LeBron James and the Most Overlooked Transformation in NBA History

Stephen ChoContributor IIIApril 6, 2017

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 21:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Sacramento Kings at American Airlines Arena on February 21, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

"Shoot the f*cking ball!" are the exact words that Kobe directed at LeBron after he passed up the potential game winning shot in the NBA All-Star Game last Sunday.

LeBron pulled off a very, very similar play Friday after the All-Star Game, when LeBron passed up on the go-ahead shot and dished it to Udonis Haslem instead.. to which Dwyane Wade and Erik Spoelstra put their heads down in disbelief.

The announcer even proclaimed, "He passed again.." and an awkward silence followed. Kobe and the rest of the Miami Heat aren't the only critics (for lack of a better word) of LeBron lately—we all are.

If you haven't made a LeBron joke in the past year, well then your lying, because we all have. I mean, anytime you bring a purse to a game, you're just asking to lose respect. 

Nonetheless, there comes a point in time when jokes get old and get in the way of more important issues. Blinded by our hate for him and eagerness to criticize him, we've overlooked the best player in the league just like that.

We all loved LeBron in Cleveland, how could you not? America woke up every morning and got to see at least one monster jam from The King on SportsCenter. He was always joking on and off the court. He was the perfect teammate.

Then, the decision.

It's ironic that LeBron called his special "the decision," because it was the worst one he made in his life. From the day he aired that special, everything went downhill... that is, everything except for his play.

The King's post game has gone through the roof this year
The King's post game has gone through the roof this yearMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Like the rest of the world, you probably didn't notice since you could care less about him anymore, but LeBron James is having one of the best seasons in NBA history.  28, 8.5, and 7 is just unheard of in this day and age.

In the past 30 years, the only person that's come close to these numbers is his "Airness" himself, Michael Jordan. In the prime of Jordan's career, his PER (Player Efficiency Rating) was 31.89, the highest in NBA history. That is, until this season, where LeBron has 33.13 halfway through the season. 

In LeBron's rookie year, everybody was cheering for every shot he took, even though he was only shooting 41 percent for 20 points a game. Fast forward eight years—LeBron is dropping 28 a night on 55% shooting. But none of this matters "since he can't finish in the fourth," or because "the planet Saturn has more rings than him."

In a few years, LeBron has transformed into one of the five smartest players in the game today, but obviously this doesn't matter either. LeBron's worked on his post game to a point where it's straight up unfair for the defender. But, once again, this doesn't matter.

I've said this all my life and will say it again—I hated LeBron before anyone else did (back when he was in Cleveland). And even as one of the biggest LeBron haters in the nation, it still makes me furious when somebody says LeBron "sucks" or when people are making jokes about him 24/7 on Twitter, to the point where I see a new one everyday. 

As much as it hurts for me to admit, LeBron has transformed from great to amazing in two seasons, and I have to admit, he's become a whole new animal this season.

"Give credit where credit is due"—Anonymous