Crowning the King: LeBron James Leads Cleveland to its Best Record

David BurnettCorrespondent IApril 14, 2009

MILWAUKEE - FEBRUARY 20: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots a free-throw against the Milwaukee Bucks on his way to a game-high 55 points on February 20, 2009 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Cavaliers defeated the Bucks 111-103. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agreees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Last night, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers knocked off the Indiana Pacers to clinch the NBA’s best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

With 66 wins and only 15 losses, the 2009 Cavs own one of the best records in league history.

As a result, I must take my hat off to James, who at 24 years of age and in his sixth season, has led his team to the top of the Eastern Conference. Cleveland is no worse than a co-favorite to win an NBA title this season.

While I am on record as pulling for Dwayne Wade to get the MVP trophy, I am now willing to concede that crown. King James has earned the right to represent the league as its best.

I’m still not yet sure that the Cavaliers are, in fact, the best team in the NBA. But for a full regular season, James' teammates have played without concern that their star player might leave when his contract is up in a couple of years.

The Cavs have lost only one home game this season, which ties an NBA record. They continually play with determination and passion, and at this rate, they will only get better.

But more importantly, James will continue to get better, and that in itself is a scary proposition for the rest of the league.

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James' Cavs have played like they want him to know they are ready to step up and be the teammates he needs to win multiple championships. Championships are what James says he needs.

If this is true, whether he wins it all this year or not, the ingredients are certainly now in place for James to be a championship contender with Cleveland year in and year out.

Ten years after Michael Jordan won his last championship, it now seems his worthy successor may finally have been found.

At 6’9” tall and 260 pounds, there has never been a player of James' size who can do the things he can do on the court. He leads, scores, passes, and gracefully handles the ball with unmatched strength and jumping ability.

He is also a steadily improving defender.

Kobe Bryant may be the best all-around player right now, but he is also in his 13th year in the league. Keep in mind that the great Bill Russell only played 13 seasons.

We can argue whether right now Kobe is better than LeBron, but in a couple of years it will not be an argument.

Inevitably, there will be other players to challenge the King and his Cavaliers. Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat come to mind first, but Wade too is older than James.

The 20-year-old, silky smooth and tall Kevin Durant also comes to mind. But for now, Durant plays on an inexperienced Oklahoma City team that may not make the playoffs for several more years.

Players are never considered truly great until they take their teams deep into the playoffs. So, true super-stardom for Durant is still several years off, meaning James' reign in the NBA should last another seven to eight uncontested years.

A championship may not come this year for the Cavs. But if the king stays in Cleveland, he will be crowned eventually.

He is that good.