize.
Did he take the easy way out? I don’t know. The greats always seem to have an excellent supporting cast, and Miami backed James with precisely that. A veteran club systematically dismantled an exciting and likely still up-and-coming Thunder squad laden with superstars of their own. Can’t see the issue with an organization putting a championship team together when the opportunity presents, or players who wish to be a part of it.
So congrats to the Heat. I hope it ends the rather ridiculous back-and-forth over LeBron’s greatness, even though it won’t change the fact that legions of sports fans will inevitably still dislike him intensely today.
You really need another reason why? I can think of at least one more reason: he’s the winner, our team isn’t.
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