NBA Finals: What Happened to LeBron James?

Joe CottageContributor IJune 15, 2007

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 29:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks over at the bench of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 29, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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 Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The King is dead. Long live the King.
Let me say, for starters, that I know LeBron James will be okay. I know he will survive his defeat at the hands of Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs in the 2007 NBA Finals; I know he will go on to be the All-World player that he is, and is still becoming.
But let me ask, while I'm here, the one question that I think has got to be on everybody's mind:
What happened to LeBron James?
Part of the answer is that his team was outmatched. The Spurs were better than the Cavs. Way better. No matter how well LeBron played, he would have struggled to bridge the gap by himself.
But he didn't even come close. And I think it's because he was nervous.
It's refreshing, in a way: refreshing to know that King James, for all his poise and all his talent, is still human; refreshing to know that an oh-my-God-so-good 22-year-old is still, after all, just a 22-year-old.
Who gets nervous.
Who plays tight.
Who maybe, just maybe, buckles when the game's heaviest pressure gets laid on his shoulders.
Like I said, I don't doubt that LeBron James will be all right. But he wasn't all right against the Spurs.
The King, it seems, still has some growing up to do.