Before the 2017 NBA Finals began, LeBron James sat in front of the media and said, “I have nothing left to prove for my legacy.” That’s certainly something Michael Jordan would have NEVER SAID. Unlike James, Michael Jordan prided himself on heavy competition and moving mountains. For Michael Jordan, good or great was simply never enough. For James, however, apparently a 3-4 record in the NBA Finals is good enough to cement his legacy (in his opinion).
After last night’s game 3 loss to the Warriors, the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves in a seemingly insurmountable 0-3 hole. I say insurmountable because no team has ever come back from an o-3 deficit in the NBA Finals. But, more importantly for the future of the Cavaliers, James admitted to just how tired he is…”I’m drained right now, both mentally and physically.”
That’s not a concerning admission for this year’s NBA Finals, but it is a concerning statement for the future of the Cavaliers. For instance, consider that James already feels that 82 days of work is simply too much for him and he took 8 days off this season because he needed to rest up for the most important part of the year. Remember that! Yeah, ESPN defended him on it and said it would pay off in the end. Well, ESPN, it’s not going to pay off this season and it doesn’t look good for the future of the Cavs either! Now, don’t get me wrong, I know LeBron James is playing basically the entire game during these NBA Finals and I understand he is carrying his Cavs team, but I’m sorry, that’s still no excuse. The fact is, if you and ESPN want to compare LeBron James to the all time greats of the game, including Michael Jordan, you have to factor what the all time greats did in their careers. Michael Jordan, for instance, carried the Bulls during his career. Michael Jordan played basically all game (all season!). Michael Jordan faced much, much, much tougher competition all season long. Take this for example…LeBron James admits to the Warriors being his toughest competition…But imagine having to face that type of competition all season long and all the way through the playoffs. As regimented as workouts are today for athletes, is it possible players like Michael Jordan were in better physical condition than today’s players??? Is that possible? I ask because while I’m sure Michael Jordan got tired, especially playing into the NBA Finals, he never let it show through. Michael was always a sure shot. Michael didn’t make excuses. He learned from his mistakes and his mission was to prove all doubters wrong. Can the same really be said for LeBron James. And before you think I’m being biased in my viewpoint, consider how you’d feel is LeBron James left the Cavs and finished his career with another team.
The simple fact is, while LeBron James is an amazing athlete, the game has changed and become soft. This is the first time LeBron James is facing what I consider to be real competition; meaning, competition I would say would fair well during the 1980’s and ’90’s. Let’s face it, with as stacked as this Warriors team is, though they’re not very physical, they can shoot and I believe they would have fared pretty well during the NBA’s toughest days. And if this is too much for LeBron James, he wouldn’t have made it in the 1980’s nor the 1990’s and most definitely wouldn’t even make it playing now in the Western Conference. That’s the truth. Think about the competition in the West. Think about the fact that LeBron has never even thought about going to a team in the West. Why, you ask? Because that competition…through the regular season and through the playoffs, would be far too much for LeBron James to handle.
Personally, I have always said LeBron James could have been the best player to ever play (could have) had he toughened up and played in the post like Shaquille O’Neal. He never took that route because he lacks toughness. So do yourself a favor, enjoy the dominance of the Warriors for the next half decade and just realize that LeBron James isn’t as tough as you thought he was or as tough as ESPN wishes he was.