9 years ago it seemed obvious. LeBron James would win several NBA titles, a rack of MVP’s… Self-anointed, he was the “Chosen One”. Try as he might however, LeBron James would fail. Sure, he was and is the NBA’s most talented player maybe ever. That and a bag of chips makes for great conversation. It doesn’t win championships.
Never a fan of the man, many including myself have to ask what now? What changes? LeBron James and the Miami Heat have won the NBA Championship and are champions for the first time since a Dwayne Wade and Shaq led team won in 2006. For Wade, it’s number two. For LeBron it’s the infamous monkey that players like Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley will always live with. No longer is LeBron James without gold, without a title, without a ring.
But what does that mean? Does LeBron winning a title mean anything to you? Does it change how you feel about the man? I think much to the dismay of LeBron James supporters and the player himself, the answer is no.
While the clarity of the situation is that now that the glass ceiling is broken, James will now probably win 2-3 rings The face of the situation is that most don’t like LeBron, not because he isn’t a winner but because of the way he carries himself. Winning a NBA title might and obviously should make him feel good about himself, it will do little to alleviate that pressure and criticism he faces. Like many people, I don’t like LeBron for how he handles himself. Long since have I admitted he might be the greatest ever pure ability wise. But he doesn’t have that killer in him and he doesn’t have that “want” to even want to be that guy. He’s right when he says he is unselfish. He truly is. The debate is why he’s that way…
For now… Congratulations Miami Heat. Congratulations Dwayne Wade for winning number 2. Congrats to LeBron and Chris Bosh for leaving situations in Cleveland and Toronto to greener and sandier pastures to win your first championship. The Miami Heat have accomplished what they set out to… win.
Will they win 6,7, or 8 titles? No. Not even close. One could argue that a healthy Chicago team could have given them fits in the Eastern Conference Finals. But that’s not how destiny played out. And like I said, for now, this is their moment.
Tomorrow though, we will wake up either loving or hating or not caring about LeBron the same as today before his victory. Winning rings makes you stand out but it doesn’t change opinions. Bandwagon jumpers will chant and scream, loyalists will celebrate and those that didn’t care for them will condemn and move on. It’s really that simple. Moods and attitudes towards the Miami Heat and LeBron himself will not change. Not in the slightest.
The most discussed topic will now be Kobe and Jordan, but it shouldn’t. He’s not in their class yet. Not by a long shot. Kobe has 5 and MJ has 6. Bird and Magic have several. To prove yourself in pro sports, fair or not, you have to do it again to prove it wasn’t a fluke. Dynasties take years not a year. The haters will not silence and the loyalists will cheer, but it changes nothing until he does it again. The biggest flaw in James is that he’s failed twice before winning once. Jordan never lost in an NBA Finals. Neither has Duncan. LeBron came at at time between generations and his competition only grows as the Durant’s, Rose’s and Blake Griffin’s of the world only continue to grow.
So cheer on! The Heat deserved this title. Next year we start all over again and if the Heat are the best team they will win and if they aren’t then they won’t. It’s that simple. Professional sports always keep moving forward and winning once is always easier than repeating or holding on to your title. Ask any champion in any sport.