Let's start by looking at how the Cleveland Cavaliers' elimination has affected the media in terms of the legendary LeBron James.
Despite his incredible body of work over the past seven years, suddenly LeBron is no longer the man, unable to fulfill his potential and to put it bluntly...a loser.
How quickly people jumped on the LeBron James bandwagon during his high school years, and how quickly it seems people are abandoning him after one terrible game followed by a sub-par game by his lofty standards.
By the way, that "sub-par" game a triple-double of 27 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 assists, in addition to 3 steals.
Yes, I know it was on a miserable 38 percent shooting from the field, but let's put things into perspective.
Firstly, I'll start off by saying I acknowledge it seems LeBron James does not have the killer instinct of Jordan, Bryant, and even Wade (see '06 Finals). That being said, he has still hit clutch shots and put on some amazing fourth quarter performances throughout his career. At the end of the day that is still something that could come with time, seeing as he is only 25 years of age.
So in response to all the ridiculous criticism of LeBron that has taken place, let me point out a few things that contributed far greater to Cleveland's elimination than the "sub-par" play of James. Below are the statistics for the Cleveland-Boston series.
LeBron James: 26.8 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 7.2 APG, 2.17 SPG, 1.33 BPG, 4.50 TO, 45% FG
Antawn Jamison - 11.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 42% FG, 3/16 from three
Mo Williams - 13.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 5.5 APG, 40% FG, 4/19 from three
Shaquille O'Neal - 13.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 52% FG
Based on his scoring alone, LeBron accounted for more points than Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams combined. Seriously? Those two guys were brought in to be LeBron's All-Star partners in crime, and they contribute just over 25 PPG between the two of them, in the most important playoff series to date this season?
That's not even taking into account LeBron's 7.2 APG, which means he actually accounted for 42 PPG (27 from scoring, 15 from assists).
I can't comprehend whose contributions are worse, Jamison or Williams.
Jamison was brought over at the trade deadline to be that 20/10 guy for the Cavaliers. He was absolutely dominated in the Cleveland-Boston series and much of the blame should be placed on him considering he is a multiple time All-Star.
While Jamison is clearly a better player than Williams, maybe the blame should be placed more on Mo. After all it's only by playing with LeBron that Mo ever earned his first All-Star appearance. This series brutally exposed (just the same as last year) that Mo Williams is not an All-Star player. He is a glorified starter due to playing next to the best player on the planet.
Clearly, this team did not have the championship caliber-talent or experience to get to the Finals. Only Shaq is a proven winner and at this stage in his career he can't get it done like he used to. Give him credit though, unlike Jamison and Mo, at least he was trying!
At the end of the day, all this is being written with one aim: To try and help people get some perspective.
Don't hate LeBron because he didn't live up to your lofty expectations. You all dubbed him "The King" just as much as he dubbed the title upon himself.
Look at the teams left in the playoff picture, they all have at least two major contributors if not three or four.
Orlando: Howard, Carter, Nelson, Lewis.
Boston: Rondo, Garnett, Pierce, Allen.
Los Angeles: Bryant, Gasol, Bynum, Odom, Fisher.
Phoenix: Nash, Stoudemire, Richardson, Hill.
It's already been proved that one player can't get it done in the playoffs. If you don't know this you obviously haven't been watching Dwyane Wade for the past two years. Despite his early playoff exits it is still apparent he is one of the very best players in the NBA if not the world.
So give 'Bron a break. All the media attention and hype has built up expectations so much that the majority of the scrutiny he is receiving is unwarranted.
His role in Cleveland's elimination is definitely there, but it's weight in comparison to the responsibility of his teammates and the coaching staff has been completely blown out of proportion (with that being said I haven't even gotten into the inability of Mike Brown to get the rotations right!).
LeBron James is an incredible talent, with an unbelievably bright future. He has the talent and potential to go down as one of the very greatest to lace up a pair. Don't let your misguided perceptions hinder you from recognizing his greatness.