LeBron Didn’t Silence Critics, Yet

(For the record, the Miami Heat are still Dwyane Wade’s team especially since he has a ring aaand ya know, it’s called “Wade County.”)

                LeBron James has been through a lot in the past year. Let me rephrase that. LeBron James has put himself through a lot in the past year. The timeline includes the series against Boston in which he “quit” on the Cavaliers, then through the entire 2011 season filled with the controversy that started with James tarnishing his legacy by “taking his talents to South Beach”. There he started a trend of creating “super” teams that contain three stars instead of the traditional two . (It also started a trend with teams trading for expiring contracts to free up cap-space so they can recreate what the Heat did.) This was followed by the questioning of his ability to close games. (It’s where he gained the title of “Best Player For the First 46 Minutes.”) For a while, James lost his privileges as the closer and Dwyane Wade became the go-to guy and had basketball fans saying that he was better than LeBron.  Most say all of this was James’ fault and he deserved it because of what he did to Cleveland by having a television show where he officially announced his intentions on leaving the Cavaliers and joining Miami. Through all of that, after Wednesday night, James is one step closer to arriving and officially silencing the critics.

                The criteria to silence them: 1. Come up big in the clutch 2. Apologize for “The Decision” 3. Apologize to the Cleveland fans for ruining their only chance at winning a championship (I don’t see the big deal with the show nor with him leaving.  If you just said, who asked you? Good point.)  4. Win multiple championships, especially after that speech. Numbers 2 and 3 sort of came after game five of the Celtics series, however Cleveland fans still feel abandoned . Number 1 needs to happen more often than one time, especially when that is a specific criterion for a good player to transcend to greatness. As for number 4, it’s self-explanatory.

LeBron James started fulfilling Number 1 Wednesday night when he scored the Heat’s final 10 points in a 97-87 win over the Boston Celtics in game-five in the second round. He came up big and finally got over the “Boston hump;” hence the celebration at the end where he was seen kneeling and praying (is it excessive? Possibly, but remember that the Celtics beat LeBron so badly the past two years that he quit on the Cavaliers. You can’t be too surprised at him showing some sort of emotion.). Now before we anoint the self-anointed “King James” as the best player in the world, let’s make it clear that those two shots aren’t taking Kobe’s top spot (let this play sum it up), but he made an advancement.  With the perimeter game as a weaker aspect of his game, it caught the basketball world by surprise when he pulled up for those threes late in the fourth quarter, both with Paul Pierce’s hand in his face. Sure he’s absolutely capable of it, but the way he’s been in the clutch this year, it wasn’t expected (hence the blogosphere blowing up with its irrational and sudden conclusions that LeBron is now clutch. That’s like saying Joe Frazier is the best boxer ever right after he beat Muhammad Ali when you knew they were going to fight again.).

  On Sunday, “El Heat” will face the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals. Here’s the second test in LeBron’s first journey to silence all the critics.  The Bulls enter the series coming off a 20-point win against the Atlanta Hawks in game-six.  They have the current NBA MVP, Derrick Rose, their star point-guard which poses a problem for the Heat because through the entire season, a fast and good point guard has destroyed them (they were 0-3 against Chicago (Rose), 1-3 against Boston (Rajon Rondo, if he doesn’t dislocate his elbow, it’s a different series), and split with a mediocre New Orleans (Chris Paul) in the regular season.  If LeBron wants to solidify his place as an NBA great it started with Boston and will end with a championship or bust. The irony of it all is, expectations are that high that if they win, it’s expected, but if they lose then all hell will break loose. Their next two series can determine how teams approach free agency for years to come (refer to Dwight Howard and Chris Paul in 2012).

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  • […] start of the Miami Heat dynasty and the start of their six or seven championship run.” However, as I wrote in a past post, LeBron didn’t prove anything yet and had a long way to go before we dubbed him the best in the […]

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