Will it be the Heat-or-Three-peat?
And that brick wall happened to be the Dallas Mavericks, the eventual winners of this season’s NBA Championship.
But does that make this season a complete failure for both these superstars and their respective teams, since both started the season playing like lions and ended it like lambs, almost as if they both instantly lost the meaning of the word clutch?
Probably the more intelligent answer would be that the Dallas Mavericks were indeed the ultimate driving machine that ran their engines far more efficiently than the teams they left in the dust.
And the underlying fact is that they played as a team that reflected a high level of chemistry on both ends of the floor, while both the Lakers and the Heat struggled with surprising maturity issues.
The Lakers were swept in the second round by a superior foe and the Heat were run like cattle in the finals by the very same cowboys from Texas, whose impeccable zone defense was an extremely efficient and effective weapon.
Kobe Bryant and LeBron James both showed periods of uncharacteristic helplessness against the Mavs.
One superstar is in the twilight of his very accomplished career that includes five NBA rings. The other is a dominant perennial force in the regular season, but has been unable to seal the deal in the playoffs—after seven seasons in the league, his fingers have yet to be fitted for a single ring.
James had extremely heavy expectations placed on his massive shoulders from the moment he jumped out of high school. And as if those expectations were not high enough, the self-proclaimed king increased that pressure exponentially by promising a dynasty for the city of Miami before playing a single game.
By contrast, Bryant is already considered as one of the 10 greatest players ever to play the game. But after a marathon of 15 stellar years from the age of 17 to the age 32 in the league, his remaining years are numbered.
Bryant is no longer in his prime and his injury woes are taking a toll.
While Kobe relaxes at home, feeling the warmth of his adoring fans, the king is out in the frigid cold while the LeBron Bashing reaches a surprising crescendo. It appears that even a growing number of Miami Heat fans have instantly morphed into James haters.
James is still only 26 and just beginning his prime, with at least another five dominant years left in him. The amount of hate towards James is ridiculous. The Heat were not expected to win a championship in their first year and Miami-Thrice are still all young and in their prime.
With required changes, the Heat can still bolster their roster and learn from their mistakes. And considering their payroll was some $30 million less than the L.A. Lakers, there is obvious room for improvement.
A countless number of articles have surfaced recently claiming that Kobe Bryant at 32 is better than LeBron James at 26.
Is this true?
Not according to my research. In fact, the records show that the statistical disparity favors James in every single category in both the regular and post seasons, with the exception of only Free-Throw shooting. In some cases the differences are marginal and in other it’s not even close.
But remember, this comparison is from this past season—not exactly Kobe’s best ever.
Let’s compare the 2010-11 seasons of these star players, where James is in his prime and Kobe was not the same dominant Kobe we knew.