Miami Heat: Can LeBron James Teach Himself the Heimlich Maneuver in Time?

Greg Maiola@Gom1094Senior Analyst IIJune 8, 2012

With the series, and NBA Finals, on the line, LeBron James delivered big time for the Miami Heat.

Sure, the whole world respects James' basketball talent and has grown accustomed to seeing those big nights. Yes, even in the playoffs.

But the whole world knows that James isn't exactly the Adam Vinatieri of basketball. Heck, James probably knows it himself. For some reason, when the game is on the line, James tends to lose himself.

But a history of horror has an opportunity to switch fates in Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics.

There is no need to bore you with explaining why people love to see LeBron fail. His "decision" was controversial. His dancing around with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh angered sports fans across the nation.

There is no denying that James is hated, loved, talented, controversial and significant all at the same time.

When has Skip Bayless not debated over James on ESPN? What other athlete would get so much backlash for not attempting a game-winning shot in the All-Star Game? The list goes on and on and on.

But Peyton Manning finally won his ring, right? And there is little argument that James is not the most physically gifted athlete in the game today.

However, the thing is that James will never win with the media.

If he wins an NBA championship, he was supposed to and couldn't do it without Wade and Bosh. Yet if they don't win the finals every year, James gets the blame. It's pretty much a lose-lose for James regardless of how he does.

So this Game 7 against the Celtics can actually show us all what LeBron is truly made of.

Sure, he saved his team from elimination with a brilliant individual effort. But the pressure is at an all-time high. With every postseason, the ghost of winning a championship will haunt James. His mental errors have cost him in the past.

How patient can fans get? The comparisons to Michael Jordan will never fade. Will he ever come close to Kobe Bryant's class? Will he go down as the biggest waste of talent ever?

The storylines will never cease. Every postseason and every Game 7 will influence his legacy.

James knows that. He has an enormous amount of pressure from the fans, media, organization and himself. The game is up to him. His legacy and future rides on these situations.

This is what makes any Game 7 so great. There is so much more involved than advancing. Stakes are at an all-time high. Heroes are made, faces enshrined. Glory and greatness are made in these moments.

However, goats can be created. Faces can cringe at the sound of a single name.

Bill Buckner anyone?

LeBron James knows what is on the line in Game 7. The significance of the result is what determines his place among the game's greatest. Can he finally break through and win that ring? Or will he please 99% of sports fans by coming up short again?

So the true question is whether or not James plans on breathing come Sunday morning. He has been choking for quite some time. The King can't really find a bigger game for his legacy than when the Celtics come to Miami. Everything is at stake. Everything.

But does James have what it takes?

Can he do it?

Ah, Game 7. Bring it on.