Lebron James is one win away from fulfilling a prophecy, a prophecy that was bestowed upon him by the basketball gods: To rule the NBA as King.
Rhetorically speaking, he was already King, even when he wasn't in the NBA yet. Remember when his mom, despite not having the financial capabilities, was allowed by a bank to loan a Hummer vehicle to give as a gift to the 18 year old Bron who was then already headed to the NBA? Remember when his school St.Vincent-St. Mary's had nationally televised games ? Those were some of the royal treatments given to Bron as a high schooler. There were more.
And then there was the NBA. Right from the very first game, we all knew he was someone special. Here was a guy, who had the size of Karl Malone, the grace of Michael Jordan, and court generalship of Magic Johnson. And he was only 18 years old. Right from his very first game, he was sensational: 40 minutes, 25 points on 12-20 shooting, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 turnovers in Cleveland Cavaliers' opening game loss to the Sacramento Kings during the 2003-2004 season.
Instantly, the Cavs became perenial contenders with James at the helm. The peak was when they reached the NBA finals in 2007 against the San Antonio Spurs. But it would prove to be James' first major debacle. His Cavs got swept by the Spurs, and in 2010, James disappeared in Game 5 against the Boston Celtics, where they lost 120-88.
The 2010 loss to the Celtics proved to be the his lowest moment in Cleveland. He then orchestrated the " DECISION", where he told the world that he " was taking his talents to South Beach". Lebron felt that he would never win the NBA title in Cleveland because they did not have the mapower to back him up. And this started all the negative smoke that has been cast on him until now. From Hero to Villain and from Witnesses to Quitnesses; everyone, and not just Cleveland, has been watching his every step, every dribble, every shot, and every mistake in Miami.
When the Heat lost to Dallas in last year's finals, he was criticized for disappearing in the clutch, especially after leading the series 2-1 and being up 9 in Game 4, and only to lose 3 straight disappointing games.
This year was no different. Although Miami ended up the 2nd seed in the East, they have had their danger zone moments. After dominating the overrated Knicks in round 1, the Heat fell behind 1-2 agains the Pacers and 2-3 against the Celtics. And then the Game 1 loss to the Thunder, and the near collapse in Game 2.
But perhaps kings are really born and not made. And perhaps it took the Game 5 loss to the Celtics for Lebron to finally dig deep in his heart and realize how unstoppable he can be. He was born a beast of nature and not the next Michael Jordan. He is the first Lebron James- a man child, a freak or even a mutant. He has the grace of a ballerina, yet the speed and power of a freight train. He is Awesome, and close to unbelievable. And he has been just that post Game5 against the Celtics : He averaged 38 points in the last 2 games against Boston, including 45 in the win or go home game 6. Stepping up? yes, but it was more like "finally waking up"
In the finals agains OKC, he's been averaging 9.3 free throw attempts( it was 11 during the Celtics series) His assist numbers versus last year's finals have been down by 2 per game. He has been playing at least 43 minutes in the first 4 games of this year's finals. His scoring close to 30 PPG. And his rebounding has been double digits. What do these stats mean?
More FTs mean tht he's taking the ball to the hoop more. And he's been making 81% of them in the finals. Less Assists mean that he's no longer content at letting his teammates take the shots, even if they are Wade and Bosh. 43 minutes per game means that he's resting a averrage of 1 minute and 15 seconds per quarter. That translates to wanting to be on the floor and being the catalyst. Even if that meant cramping at the end of Game 4. Double digit rebounding means that he's not content about making the points, but he wants to get the possessions that lead to the points. James has also showed his desire to win, coming back in the final minutes of Game 4 despite the injury, and hitting a 3 pointer that sealed the deal. Now truly, that was clutch. He was clutch too in Games 2 and 3. And if there is a disappearing act in the finals this year, it is no longer Bron. It is James Harden and Kevin Durant. But that is another story.
In short, James has made a statement not just to the Thunder, to Dan Gilbert and the Cavs, to the NBA but to the whole universe. At age 27 and after 8 seasons, he has finally arrived. He's listed at 6'8" and 250lbs. With the gifts that he has, there is no one like him, and perhaps there will never be. And when he decides that he is taking that ball to the hoop, whether posting up and back to the basket, or face up and forcibly driving to the rim, or even running the fast break; there is no one who can stop him. If not a basket, there will be a foul. And fouls lead to penalty which leads to free throws. And when he's hitting 81% at the line, in the finals, game on the line? There is no way the Miami Heat can lose another game. Big Three? I don't think so. Wade and Bosh would agree that this year, is the Year of the King. What's scary is that he isn't just determined, he is desperate.
I've said this before and I'll say it again: Perhaps the only mortal who can stop him physically on the court is Brock Lesnar. And he's not even in the NBA.
Like it or not, we could be seeing the progression of the "Decision" to the "Coronation" And yes, just like in the old Cleveland Nike ads, we will all be witnesses......
He was a great king. May he rest in peace.
Lakers coach Mike Brown has absolutely no interest in the Lakers' preseason record, but World Peace and Gasol acknowledged they would prefer to start winning a few games. The players competing for jobs on Los Angeles' bench again struggled to score consistently, but Brown saw no particular importance in it.
“Well, we’re still going to be basically doing the same thing that we’ve done in the past,” Gentry said. “The system that we run is practically going to be the same. I think it will be a little more controlled by me as a coach, whereas Steve basically had unlimited freedom.”
It’s been especially tough for Patterson, since the Rockets added quite a few players at his position as they were trying to collect assets for a potential Dwight Howard trade. Donatas Motiejunas has joined the team, and Terrence Jones, Royce White and Marcus Morris are all considered power forwards (at least part of the time) by the Rockets’ coaching staff. As of today, they are all still on the team. Patterson likes the competition, but believes he should be the starter on opening night.