LeBron James: The Miami Heat's Complicated King
It's a sad day for NBA memes.
The days when the rest of the non-basketball playing world had as many rings as LeBron James are over.
And as entertaining as they were in the beginning, they have become a nuisance in the past couple months.
As their repetitiveness increased and humor decreased, it got me thinking about why people seem to love to hate LeBron.
It seems as if he can't do anything without being criticized for it. In fact, it was ESPN that implicated that he had choked in the fourth quarter against the Thunder in Game 1, when he really hadn't.
Ultimately, the argument that seems to get people going is if LeBron is better than Michael Jordan was. For many, the fact that the age old "truth" that Jordan was the best player to ever live is now being challenged by LeBron is hard to bear.
Ever since his Cleveland years, LeBron vs. Jordan has been a hot topic, from sports talk shows to bar fights. So much so that when LeBron graced Miami with his "talents," it ended up polarizing NBA fans even more on whether LeBron was as good as Jordan.
What makes LeBron's case so special is the fact that people have a hard time discerning their personal feelings from the actual facts (statistics).
In fact, for me, it is still tough to keep those two separate. I'm not a big fan of LeBron when it comes to his personality. A person who breaks a promise to a whole city isn't someone to look up to. Moreover, it's LeBron's demeanor that seems to rub people, including me, the wrong way. His ego, at times, seems to be as big as Yao Ming and as annoying as Dwayne Wade after being called for a foul.
With the "Chosen 1" tattooed on his back and proclaiming himself the King with the @KingJames twitter account, he seems to have an arrogant quality about him that turns people off.
But, put those personal prejudices away, and what stands is one of the greatest basketball players to ever live.
While Jordan still reigns over him as the true King, LeBron is, and always has been, making the case to be one of the greats.
Looking at his play in the NBA Finals, he may have proven a point.
When Game 5 was complete, he finished the finals with outrageous averages of 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game. Also, it wasn't just offense that made LeBron look so good. Against Boston, he held Paul Pierce to 34.4 percent shooting-—no easy task.
After winning this ring, there is no doubt that LeBron will be considered one of the best-—no doubt the best NBA player now-—regardless of what people feel about him.
That's the way it should be.
Because if you think about it, Jordan had bits of arrogance in him as well. At times, he wasn't the most likable person, and people were questioning whether he could win a ring six years into his NBA career as well. In fact, it wasn't until Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson showed up that he was able to win his six championships; his first one came a year after they had been together (sound familiar?).
However, what Jordan had that LeBron is still questioned about was the ultimate killer instinct to win. After he apparently gave up on the Cavs in the 2010, LeBron's "killer instinct' was in doubt. Even now, it is obvious that Jordan had that will to win that LeBron had yet to find.
In an age with Twitter and Facebook, everyone becomes a self-proclaimed journalist with an opinion. It was evident that LeBron was truly hurt by what people were saying about him on social media sites during last year's NBA Finals.
So, this year, he turned everything off.
Frequent NBA viewers would see LeBron reading books all the time to relax himself before games. In fact, he didn't update his Twitter account all throughout the NBA Finals to keep himself focused and didn't go on his computer to see what people were saying about him.
This year, we saw a different LeBron—a more focused LeBron. One who tells Mario Chalmers to stop waiving at the crowd and "play ball" before Game 5 is over. One who doesn't seem to fit all those meme jokes we see more than we would like.
This year, we saw a LeBron focused on winning a championship.
Now, he has the ring he so sorely wanted—the ring no one wanted him to get. And through it all, my opinion of him is slowly changing.
I still believe he is arrogant and egotistical, but he conceals it beneath attempts to do good. Case in point, for the first time in his life, he seemed to let his play speak for itself. Rarely did we hear LeBron speak during his championship run.
And with that, I have gained some respect back for him. This year, he showed that he is not the same person who went on "The Decision" two years ago. Moreover, his stats showed that he is no longer the same player he was. In fact, he is even better.
Now, no matter what people's emotions cause them to say, LeBron is the best player in the NBA and will probably be considered one of the greatest to ever play the game.
Will he surpass Jordan as the greatest ever?
To answer that, we're going to need not two, not three, not four, not five, but many more years to determine that one.
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