Is LeBron James for Real?

Pranav KelkarContributor IJanuary 25, 2009

There has been much hoopla surrounding the man I like to call "LBJ". Some of which concerns his potential departure from Cleveland, his potential to be MVP, and his potential to win an NBA Championship. The key word here is "potential".

Why are we all salivating at the mouth over LeBron James? Because of his potential? As good as he is, the scariest thing of all is that he hasn't reached it...yet

Having won countless awards, and drafted the N.1 overall pick in 2003 in arguably the greatest draft class ever with four of the top five picks reaching the All-Star game, are there any ideas as to why LBJ hasn't reached his potential?

I'll tell you why. He hasn't won anything. The objective in the game of basketball is to win, and the objective in the NBA is to win the NBA Finals. LeBron has not yet met this objective however.

He's been Rookie of the Year and NBA All-Star MVP, but the difference between him and a Kobe Bryant is the ability to close out an NBA Finals Series. In LeBron's first NBA Finals appearance in 2007, the Cavaliers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. And unfortunately for him this year, I feel that the Cavaliers will not make the Finals. Nonetheless, I have no doubt that LeBron will win the MVP award. Here's why.

His main competition this year for the MVP Award is his 2008 Olympic teammate and friend, Kobe Bryant. Let's look at the "Big 3" of statistics in basketball. On average, LeBron scores 1.5 more points, get's 2.0 more rebounds, and gets 1.3 more assists than Kobe. Clearly, LBJ has the statistical edge, but what I like to do when determining an MVP is taking the simple route by looking at the name of the award.

Most Valuable Player. This is not necessarily meant to determine the best player, but the most valuable, or the term I like to use, as most efficient. For this I like to use the "disappearance" test.

If Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were to disappear, which team, which franchise would miss him more? You could go either way, but I think the clear answer here is the future of the NBA: LeBron James.

So, to answer the question presented in the title. LeBron James is for real, and he is the future of this sport.