Now that that accomplishment is in his rear-view mirror, it's time for LeBron to focus on something that is going to have much bigger impact on his legacy—his second NBA title.
Getting to hoist his first Larry O'Brien Championship trophy and securing his first NBA Finals MVP this past season solidified LeBron among the elite of the elite in the history of the NBA. But to be the best of the best, and to enter into the realm of legitimate Jordan comparisons, he absolutely has to repeat this season.
The Truly Elite in the NBA Win Back-to-Back Titles
Almost every player that is considered a truly elite player repeated as an NBA Champion.
Magic Johnson did it in 1987 and 1988. Hakeem Olajuwon did it in 1994 and 1995. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1987 and 1988.
Michael Jordan did it in 1996,1997 and 1998—and the list goes on.
The point is the best of the best in the NBA win back-to-back titles, and LeBron needs to add that to his resume to continue to climb the mountain of the best ever.
If LeBron wants to truly be the king of the NBA, he has to start winning back-to-back titles, and his best chance at doing that is right now.
Legitimate Competition Stands in LeBron's Way
The last thing LeBron needs is to win a title and to have the talent he played against be called into question. Winning a title when there are no teams to stand in your way lessens the value of that title.
Luckily for LeBron, the talent that stands in his way of a repeat is better than ever. While there isn't an even balance of power in the NBA, the teams at the top are absolutely stacked, and that is in LeBron's favor.
In the East, the Boston Celtics reloaded with Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Jeff Green. The Philadelphia 76ers became deeper where it counts, in the frontcourt, with Andrew Bynum. And the Brooklyn Nets transformed from a perennial lottery team to an obstacle to a Heat repeat almost overnight.
In the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs are going to be as dangerous as ever. The L.A. Clippers have a new look with Lamar Odom, Chauncey Billups and Jamal Crawford. And leading the way are the Lake Show with Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison joining the black mamba.
Now, more than ever, there is steep competition standing in the way of LeBron and a possible repeat. If LeBron can pull it off against the teams standing in his way, a second title will mean much more than his first one did.
Second Title Means the Start of a Dynasty in South Beach
Adding his name to the list of players who have repeated as NBA champions not only puts LeBron on a new level, it also puts the Miami Heat on a new level.
It catapults them from being a successful franchise to establishing themselves as the newest dynasty in the NBA. If LeBron can help that process along, it will go a long way toward solidifying his legacy as one of the greatest to ever play basketball.
A dynasty isn't easy to establish, and it's even more difficult when you have a target on your back because you talk about winning "not one...not two...not three..." NBA championships.
LeBron didn't help himself out when he talked about winning more NBA titles than most players can only dream of. But his foolish statement two years ago will make a repeat and subsequent establishment of a Heat dynasty that much more sweet.
It's clear that the time is now for LeBron to take the next step in either building his legacy as one of the greatest of all time or adding fuel to the fire of his detractors.
If he fails to repeat in 2013, the focus will shift from his greatness to his inability to do what other great players have done before him.
If the 2012-13 season ends with the Larry O'Brien Championship trophy in his hands, though, he'll be well on his way to entering the realm of Jordan comparisons and legitimate greatest-of-all-time talk.
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