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Friday, September 10, 2010

Sorry, Lebron Just Isn't "That Guy"

The around-the-clock watch on LeBron James, which had dominated the sports pages of every major city all year, finally came to a surprising conclusion when he decided that it would be in his best interest to play ball for the Miami Heat. The announcement shocked many in the media who presumed that “The King” would be unwilling to share the spotlight with Miami's incumbent hero and finals MVP, Dwayne Wade. To them, his goal was clearly to be the greatest basketball player ever by rewriting some lucky team's history, something he couldn't manage in a small town like Cleveland, but it appears that they've misjudged him, and perhaps, N.B.A. owners just went berserk over the game's best role player.

Still, the signing was probably beneficial to the league. With two studs, both in their prime and playing along side a third fellow blue chipper, Chris Bosh, there's no question that the Heat are poised to land in the Finals, most likely in a classic showdown between two great champions, Dwayne Wade and Kobe Bryant. It is exactly the type of match up fans love, especially in a sport made famous by the Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird rivalry and at its peak when Michael Jordan defeated every worthy contender of the time, one by one. LeBron James was supposed to be one of “those guys,” but the fact is, Mike, Magic, and Bird could never be happy in somebody else's shadow.

The teams who missed out on Bron's services, despite their infatuations, may have saved themselves and their fans from a serious disappointment. Much like the N.Y. Knicks, for example, who have thrown in the towel for two seasons now, specifically to clear cap room for this year, most of his suitors were expecting someone to lead them to the promised land and glorify to their jersey. Apparently though, LeBron needed his own savior.

Just like passing up crucial shots in the playoffs, playing it safe, when his career and the fate of the sport itself was at his fingertips, displays that he lacks that killer instinct, inherent in all of the game's legends. Miami was a no-brainer to him. in other words, closing seconds, down by two, the Heat were wide open under the rim. Only, Jordan takes it to the hoop to draw a foul or he lets one fly from behind the arc. He's a killer, and unfortunately, LeBron isn't. For that very reason, this whole thing was blown out of proportion.

There's no doubt that the kid is freakishly talented and makes a fine addition to any basketball team. You could even argue that his dedication to team play is admirable, if that, in fact, was his motive. Although, shrinking in the postseason and then, sneaking out of Cleveland without so much as a phone call to the team owner are pretty good indicators of where he's coming from.

Moving forward, it should be interesting to see how the teams who were shunned by King James execute their plan B, if they have one. Those who were able to downplay the event for what it was, an over-hyped lottery, which conveniently required a nice amount of cap-space to enter, should be able to add some quality components to their system and be competitive. It isn't over for them yet. Teams that missed out on LeBron James will draw just as many fans by kicking his ass.

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