(Satire) Perhaps it's fitting that in the off-season following the 2009-2010 season LeBron James chose to take his talents to the Miami Heat. His reputation is one of a player who has consistently been MIA throughout his postseason career, so he might as well wear the letters like a scarlet badge on his jersey before he fails once again in the playoffs.
While Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has, in just his first season without LeBron James, rebuilt the Cavs into a team team that is second in the league in regular season losses, James' Heat have failed to meet expectations and will enter the playoffs with only the league's third best record.
Not enough can be said for the poise and managerial savvy displayed by Gilbert during this season. From berating James in a letter to the fans in which he referred to James as a "traitor" (that's right Gilbert, show potential future free agents what they have to look forward to if they sign with the Cavs! Great work!) to his securing of a franchise cornerstone in Baron Davis (who will hopefully, one day, make the Cavs fans forget all about James) his moves in the wake of "The Decision" have been nothing less than picture perfect.
But perhaps Gilbert's biggest move is yet to come: He has promised a title to the people of Cleveland before LeBron James wins one in Miami. There is no reason to think he won't follow through with this promise with the Cavs already basing their future success on their "Big Three": Davis, J.J. Hickson and praying to God those lottery balls bounce the right way. Meanwhile, the Heat have to settle for some stiff, nobody named Pat Riley who built a title team five long years ago.
Who would you bet knows more about building a champion? The guy with seven total rings or the guy with none?
Exactly, it's obviously Gilbert.
Now LeBron will embark on yet another postseason quest to be crowned as the "King" of the NBA, but if his track record tells us anything he will once again fail to come through in the playoffs.
Now some LeBron fans will argue: "But his teammates didn't deliver for him in the playoffs. How can he win if his team was not good enough?"
Not good enough? Seriously? Anyone who takes an objective look at what his teammates produced in the playoffs last year will clearly see that they played big. It was LeBron that failed.
For example, Shaq averaged 18.5 ppg and 10.3 rpg prior to his thumb injury during LeBron's final season with the Cavs. Shaq promised to "bring it" in the postseason and even made a big deal about losing weight before the playoffs. Well, he stepped up big time. His stats went all the way up to 13.5 ppg and 4.8 rpg in the Celtics series, so he brought it!
So did James' other teammates, Mo Williams went from scoring 17ppg to 13.3 ppg, Delonte West went from 9 to 5 ppg and Anderson Varejao, the "rock" of the team who still accuses Justin Guarini of stealing his look, stepped up both his "flopping" stats (I bet you didn't know those were kept did you?) from six flops per game (or fpg) to 10 fpg in the regular season. Plus, his scoring from 11 ppg to 6 ppg. I mean, how much more could they have done?
Meanwhile, James just disappeared. I mean, if he can't do better than 29.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, and 7.6 apg, he will never shed the impression that he doesn't try in the playoffs.
"Oh, but he only gets those numbers because of his size." Absolutely, that's why every 6-8 player that has ever played has put up numbers identical to his. Did you know being big makes you a great passer, a great shot-blocker and a great defender? That's why players of comparable size (like Amare Stoudemire) can do the exact same things James can. It's his size, it's not work ethic.
Nevertheless, James terrible Game 5 last performance was officially counted as the only game played in the entire Boston series last year by James' critics and his ho-hum "good games" like 38 in Game 3 or triple double in Game 6 have officially been chosen as the "irrelevant" performances that simply don't help the attacks against him so are unceremoniously ignored when assessing him.
For our blatant bias-which is what true sports writing is really supposed to be about--we deserve to be commended. Who needs objectivity when you can simply force your point-of-view onto readers. Ahh....Pulitzer Prize here I come!
So when judging LeBron in this year's playoffs, I promise to give you the take on the game with as much slanted reporting as I can muster. If the Heat win it was "in spite of James," if the Heat lose "it was because of James," if the Heat lose in the playoffs, "James is a lifelong failure and the next five years of his Heat contract do not exist," if the Heat do win a title "the game is fixed and we should all boycott."
This is the new information age.
So get ready Miami Heat fans, I'm afraid James is about to bite the big one now that the playoffs are here. As we've seen, his increased postseason production means nothing. Because we say so.