LeBron James has been followed closely since his days as a high school phenom at St. Vincent-St.Mary. While attending the high school academy, James earned the nickname "the chosen one," and many believed the future success of the NBA rested on his shoulders.
With Michael Jordan retiring and Kobe Bryant embroiled in legal trouble, the NBA badly needed a superstar. Despite the pressure, James rose to the occasion and seemingly overnight became the beloved son of the entire league.
We enjoyed watching him turn around his hometown team and fight for a championship. Although James had many successful seasons in Cleveland, the Cavaliers failed to win a title, yielding The Decision and the anti-LeBron sentiment that has become commonplace.
When James left home for South Beach to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, many said he threw away his opportunity to be the greatest basketball player ever. After all, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird never left their original teams to go chase rings with other stars.
Even James' teammate, Dwyane Wade, won a title for the team that drafted him. The only problem with this theory is that LeBron would have NEVER won a title in Cleveland. He never had the star teammate the aforementioned superstars had. James made the right decision if his desire was to win.
Should his individual legacy be tarnished because he teamed up with two fellow stars? I don't believe it should. LeBron should be judged on his overall game just like everyone else. Barring some major injury, James still has the opportunity to be the greatest ever.
The 2011 NBA season has exhibited that. Yes, James received backlash for his decision but responded with a spectacular performance this year. He kept his stats in line despite playing alongside two stars and also improved his mid-range jumper.
When James' career is over, he may boast the best stat line in history. Many said Miami would have to wait a couple years before winning a title, but the Heat are likely to take the title in James' first season there. That means the seven titles he promised are very possible.
The world is also taking notice. In 2011, James' star-power seemed to reemerge. Whether people hate or love him, they are talking about him and following his every move. James is still the face of the NBA. He delivered the highest ratings for the NBA on cable in history in Game 1 of this year's Eastern Conference finals.
He currently has the NBA's top-selling jersey and basketball's top-selling shoe. The only thing James needs to complete his portfolio is multiple championships. If James does indeed win a title this year, we can only expect more rings to follow. Then, James' quest to become the greatest ever picks up steam, and only time will tell where he ends.