According to the Association's front office, the NBA playoffs are where amazing happens.
Since the start of the playoffs, we've had images of Kobe and LeBron burned into our eye balls. The Vitamin Water campaign and the Nike puppets were all based on the idea of LeBron and Kobe meeting in the Finals. Well, that's out the door and while Kobe held up his end of the bargain Lebron fell short.
A few weeks ago many people were positive this would be the other way around and Kobe would be watching Lebron in the Finals. Well here we are and the stage is set for a Magic-Lakers Finals. Yeah, the Magic—who would have thought that they would be in the Finals - with a healthy Jameer Nelson no less?
So we did not get the dream match-up in the Finals that a lot of people were hoping for. Now people are back pedaling like I have never seen before. A few weeks ago the Cavs were unstoppable, I can't even count the number of times I heard someone say "I don't see anyone stopping the Cavs." Now that they have been stopped very abruptly none of it seems to be LeBron's fault.
There is no arguing that LeBron is as physically dominant as any player there has ever been. LeBron is basically the size of Dwight Howard with the speed of Randy Moss.
The argument that LeBron has no help is such a cop-out. This team finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA and now that they fell short, that means LeBron has no help.
I didn't hear this argument once until the Cavs were eliminated. If they had come from a six, seven, or eight seed I could see that argument, but they were the number one seed overall.
I think people have heavily underestimated the mentality of a champion and a leader. This is what I believe separates Kobe being in the Finals and LeBron watching the Finals.
Anyone who wants to be considered as one of the greatest of all time needs to hit free throws at a higher rate than 74 percent in the Conference Finals.
Kobe Bryant is not a better player than LeBron. Kobe Bryant is mentally stronger than LeBron. Kobe has been there before and won. He has been there before and lost.
It appears to me that Kobe has a better feeling for the game. Yes, I do agree the Lakers have more all-around talent, but until the Conference Finals started, that was hardly anyone's feelings.
One glaring piece of evidence that LeBron is not mentally ready is the way he acted after the Game Six loss Saturday. Try to defend it if you want, but the fact is that LeBron acted like a spoiled teenager.
It seems that this has been a season-long party for LeBron and the Cavs, now his party ended before he wanted it to and it's time to pout in the corner.
Don't give me an excuse like "I'm a competitor and I don't like to lose." If the Cavs win LeBron is the first one on the mic and the camera and if they lose, it should be no different.
You can't just be the leader when it's convenient. If roles were reversed and Kobe did that people would not make any excuses for him—they would just bash him ruthlessly.
Next season, LeBron might want to take a more business-like approach to the game instead of a fun approach. Taking fake pictures before every game makes for decent TV but clearly it doesn't help you win rings.
It is fairly obvious to me that when you watch the these two, Kobe is all business and LeBron is all fun and that is why one is still playing while the other watches.