LeBron James: 5 Things a Heckler Could Say to Heat Star About His NBA Career
LeBron James may still be making a strong case for the 2012-13 regular season MVP, but he is not considered basketball royalty yet. Unbeknownst to those who consistently frown upon his accomplishments, he is a pretty good player.
However, James has a ways to go before he can become a pillar of perfection in the professional basketball community. Hell, he has a mountain to climb before he can even be considered the best. His raw talent is unquestionable, as are his late-game finishes and anything else a heckler can come up with to decipher his prior and 2012 NBA season shortcomings.
There are flocks of fans just waiting for their season tickets to be of use so that they can sit courtside and shout obscenities at the league’s favorite punching bag, or at least that is what he considers himself.
Just take the Wizards’ fan that took the obvious high road and brought up the sensitive subject of Delonte West and LeBron’s mother. LBJ responded in the most reasonable way for the general public, but in a way that is unbecoming of a man in the spotlight.
What else could LeBron’s “haters” say? What else has James given them as fuel to the not-to-nice screams tossed at him from the sidelines?
“Norris Cole’s Already Got You Beat in the Fourth Quarter!”
Of course the rookie, Norris Cole, does not have nearly as many career fourth-quarter points as LeBron James does.
However, his reputation allows him to be looked at as an option in the last two minutes more than the two-time regular season MVP.
James has never shied away from the fact that his most recent seasons have produced mediocre numbers in crunch time.
As a matter of fact, in three of four of the Miami Heat’s postseason wins against the Boston Celtics, LeBron scored 10-plus points in the fourth quarter, including a slew of threes that ultimately assisted South Beach into the next round.
Yet those who dislike his compilation of talents and commercial attitude on life will say that it was on his accord Miami almost lost it all.
He lost the ball in the Boston series, and that play almost immediately led to a Boston score that drove the Heat into overtime. James’ clutch ability is one of the major components of his game that is questioned, and it remains as such this season.
Cole exploded onto the scene against the very people LeBron tossed out of the playoffs in 2011, while analysts are seemingly accepting of James’ lack of greatness in the fourth quarter. The first three quarters have almost become good enough for him to ride on a great white horse toward an MVP award.
LeBron’s performances in the fourth quarter is 141 points in 30 games, a 4.7 average per. Those types of numbers are not going to cut it in the postseason, when every second counts.
His dwindling offense in the fourth quarter can be attributed to both coach Erik Spoelstra’s game plan when Miami is up and James’ indirect approach toward the last minutes of a game.
"You Will Never Be Michael Jordan!"
There is a Batman and Robin dynamic in Miami that will never be solved for a multitude of reasons, but majorly because of the fact that neither Dwyane Wade nor LeBron James’ role in the organization can be solidly identified.
Both men are huge positives for the Miami Heat, and without either the franchise plays different and has a lesser chance of winning that big game.
However, fans will be quicker than a speeding bullet to say that LeBron is worth less to the team than Wade is.
I mean, the biggest argument is that James does not have a ring to show for any of his accomplishments, but Wade led South Beach to the 2006 NBA Finals championship with an MVP award to make his legacy even more concrete. Only champions can carry such a Hollywood franchise like the Miami Heat, and the only man who fits that bill is Flash himself.
Another stepping stone that puts Wade in a higher echelon than LeBron is that he is the undisputed closer for Miami. The clutch shot against the Charlotte Bobcats, which led to the infamous Superman celebration, only put him deeper into viewers’ minds as the man that Coach Spo’ will look to whenever the team needs to dig themselves out of a bind.
The “Wade Syndrome” is quite the opposite of the “Blame It on LeBron” illness sweeping the nation.
Whatever LeBron does for three quarters means absolutely squat, as he normally performs better in the first 36 minutes of a basketball game. When he sucks in the next 12 or does not live up to the sky-high expectations leveled around his locker, he failed his team, and he is solely to blame.
However, when Wade sucks for three straight quarters and then shows up in key plays at the end to help Miami win in such games as the Chicago series, he is the Almighty that LeBron will never be. Wade automatically becomes a Miami icon and LeBron remains dispensable.
