I wanted to write “detractors” in the title. I prefer that word over the overused cliche that is now “haters”.
LeBron could finish his career going 4-6 (just a random projection; I don’t actually see his teams losing that many) in the NBA Finals and he’d still be dubbed a top 5 player in basketball history (I already consider LeBron a top 3 player — my top 3 looks like this: 1.) Michael Jordan, 2.) Magic Johnson, 3.) LeBron) by most sane individuals.
When it comes to basketball, so many people are obsessed with historical perspective. Game by game. It’s not nearly as bad as how fans react to certain NFL players (read: quarterbacks). I’ve read on message board forums about how, “if LeBron falls to 2-4 in the Finals, this fucks his legacy up”.
Ah-uh… hello? Take a gander at the NBA logo. Jerry fucking West. “Mr. Clutch”. In his first nine trips to the NBA Finals, his record was 1-9. Yeah, LeBron falling to 2-4 in the Finals really fucks up his personal legacy. Idiots.
If LeBron had played like Stephen Curry the other night, the media and detractors would have shit on him. It’s true. Look back, four years ago, at the 2011 NBA Finals. LeBron gagged. I hardly see any people banging on Curry. Why is that? Even though LeBron has erased much of his villainous reputation (I preferred LeBron being a villain; made things more interesting with so many angry folks denouncing him), he still gets flack from short-sighted detractors.
“He’s a media darling!” So what? It’s 2015. We have 24/7 news cycles running rampant. Social media is king. Everybody is trying their best to push their voices out there first. If the world had been like this in the ’80s and ’90s, the same thing would have been happening for guys like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. So what? One of my friends is constantly whining about ESPN slobbing on LeBron’s knob. I tell him what I tell everybody else — turn off the TV. I do. ESPN annoys the shit out of me (narcissistic SportsCenter anchors that are obsessed with themselves and believe they are bigger than the show).
Back to the original point — if (or when) LeBron falls to 2-4 in the NBA Finals, that doesn’t affect his legacy whatsoever. None of his teams have ever been close to the championship teams Jordan had in the ’90s. Do you realize that when LeBron bolted for Miami, Dwyane Wade was already out of his prime? That’s when Wade was in the midst of his deterioration with his knees. Chris Bosh? I always feel that Bosh was/is better than what fans/the media give him credit for, but oftentimes he was wildly inconsistent, never had an amazing post game and hardly ever a phenomenal defender. Jordan won his titles alongside a Scottie Pippen that was undoubtedly in his prime, and in the later years, Tony Kukoc (who at one point was the best European baller in the world) and Dennis Rodman (who’s going to be in the hall of fame soon). Yeah… ‘Bron had shitheels like Larry Hughes, Daniel Gibson, Donyell Marshall, Joel Anthony and Norris Cole.
“LeBron had to leave to join other stars!!!” Do you dipshits realize that Michael never had to, because he was delivered Scottie Pippen? Do you dipshits realize that Magic Johnson walked into the league and had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Norm Nixon? James Worthy right after that?!
An addition to the Michael argument is, “Well, Michael had to wait a few years for Pippen!” Yeah, whoop-de-do, MJ played three seasons before Pippen. In LeBron’s fourth season, he led that shit squad of a Cavs team to the Finals over a veteran Detroit Pistons team that was tougher than nails.
“But LeBron is supposed to elevate everybody else!” Oh, boy. That’s even dumber shit. Imagine if social media and the internet had been around in the late ’80s, especially ’88-’90 when the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons were making Jordan their bitchboy. Jordan whined to the league about the Pistons’ tactics and NBA rules were changed on the defensive front for Michael. MJ, being title-less at the time, would have been BLASTED by sports fans.
I consider Michael Jordan to be the greatest basketball player ever, but he was not without fault or struggles. Too many young guys hop online, who’d never watched Jordan play or even understand his struggles in a historical context, rush to those, “But Michael never…” statements when detracting from LeBron. It’s silly. Appreciate basketball. Appreciate the game. Stop fucking around with non-sequitur arguments.