Important to note who the author of this piece is (given *some* of the Kobe-commentary!!!)…
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
Rudyard Kipling wrote a short story in 1888 with this title. It is a story of two British adventurers who become kings in a remote part of Afghanistan.
If Kipling was around today he might write of another man who would be king – LeBron Raymone James.
LBJ has been called “great” since before he came out of high school to ‘save’ the Cleveland Cavaliers.
To quote another great writer:
“Be not afraid of greatness: Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
While I don’t usually try to improve on the writing of Shakespeare, for LBJ you might want to add “and some don’t live up to the billing.”
After stinking out the arena in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semis against Boston, LBJ responded with
“I spoil a lot of people with my play. When you have three bad games in seven years, it’s easy to point them out.”
The difference between good and great is how you cope with adversity and how you meet challenges.
Think back to the greats of the past 30 years or so – Dr. J, Larry Legend, Magic, Kareem, MJ, Timmy D, Shaq and (as much as I can’t stand the guy) Kobe. Each and every one of them would all have said “This is my team. This one’s on me.”… and on their own backs would have delivered a win in Game 6.
It’s always been simmering around LeBron.
The dunk video, the t-shirts, the lack of grace in defeat, but we’ve always been willing to make excuses for him because of his ‘greatness’.
I’m not sure the fans in Cleveland are thinking he’s quite so great today. This, more than any other incarnation, is/was LeBron’s team.
The pieces were placed around him to cover all eventualities. Shaq gave them a legitimate C, Antawn Jamison was acquired to provide another scoring option and every other player on the Cavs who sees significant playing time does so because of what they can do for LeBron.
And yet he failed.
And so they failed.
Kevin Garnett will tell you that being league MVP doesn’t count for much unless you can carry your team to a championship.
And even KG couldn’t do that until he arrived in Boston with the right supporting cast. He made them his team, and he made sure that the Celtics won that year. Couldn’t have done it without Paul Pierce or Ray Allen, but he moulded that team in his image.
Ask KG which accolade means more to him.
And so, another season is done in Cleveland:
- League’s best record – check
- League MVP – check
- NBA championship – ummm… nuh-uh.
I don’t know where LBJ will end up next season, but if you asked me to pick one guy, any guy, to play for my life* and LBJ wouldn’t be in my top 10.
It doesn’t really matter a whole lot, because some team is going to pay him 100 trazillion bucks to bring his show to town.
LBJ: all the glitz, all the glamour, all the thrills, no championship guarantees. Think that’s worth 100 trazillion bucks?
A final note for Spike Lee, thanks for cheering for the Celtics, but be careful what you wish for…
*For the record, one guy playing for my life? Kobe. You don’t have to like the guy, but you have to respect him.