King James I, the Chosen One, as he was worshipped in 2006:
“I think he finishes off Detroit….I think this will be one of those rare games when you know something momentous is happening as you’re watching, even though it’s not finished happening yet. I think tonight becomes his version of MJ’s 63-point game in the Boston Garden, Springsteen’s “Born to Run” album, Ali’s KO over Liston, Pacino’s scene in Louis’ Restaurant, Tiger’s minus-18 in Augusta. I think the Pistons walk off the court in a fog, wondering what the hell just happened. I think nothing in the NBA will be the same for another 12-15 years.”
This crap came out of Bill Simmon’s mouth way back when many idiots genuinely believed LeBron was the Chosen One. LeBron had finally arrived at a defining moment in his career. He had a chance to back up the hype and legitimize his reputation. Then a funny thing happened - LeBron failed. And then he failed again. And again. And then again once more. LeBron’s response to the Bill Simmons of the world? One of the most remarkable game seven meltdowns in playoff history as the Cavs were eliminated by the Pistons. The following year, LeBron was embarrassingly swept by the Spurs in the finals. I don’t even remember a single game from that series. The year after that, LeBron bumbled and stumbled his way to hundreds of free throws but still couldn’t get past the Celtics due to a shooting percentage in the low 30s. This year, LeBron had a theatrical and ultimately meaningless game winner early in the series (how many of these has he missed – dozens?) as the Cavs were unceremoniously dumped by the Magic in 6 games.
Oh, how things have changed. Sure, the hype is still unbearable and everything looks the same on the Sportscenter-skinned surface – LeBron can do no wrong, he is an unstoppable force, the best player in the NBA, the MVP, the next Oscar Robertson, etc. – but no reasonable person truly believes the crap anymore, with the exception of the worst LeBron homers out there (post away and prove my point, assholes). This year, there were no bold predictions of greatness from any reasonable sports journalists – just half-hearted, obligatory LeBron praise to please the various corporate masters. Why? LeBron has been exposed. He is not the next Michael Jordan. He will never be the next Michael Jordan. He won’t be the next anybody. He doesn’t even have a decent jumpshot, for fuck’s sake. A lucky buzzer-beater doesn’t mean much when you lose a series in 6.
Of course, the LeBron apologists were out in force repeating the standard “LeBron can’t do it all himself” bullshit that has been circulating for years. Here’s a fact, people – LeBron blew game 6 offensively, his teammates didn’t. The only player that shot worse than LeBron was sorry-ass Wally Szczerbiak. LeBron was 8 for 20 for the game, counting garbage points. He didn’t score a single point in the crucial second quarter as the Magic built up a permanent lead. He even pulled his signature “OH MY GOD, MY EYEBALL HAS JUST BEEN VICIOUSLY GOUGED BY THAT MEAN MAN” move in the first quarter. He didn’t get the reaction from the zebras that he wanted and got frustrated. LeBron “playmaker” Jame gave the ball away short time later when he lost a lazy standing dribble. Embarrassed, I’m guessing, he bull-charged some poor sap on his next trip down the court, got the BS call, and badly bricked two consecutive free throws a few seconds later. And that was the ballgame. LeBron was a non-factor from that point forward. He sat around the perimeter pouting, attempted some awful shots, and forced a bunch of awkward drives. Mr. Potato Head, brilliant motivator that he is, even picked up a tech at the half to grease the refs and fire up the crybaby. Coach of the Year, indeed. It didn’t work. LeBron’s bull-charge stopped being about getting to the basket and started being about putting fouls on Dwight Howard. No amount of ref-coddling could save him at that point. Game over.
As I have just established, LeBron certainly has a wealth of experience coming up short in big games. You’d think he be used to all of the losing by now. Apparently not. For the second season in a row, LeBron stormed off the court and ran directly to the locker room, bailing on his teammates and the required press conference. So fun-lovin’ LeBron will choreograph an intricate dance routine with his teammates when they are running up the score against some losers during the regular season, but he can’t even look a teammate in the eye and congratulate him at the conclusion of a long, hard-fought season? What happened to LeBron’s unselfish team-first attitude we’re always hearing about? His leadership? LeBron clearly doesn’t think his team mates are worthy of his greatness. As mere men, they certainly aren’t the equal of NBA royalty. They are LeBron’s subjects. Inadequate peasants, the source of constant disappointment to their master:
“I’m only one guy,” James said. “I took Hedo in the first game and Rashard made the shot. I took Rashard in the second game and Hedo made the shot.
“If I could clone myself, we’d be all right. But I can’t.”
Holy shit. Have you ever heard of another player publicly stating that he wishes his teammates could be replaced with clones of himself? LeBron’s arrogance is truly limitless.
Since LeBron couldn’t even make eye contact with his own teammates after the loss, it obviously never crossed his mind to congratulate the Magic after the game. Check out this bizarre email “explanation” LeBron sent to Dwight Howard the day after the loss:
“It’s hard for me to congratulate somebody after you just lose to them,” he said. “I’m a winner. It’s not being a poor sport or anything like that. If somebody beats you up, you’re not going to congratulate them. That doesn’t make sense to me. I’m a competitor. That’s what I do. It doesn’t make sense for me to go over and shake somebody’s hand.”
Way to go and document your poor sportsmanship in an email for the whole world to see, doofus. A spoiled brat running away and pouting in the emotion of the moment is one thing, but refusing to back down and defending your ridiculously immature behavior after you’ve had time to think it over is quite another. LeBron simply does not believe anything he does is wrong. He continued to insist that his “crab dribble” wasn’t a travel, even after hundreds of replays on sportscenter. He has denied elbowing opposing players in the face, even though he knows very well that every game is videotaped from 20 different angles. King James does not need to apologize to his subjects. And he never will. He is a classless jerk.
Happy trails, LeBron. Go home and play with your toys.
I leave you Cavs fans with a question: When LeBron put on his headphones after game 6, do you think he was listening to Jay-Z?