Here I highlight some of my mentions of LeBron James since I started writing in September of 2011. I am a much, much better writer than I was when I started….
September 17, 2011: Allen Iverson, Randy Moss, 2Pac, and the Meaning of Greatness
“Seriously, you all know Kobe is better right? Sure, LeBron is more athletic and possibly a better passer, rebounder, and shot-blocker, but Kobe is something else entirely.”
October 20, 2011: ESPN NBA Rank Review Mini-Post
“LeBron James at #1 was the complete and perfect choice. No question. I know during the season he struggled during crunch-time, and the Finals weren’t any better. However, when his team dismantled the Bulls people were hailing him as a closer all of the sudden, so obviously he has that ability in him.”
January 31, 2012: And That’s Why They Make Millions
“And then there is LeBron. How do you grade what he did yesterday? For about 45 minutes, his play could be described as Thor, God of Thunder-like. He was ridiculous. He shot well from outside the lane, burying several mid range shots late in the shot clock as well as a tremendous ICBM off an inbound. Then there were the dunks. Do you realize that on those alley-oops his head is at the freaking rim? That isn’t normal. He jumped clear over a man and dunked with one hand. Forget the fact John Lucas is only 5-11, that isn’t normal either!
But that was just the first 45 minutes. The last 3 or so were a different story. With the game in his hands, he started to force shots. He drove for contact rather than the finish. And then he missed free throws. I don’t think it’s fair to say that nothing James does matters other than the Finals and the 4th quarter of any game. How can you disregard the Jordan-like numbers he has been putting up this year? He is on another planet entirely. But what good is that if he doesn’t close the games when they really matter? He had better prove he can finish in the Finals.”
June 7, 2012: Summer 2012
“The superteam experiment is over. The fate of the free-agent alliance system hung in the balance while Paul Pierce’s three point shot flew over the outstretched arm of LeBron James. Now, as the Miami Heat stand at the brink of elimination, the preseason press conference/laser light show of 2010 really looks quite silly, wouldn’t you say?”
June 8, 2012 (yes, the very next day): LeBron Grows Up
“Then, last night, just over two years since the loss in Game 6 ended his career as a Cavalier, with his team facing elimination, he put together one of the greatest playoff performances of history, and at the age of 27, he became a man…. While walking into the tunnel, just short of where he pulled his Cavaliers jersey off two years ago, he smiled. I don’t know why, perhaps a fan said something funny/insulting, maybe he was just so full of joy, but for a brief moment a genuine smile appeared on his face. A few steps later, the smile was gone, and his look of quiet, thoughtful determination reappeared…. Don’t let the beard, the tattoos, and the muscles fool you; LeBron has played in a man’s game as a child for a long time. But last night, facing a team of grown men, men who will be in the Hall of Fame one day, he grew up. No acting, no lights, no superhero shenanigans. Just LeBron and a basketball, facing the world. My money’s on LeBron.”
February 17, 2013: Their Legacies, and They’re Legacy
“James has been through many different stages in his career and has been seen in many different lights. He’s been a chosen one, an underachiever, a prodigious talent, a crumbling choke-artist, a villain, and a king. At times he has been judged by the standard of Carmelo Anthony. At other times, Kobe Bryant. But the entire time, one comparison has had everyone wondering and watching. LeBron has been, since he was 17, the one that we have looked to in hopes of seeing the next Michael Jordan.
No other player has looked like LeBron. No other player has played like LeBron. He has crafted his game over the years to become something special. Forged in the fires of failure and frustration, his game has reached levels that few players in history have ever matched. This season has been one from another planet….
When he’s done, LeBron will be considered to be the best “all-around” player to ever play. And it’s true; no one has been the combination of scoring, passing, defense, and rebounding as he has been. No one has been able to play all five positions like him. But he still won’t be the best player ever. Even if he matches Jordan in rings and MVPs and is the best all-around, he won’t be able to take the title of “best ever”. The only way he could do that is if he is so clearly superior in accomplishments (7 MVPs, 8 Championships, Higher PER), and as you can see that just simply is not going to happen. He is playing as well as you can play basketball right now; he can’t be better. Project the rest of his career based on where he is now and you can see the writing on the wall. LeBron James cannot take the top spot all by himself.”
June 21, 2013: NBA Day 1
“LeBron James wakes up. He’s the best player in the world. He’s on the same team with a talented group of guys who also are his friends. He’s a millionaire a hundred times over. He has a wife and two kids. He beat the odds. He’s going to take some time off before going back to work. He wakes up under the same sun as the rest of the NBA, and while it may be his kingdom it’s their league. Just because he’s taking a day off doesn’t mean they will. Just because the Heat will be favored to win again this year doesn’t mean all 29 other teams won’t give it their best shot.”
November 12, 2013: Exalting the King: Why we Should all Love LeBron
We don’t have to ask questions anymore because we finally know what LeBron James is. We have watched him grow into the most dominant player in the league, the best by a country mile. We’ve seen him become a mature man and a clutch player. We’ve seen him win two championships. All the questions that started at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s High School are being answered. The giant checklist of LeBron’s career has been filled out: all-star, best player in the league, elite shooter, dominant post game, first-rate defender, clutch player, team leader, champion. Check ’em all. The only thing left is Greatest of All Time. And we won’t/can’t know that until his career is over and we have a few years to look back on it. Right now, despite the fact that there is a lot of drama left in his career with upcoming free agency, we know a lot of how LeBron’s career will play out. We know how good he is and how good he’s going to be. All that’s left to do is see what he does. For one of the few times in life, it’s time we make like Miamians….
Instead of hating LeBron, it’s time we make like the people in the commercial and follow him. It’s time we stop trying to get in his way and talk about what he can’t be and start helping him towards what he can be. And he’s more than willing to let us help him along, just like the LeBron in the commercial loves having the fans come along with him. The commercial works because you can actually see LeBron stopping to play pickup ball or running along with a bunch of fans on the way to the gym. We’ve accepted LeBron, and he’s forgiven us. Now, instead of finding satisfaction in tearing him down, we lift him up. Now, instead of shrugging his shoulders, he extends his hand. This athletic hero, this sports god among men exists as both the superstar celebrity who jumps over John Lucas and jams with Jay-Z and the regular guy who teaches fans in the stand how to throw a proper chest-pass. One moment he chases down a breakaway and pins the shot to the backboard and the next he joyously tackles a fan for draining a half-court shot….
You probably won’t ever get to see someone like LeBron again. That means you probably won’t get to ever see someone with a real chance of pursuing the title of best basketball player of all time. You’ll get to see the next great quarterback, pitcher, hitter, and goal-scorer, but you’ll never see another LeBron. To take a look at this man chasing this incredible goal in the way he does and choose to ask questions is a waste of time. Here we have the rare combination of a special human being that combines great talent with great personality. Why would we want to see that fail?….
We don’t have to debate about him anymore. We know what he is. We know where he’s going. Now we just have to watch him get there. No more questions. It’s time we finally stop wondering and start watching. It’s time we stop hating and start loving. It’s time to just do what fans do and watch him play.
And “it’s about damn time.”