Miami Heat: What If LeBron James Isn't the Finals Most Valuable Player?
At the start of the season, the basketball world was buzzing about the new "Big 3" in Miami. Some of the biggest discussions were the following: "LeBron James is going to be the Robin to Dwyane Wade's Batman," "It's Wade's team," and so on. These turned out to be false. As we all now know, LeBron is definitely the best player on the Miami Heat. (Although if you disagree, I'd love to hear your thoughts.)
That being said, LeBron is not only the best player on his team, but arguably the best in the NBA. With his talents combined with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, they have managed to reach the NBA finals. However, with all the questions and scrutiny that have faced this team for the past season, only a few are left unanswered. The three biggest are, "Will the Heat succeed?", "What if they lose?" and finally, "What if LeBron isn't the Finals MVP?"
We will only be focusing on the last question. The first two have been played with a lot; the last one hasn't been mentioned as often. If Wade gets the MVP award for the finals instead of LeBron, what will that say about his legacy?
Before we begin, let it be known that I am not a Heat fan in any way, shape or form. I am a Boston Celtics fan, and everything written in this article is out of love for the sport, not my hate of the Heat. I will try to be as unbiased as possible.
I have five scenarios that could happen if Wade ended up with the Finals MVP instead of LeBron.
Highly Unlikely: Wade, Not LeBron, Draws Comparisons to Michael Jordan
Imagine this: With LeBron the only one capable of guarding Dirk, he becomes fairly inefficient on the offensive end, and Wade takes over the series. Since defense isn't always taken notice of, his efforts may go largely unrewarded, and Wade gets crowned the Finals MVP.
Now, even though LeBron has a ring, people take notice of Wade's taking over of the team and he overshadows LeBron's accomplishment of finally winning a championship. With his second ring, and second Finals MVP, Wade gains favor in the public eye, a lot of favor is from people who want to cast LeBron in a lesser light.
Either way, Wade becomes the new guy to compare to Jordan. LeBron ends up playing second to him, and Wade, while helping LeBron's career by getting championships, also ironically hinders it by having LeBron seen as a lesser, and not an equal to Wade. He never gets another MVP or scoring title, thanks to the presence of Bosh and Wade.
In the end, when LeBron retires, his career becomes a story of what ifs, largely like Jordan's two retirement years, and the stories of Shaquille O'Neal/Charles Barkley if they stayed in shape.
Is this scenario possible?
Probably not. It is, at best, a fantasy. A Wade Finals MVP wouldn't be that surprising, seeing as how he has one already, and plays a similar style to LeBron. If they shut LeBron down, Wade would probably end up being the most productive player on the Heat.
Questionably Likely: LeBron No Longer Capable of Being the Greatest Ever
It's another hot topic in the NBA, is LeBron going to be the next GOAT (Greatest of All Time) player? While it may seem like he's well underway, he's going to need that finals MVP to try to start climbing the ladder of all-time greats.
If LeBron isn't the Finals MVP, can he still become the GOAT? It's an interesting question, and everyone is quick to turn to Michael Jordan for the answer. Michael was the most valued player in the finals for all six of his titles. So, if LeBron doesn't get the award, does it taint his legacy?
Now, if you disagree with the argument that he has to have all of them, don't worry, I'm with you on this one. Why? Because that argument doesn't always hold water. Two examples come to mind that are also in the conversation for greatest ever.
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
Larry got two out of three Final MVPs. Magic? Three out of five. Both are in the conversation for the greatest of all time.
Realistically, if they are in the conversation, then so will LeBron. That's why this idea isn't very likely, because it's just plain stupid to hold LeBron to that standard and not others who are in the same argument.
Somewhat Likely: LeBron's Ring Has Less Value
This idea features something which we actually see often. Players often are given less credit for their rings because of the people they played with. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, both Celtic big three teams, and finally, Shaq and Kobe. Should LeBron win a championship, he'd follow suit with Wade.
Let's think about this for a moment.
Would it make sense to take away from an accomplishment since someone helped you? That's what a team is. Don't get me wrong, Robert Horry is definitely not an all-time great just because he has seven rings. However, he shouldn't be discounted for these rings, because he did contribute to them. It's a special standard, and a hard one to gauge.
Does it hold value?
It does, but only if LeBron can't pull his own weight. If he does, and still doesn't get the award, well, then, I can't hold it against him. If he plays absolutely terrible, then it's his fault, and should be held against him. As Game 1 is looking right now, LeBron is doing just fine.
Likely: It's a Minor Negative, but At Least He Got a Ring
This is my pick for what would happen. LeBron will get his ring, and while him not getting the Finals MVP is a knock on him, it's a minor knock. The fact that after eight long years, he's finally got the ring he's been searching for is enough for him. In time, that knock will disappear, as the fact that he finally has one will overshadow that.
This one is short and sweet. Does this scenario hold up? Of course it does. People tend to forget the negatives and focus on the positives as time goes on. Same idea applies to James, as he continues his NBA career. The brighter aspects will outshine the blemishes.
Most Likely: No Effect, He Gets One Later Down the Road
This is probably what's going to happen. People won't even pay attention to LeBron's lack of a Finals MVP award. The Heat dynasty will begin at the cost of Dirk's last final's appearance,(guessing, not a fact) and with the Heat dynasty, more championships will come. If LeBron doesn't get this one, he's practically guaranteed the MVP at a later championship. (If they get there and win it all, anything can happen.)
Can it really happen? It's a very likely event. If LeBron doesn't get a Finals MVP in his first championship, he will definitely, get one if he wins another. With LeBron James and his incredible amount of talent, I think it would actually be extremely unlikely this didn't happen.
Guarenteed: This Article Is Over
So, let me finish this up by answering a few questions you may have.
"Why did you write about Miami? Don't you hate them cause they beat your team?"
Nope, I may love the Celtics, but my passion for writing knows no (NBA team) boundaries.
"For a Celtic fan, you sure do know how to suck up to LeBron!"
I'm not sucking up to him, this is an article about him, what else am I suppose to do? Talk about Mike Bibby?
"Will you make an article about Mike Bibby?"
"I didn't like your article, why are you so bad?"
Please, tell me what you didn't like about it, I'd love to hear feedback.
"I have a good idea, but don't know how to write it, can you write an article for me?"
It would be my pleasure. Just send me a message, or write a comment.
"Anything else to say?"
Yeah, in fact, to all you readers! Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!