LeBron: great or gimmick?Published 1:21pm Thursday, June 20, 2013
By Lynden Blake, Outlook Staff Writer
What defines greatness? LeBron James is said to be the greatest basketball player of all time, yet he is constantly criticized for not being a clutch player.
LeBron was deemed great from an early age. He was given the nickname ‘The King’ before he ever made an NBA Finals appearance.
ESPN constantly throws around the debate about LeBron being better than Michael Jordan. The media loves and praises him until he messes up.
Then it’s ‘LeBron is the most overrated player in the league.’
The media has set such high expectations and standards for LeBron, it’s like he can’t catch a break. LeBron’s situation is kinda like this – if he were to give someone a chocolate cake, they would tell him they only eat vanilla.
James is the most versatile player in the game, and he needs to be respected. Anything short of an NBA title, and he is a useless player who chokes in tight game situations and should NEVER be compared to Michael Jordan.
Four MVP awards in ten seasons doesn’t cut it for LeBron’s critics. People say he passes too much, gives up too many shots or isn’t as aggressive as he needs to be. Yet James leads his team in points, rebounds, assists and steals.
One of the things that makes LeBron the best player of all time is the way he responds to adversity. After a slump in the 2011 NBA finals, LeBron spent all offseason working to become a better basketball player and fit for his Miami team. The start of the 2011-2012 season was the best in franchise history and ended with Miami winning their second franchise NBA championship and ‘The King’ with his first ring.
The pressure is on now as James enters game seven in hopes of winning his second NBA title tonight. Coming off a historic fourth quarter performance in game six, James is ready to go hard in the paint and prove to the critics he can finish.
What’s on the line if the Heat lose game seven at home? LeBron’s greatness. If he crumbles under pressure, he will have to dig his way out of a hole of criticism for the rest of his career.
Am I saying the fate of the Miami team rests on his shoulders? Yes. Am I saying LeBron must play his best? Yes. There is no way the Heat will pull out a win over the fundamentally best team in the NBA without ‘The King’ leading the way to the basket.
He showed up in game six when it mattered, and there is no doubt in my mind that he will rise to the occasion in game seven.
LeBron James is a playmaker. Once he’s hot, not even a slight wardrobe malfunction will throw off his game.
As for the media, LeBron may always be the Kim Kardashian of the sports world. As long as he is staying the subject of the media’s affection, James will continue to prevail and be great.
Blake is a staff writer for The Outlook.