You ever heard of the LBJ syndrome?
If you have not, it goes a little something like this: “All net or airball.”
James is not a hit-and-miss type of player because he clearly exudes the confidence in the post when he wants to.
Yet his jumper, although mightily improved over the years, has developed an extreme success-failure rate.
His field-goal percentage is 54.7 percent and from behind the three it is 36.7 percent this season.
Those numbers may perpetuate the fact that LeBron’s shooting is higher in both categories than it has ever been, but watching him miss a jumper is like watching a ball sail into the wind.
Either it’s going directly in the hoop, or it’s blowing off the backboard and soaring into the stands.
There is a reason why James has not been shooting as many three-point field goals as any other season. Miami played in plenty of games before him—or Wade—even took a single long-distance perimeter shot. James’ shot selection is upgrading, and it is making him a beast in the post.
Not to say that LeBron has no range. But I am pretty sure Coach Spoelstra will live with those highlight dunks and monster twists under the rim rather than the bricks that have made him so desperately famous for all the wrong reasons.
"You're Hot and You're Cold!"
LeBron James is one of the most polarizing, frustrating players in the league that I have ever seen in my entire life.
Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat fans alike can most definitely vibe with that conclusion, because James can give you 30-plus on any given night, and then immediately turn around and give you a half-butt performance, scoring only about 18 on mediocre scoring and barely scraping the five-rebound minimum the league and everyone else in the world has set for his size and power.
James has the potential to be one of the greatest players to have ever played the game, but his confidence seems to be his greatest foe when it comes to consistency.
The entire regular season could play out as it has been scripted for the Miami Heat.
LeBron could end up averaging a single point or two under 30 per, and Miami could be sitting atop the Eastern Conference ahead of the Rose-run Chicago Bulls and the Jeremy Linsanity-freak train rolling through the Big Apple.
James’ best game of the season was against the Dallas Mavericks in their season opener on Christmas.
LBJ stat-line: 37 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, 57.9% FG
Result: Miami Heat by 11, DAL 94 – MIA 105
Then you have LeBron’s worst game thus far, against the Orlando Magic in their meeting on Feb. 8.
LBJ stat-line: 17 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, 5-of-15 FG
Result: Miami Heat downed by 13, ORL 102 – MIA 89
Everyone can have an off day or two, but LeBron’s almost directly result in Miami’s downfall. At least that is what the hecklers say.
"Your Game Isn't Half the Size of Your Ego!"
No matter what Chris Broussard says about LeBron James, the public does not care. Regardless of his seemingly pleasant demeanor, his jokes on the sidelines, his Twitter interaction with fans and his avid involvement with the community, no one seems to think much of LeBron.
To many fans, he is nothing but a pompous bastard who cares about nothing but his own success. James’ participation in ESPN’s The Decision has permanently ruined any fair image of his in the media’s eyes and immediately cast a shadow of the league’s bad guy across the past, present and future status of his career.
In his defense, James really has nothing to do with how the public views him besides the ESPN special. A lot of his comments are taken out of context. That is with the exception of a tweet soon after last season’s embarrassing loss by the Cleveland Cavaliers suffered at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The last thing a Cavs’ player wanted to hear about was a tweet from their once-proposed savior about the 50-plus point defeat being a result of bad karma, but we cannot always get what we want. Soon after being bombarded about his response to the Cavaliers’ loss, James backpedaled quicker than ever. He recanted, and no one liked it.
People want LeBron to cut out the Mr. Nice Guy act and just be the bad guy we already believe him to be. The situation becomes lose-lose, because being the bad guy means no one likes you. Being the good guy that everyone believes is truly the bad guy turns you into a phony—and still, NO ONE LIKES YOU!
James is sitting on the outside of the socially accepted circle looking in. Until he wins some rings, his off-the-court, carefree demeanor will never be tolerated, nor will his on-court joy.
His ego always takes precedent, even when there is no sign of one.
Follow Joye Pruitt on Twitter @joyethewar