Since the Sports Illustrated article titled "The Chosen One" graced newsstands about a sensational high-school junior named LeBron James from St-Vincent St-Mary's from Akron Ohio notified the general public of arguably the greatest high school player ever, the comparisons have begun. LeBron, who won 3 state championships and the one mythical National title his senior year, has been compared to the greatest player in NBA history, Michael Jordan.
Whether it be the jersey number (23) or the way they totally dominated the game and took away an opponents will in the process, great things were expected from Lebron. He was annointed King James before ever playing a NBA game, also equipped with a $90 million dollar contract from Nike and a whole city that put it's faith in him to alleviate the demons that had lasted from 1964, from "The Drive" to "The Fumble" to Jose Mesa and the Indians in 1997.
If that wasn't enough pressure, he was also looked at by the NBA to be the golden goose, the one guy who was capable of filling seats in every NBA arena and be the marketing tool who could almost single-handedly keep the NBA in the black for years to come as Michael had done throughout the late 80's and the decade of the 90's.
So now, 7 years later, how has he handled the pressure? Well to James credit, he has won an MVP, 2 All-Star Game MVP's, Rookie of the Year, 1 of 3 players to record a triple-double in their first ever playoff game, averaged 40-10-7 in a playoff series and over 25-5-5 for his postseason career. He took the Cavaliers to their first ever NBA Finals in only his fourth year and second postseason appearance, and last year he led the Cavs to the best record in the NBA in route to winning the aforementioned MVP award. This list is better than some of the greatest players do in their careers, and yet there are still some people who believe that the King is overhyped because of the one glaring missing item:an NBA Finals trophy. Based on some similarities between MJ and LeBron, these are a couple reasons why I feel like the Cavs dynasty is about to begin.
Turning around a losing franchise: I know everywhere you turn now you can find Bulls fans,either rocking the MJ or Pippen jerseys, the new age Derrick Rose jerseys, or the old school Starter jackets with the logo (old school heads now what I'm saying). But it hasn't always been that way. Before MJ came to town, the Bulls were looked at as a laughingstock franchise, not far from what the Cavs were viewed as before James arrived. Does anyone remember the most showed Cavs highlight before James came to town? It was Ricky Davis, intentionally missing a shot at HIS OWN GOAL so that he could record a triple-double. Now don't get me wrong, the Cavs have had decent teams and players, from Nance to Price to Daughtery, but never had they come close to having a guy who could garner them the national respect that James has brought to town or that makes the big markets sit up and pay attention to a city otherwise known, quite unfairly I might add, as "The Mistake by the Lake".
The route to a title: Does anyone find it odd that in his first couple of years in trying to break through the proverbial championship wall that Michael had to go through Detroit before finally breaking through. Fast forward to LeBron's first couple of years. The Pistons, led by Chauncey Billups, stood in the Cavs way, winning both division and conference titles during James earlier years, ousting the Cavs in 7 in the conference semis in 06 before the Cavs, marked by that memorable 25 straight points by James in Game 5 and Boobie's 6 3's in Game 6 clinched the conference title and sent the Cavs on to their first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history. In MJ's first championship quest, he had to go through LA and a guy who may still have been considered the best in the game in Magic Johnson to win it all and finally take the undisputed crown as the king of the NBA. Sounds eerily similar to this years storyline, doesn't it?
In closing, MJ won the first of his 6 titles in his 7th year, and also won it in his 2nd MVP season. This is LeBron's 7th year, and I think its safe to say he is well on his way to his 2nd consecutive MVP award. Based on the growth of James game this year, becoming even more of a leader on the floor and learning from the fact that even the greatest ever had to endure failure before the success started, I think it's safe the say a new-age dynasty is about to begin and the undisputed King of the NBA is about to be crowned. I'm just glad to be a WITNESS to it all