After the Heat’s dominating game-five victory over the Thunder LeBron James took his first steps towards being the greatest of all time in a fantastic performance racking up a triple-double on way to his first NBA Championship. Finally we have all become witness.
For the last two years in the NBA one man has taken the brunt end of a media shit-storm. Although possibly being the best player in the NBA he still faced a mountain of doubt because he couldn’t win his elusive first NBA Championship. Even though he was a two time NBA MVP people turned against this man when he supposedly betrayed his hometown and ran to another team with better players -something that now doesn’t look so stupid judging by the fact that his original team is bound to dwell in obscurity and will probably lose its best player again when Kyrie Irving’s contract is up – after his decision people asked questions on whether he actually is as great as we were all lead on to believe, would the greats of yesteryear have joined forces like these three have, no, if they were given the opportunity on the other hand they maybe would’ve. We were told we would all be witnesses, now almost ten years later we have all finally become witness.
LeBron James is this man I speak of and last night he established himself in the annals of basketball history as one of the greatest. James finished off the Oklahoma City Thunder in five, posting splits of 28.6/7.4/10.2 and even adding a triple-double in the deciding game (26/13/11). Many people, including myself, made the pick of the Thunder in six or seven; this was a terrible decision, much like LeBron’s long ago. James went on to win the Finals MVP putting up outrageous numbers of 30.3/5.6/9.7 in 42.7 minutes a game in 23 games. LeBron James silenced all the haters last night and it’s frightening to think that this team that Miami has constructed may be winning the NBA Finals for the next few years.
Two years ago LeBron James, Dwayne Wad and Chris Bosh came together on a stage in American Airlines arena and proclaimed that they were going to win, “not one, not two, not three, not four, not five,” but like a billion championships, obviously this was an erroneous claim that has never been seen in the NBA since the Celtics of the ‘60s. Last year it looked like they could’ve started in on championship numero uno, but they fell short, LeBron wilted like a 100-year-old flower, Wade fought on but it wasn’t enough and Chris Bosh was nowhere to be found, the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA Championship in six; not only exercising the demons of ’06 but also establishing the now defunct criticism of LeBron James and can he really be the best player on a team that has Wade and Bosh and also if he really is the greatest or at least one of the greats to play this beautiful game.
I admit that when “The Decision,” happened I began to hate LeBron, just like everyone else, I began to make those ridiculous comparisons of would Jordan have joined Bird and Magic, would Isiah Thomas have joined with Hakeem and Barkley. These comparisons were ridiculous and the criticisms were also preposterous; sometimes we take sports entirely too serious but that could be because these men get paid millions-upon-millions of dollars in their contracts and endorsements that we feel they owe us something. In real-life they don’t owe us anything, we pander to their needs by buying their jerseys and buying the products they sell to us so in a sense it’s our own fault and in reality as awful as it was that James ditched the Cavaliers he did it for all the right reasons. Miami provides better promotional opportunities, a better team, better management, and just a better place to live. Dan Gilbert wasn’t helping anything when he reacted like a child to LeBron leaving and as far as we know he wasn’t willing to help James win a championship and was a cheap bastard when it came to free agents.
All James did was pursue a better opportunity and isn’t that what we all do in our everyday life, and especially in our jobs.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about, per say you have worked at a company in, say, Cleveland, you’ve worked at this company for seven years. One day your friend who works at a different company that essentially does the same thing as your company but with better benefits and it’s in a warmer climate, per say your Miami friend asks you if you’d like to come work with him. You guys have a mutual friend who lives in Toronto so you decide to see if he’d like to come down and work for a better company with better benefits too. You both leave your previous jobs for better opportunity because it’s a no brainer, right? Then why the hell is it any different when LeBron did this, oh because it’s basketball? It’s still a job and in our careers we are always looking to advance and find ourselves in better situations. It took me a little while to be able to see it this way but when I did it was nice to be able to enjoy the immense talents that James has been gifted with. He truly is the best basketball player in all of basketball and he proved that this year without a doubt by winning the regular season MVP, a NBA Championship and a Finals MVP award. The other great players to accomplish this feat since 1989 are Tim Duncan (’02-’03), Shaquille O’Neal (’99-’00), Hakeem Olajuwon (’93-’94), and the one player James has been most compared too, Michael Jordan in ’91, ’92, ’96, and ’98; all-in-all that’s pretty damn good company.
At the beginning of the Finals there were comparisons of the ’91 Bulls and this year’s Thunder, we were all very wrong, I especially. The team that was most like the ’91 Bulls was the Heat, right down to losing the first game and then sweeping the next four. Lebron’s face after winning his first title was amazing, the closest thing it could be compared to was a child on Christmas who has woken up to find everything he asked for was under the tree. My dad, who is very old-school when it comes to the NBA, called me soon after the Heats victory. “Did you see LeBron, he looked like a little kid, it’s fantastic, and you just don’t see a face like that on players, I’m happy for him.”
It was at that point that I finally realized that we all need to be happy for him, it doesn’t matter that he left Cleveland, it doesn’t matter that they held a championship celebration two years before they won their first championship, and it most especially doesn’t matter that he held a hour-long special announcing his decision to go to Miami. What matters now is that we are all finally witness, it took a long time, but as LeBron said to the great Bill Russell, “it’s about damn time.”
Cameron Heffernan is a co-Editor-in-Chief for Hefferbrew. He is totally fine with the Heat winning the NBA Championship even though he is a huge Celtics fan. He definitely wasn’t weeping last night thinking the Celtics could have been there instead. Contact him at @karateparty1 on Twitter and we’re working on a Twitter and Facebook for this fine site.