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LeBron James: 10 Reasons He'll Never Live Up to the Shadow of Michael Jordan

Ethan NorofCorrespondent IJune 13, 2011

LeBron James: 10 Reasons He'll Never Live Up to the Shadow of Michael Jordan

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    MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat reacts against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by dow
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The comparison between LeBron James and Michael Jordan need to immediately cease.

    After the Miami Heat were defeated on their home court by the Dallas Mavericks in Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals, James' legacy took another hit and a monumental step in the wrong direction.

    "The King" hardly played like royalty at any point in the series, averaging just 17.8 points per game, a stark contrast from his 26.7 mark in the regular season.

    Although we won't have The Decision in the summer of 2011, there will be plenty of chatter and attention paid to LeBron James, who simply won't live up to any legend of the game until he can win on the game's biggest stage.

10. False Promises

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    MIAMI - JULY 09:   LeBron James #6, Dwyane Wade #3 and Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat speak after being introduced to fans during a welcome party at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    "Not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven". Not any. Not yet.

    When asked during his welcome to Miami party how many championships the team would deliver, James might have been a bit pre-mature in his declaration.

    The Heat were already celebrating like a dynasty before ever going through a practice together. Despite the fact that the team is loaded with talent, basketball isn't played on paper and those talents don't always translate to the hardwood.

    After proclaiming the season as one that was a championship or bust, LeBron failed to come through when it mattered most and deliver a title to his team.

9. Desire for Greatness

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    MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on dejected against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees t
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The greatest players in the world want the ball with the game on the line, and LeBron decided to continually defer to his teammates when the outcome was still to be decided.

    Granted that teammate Dwyane Wade was the more prolific offensive player of the two throughout the entire series, James' disappearance from the game was absolutely stunning to watch.

    For a player that has the ability to absolutely dominate the game with his impressive athleticism and unique skill-set, James didn't live up to the hype at all with his mediocre showing in the final round.

    There will be a plethora of questions facing James all summer as he attempts to re-build his image and reputation as one of the game's best players, but talent and greatness are two very different entities.

8. Purity

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    MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat walks off the court after the Dallas Mavericks won 105-95 in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges a
    Chris Chambers/Getty Images

    There's something about LeBron James' game that just doesn't have the same resonance as Jordan did when he took the court.

    Jordan was the most pure basketball player to ever grace the court, while James' extraordinary athleticism has fostered his development as an athlete.

    If "His Airness" had the same build and body style of James, there's no telling what he could've been capable of doing on the court during his prime playing days.

    James didn't stick around for too many handshakes or exchanged congratulations with the Dallas Mavericks, and absolutely slammed his critics with his post-game press conference that once again attempted to elevate his standing over those that are apparently beneath him.

7. Clutch Factor & the Fourth Quarter

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    MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat reacts in the fourth quarter while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknow
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    LeBron's shrinkage in the fourth quarter was well documented throughout the entire championship series, and his inability to come through when it most mattered is going to weigh heavily on his shoulders until he gets a chance at redemption.

    James regularly disappeared in the game's final 12 minutes throughout the series, and rather than seizing the moment to shine, continually veered away and simply didn't play like his aggressive self.

    Not only did James not deliver on his promise to bring the title back to Miami, he defaulted on his reputation as one of the game's most natural aggressors by settling for mid-range jumpers and passing the rock when he should have been unafraid to shoot it. 

6. Public Image

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    MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat answers questions after the Heat were defeated 105-95 by the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expr
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    What is LeBron James' brand?

    James and his team might have launched LRMR Marketing Firm, but that doesn't mean that they have the blueprint for success.

    Encompassing the villain moniker, James' public image and marketability have experienced a sharp decline over the course of the season, and now that his team failed to come out on top, it may be even worse heading into the offseason.

    Even CNBC's Sports Business Analyst Darren Rovell believes that James' marketability may never recover after Miami failed to take home the Larry O'Brien Trophy, and it's possible that no matter what happens in James' future that he's never as readily accepted as Jordan into the public domain.

5. Communication

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    MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat reacts in front of Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledge
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Communication is the key to any healthy relationship.

    Not only was James unable to communicate with his teammates on the floor, but judging by his post-game comments, he was unable to communicate with the media and fans as well.

    Whether it was on the court or at the podium, James wasn't able to be the effective communicator that Miami sorely need him to be.

    He certainly wasn't leading by example with his play, so his voice in the huddle likely would have been readily welcomed to a team that desperately needed it.

4. Killer Instinct

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    MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat sits on the scorer's table against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Michael Jordan never lacked a killer instinct.

    There are a ton of iconic images that can be found with Jordan at the epicenter of the action in the NBA Finals, but it's currently tough to say the same thing about LeBron James.

    In two career trips to the championship round, James has whiffed both times, and he hasn't been able to deliver when it most matters for his team to come out on top.

    LeBron has yet to get a single championship ring to place around his finger, and while his time will probably come to garner at least one, it's going to be fairly tough to come close to living up to Jordan's performances in the final round. 

3. Intangibles

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    MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat gestures against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by d
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Intangibles are things in a player's game that make him have that extra edge above the competition.

    They are indefinable characteristics that are found in the talents that are unique to the game of basketball, and they help to separate the good from the truly great.

    Jordan was never afraid to take charge of his team, but that's exactly what it looked like for LeBron throughout the tenure of the 2011 Finals.

    Passing up shot after shot throughout the tenure of the entire series, James looked like he wanted no part of being the on-court leader for his team when that's exactly the role that they needed him to play.

    James & Wade might have been labeled Batman & Robin throughout the season, but there are certainly no superhero type of intangibles to be found here.

2. Legacy

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    GREENWICH, CT - JULY 08:  (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE)  Jim Gray of ESPN speaks with LeBron James at attends the LeBron James Pre Decision Meet and Greet on July 8, 2010 in Greenwich, Connecticut. Proceeds from tonight's 2.5 million dollar event will be donated t
    Larry Busacca/Getty Images

    It doesn't matter what LeBron James does in the future, there's just no chance he leaves the same lasting legacy on the game as Michael Jordan.

    When it's all said and done, it's entirely possible that James is the most talented player to have ever graced an NBA court, but being the most talented certainly doesn't make you the best ever at your craft.

    James will be remembered as one of the best to ever play the game, but that certainly doesn't make his lasting legacy anything close to what Jordan achieved during his playing days.

    Jordan was loved and respected by virtually everyone, while James has endured the polar opposite during his first season in Miami.

    And when you play the villain in any plot, it's only natural for most to root against you. 

1. Leadership

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    DALLAS, TX - JUNE 09:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat stands on the court with his head down against the Dallas Mavericks in the fourth quarter of Game Five of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 9, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO U
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Will the real LeBron James please stand up?

    I'm still attempting to put the pieces together to figure out the puzzle that is LeBron James.

    Most leaders choose to do so by example, while others use words of wisdom. But for James, it was neither, and ultimately, that's what led to his team's eventual demise.

    He kept his cool when others sought to see raw emotion stemming from him, and instead of taking the brunt of the blame for his team's championship loss, simply deflected the question and even tweeted that it's not his time right now.

    Will James get his moment to shine in the spotlight? Even if Miami is able to rebound as soon as next season and capture the NBA crown, how many people will give him the credit?

    "The Decision" is looking like a decisive turning point in LeBron's career, and now he's staring at two very different paths that lead down incredibly different roads.

    It will be interesting to see which avenue he decides to pursue. 

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