Great players and their careers are defined by great moments. It’s the walk-off homeruns, the fourth quarter touchdowns, the buzzerbeaters. It’s Jordan draining over Ehlo. It’s Eli Manning to David Tyree. It’s Joey Chestnut going America on our asses and eating 68 hot dogs. When their team needs it most, the best become the best, obliterating anyone and everyone impeding their path to the pinnacle of the sports world. An interesting case, however, is that of a player with superhuman skills, strength, and speed.The most dominant force of nature among all athletes: LeBron James.
His well-documented career has had moments both high and low, not to mention moments where you wonder how he graduated high school. That being said, no moment means more to LeBron’s career than tonight’s Game 6 and the Game 7 that, for the sake of his legacy, simply has to happen. So, LeBron, please, please make it happen.
No career of any athlete has EVER resembled that of LeBron’s (Bryce Harper‘s might). A high school prodigy, LeBron was long labeled the next MJ. On the cover of Sports Illustrated as a teenager, the hype and expectations that followed James was exponential. They skyrocketed even higher when he was drafted by his hometown Cavaliers, destined to save the perennial bottom feeder. But, we all know what happens next. The self-proclaimed “King James” transitioned seamlessly into the NBA, winning Rookie of the Year, a couple of MVPs, and becoming the new face of the league. While he was with Cleveland, they were the class of the Eastern Conference, but, for some reason, they never made it over the hump in the playoffs. Year after year, LeBron’s Cavs were the title favorites. Year after year, LeBron’s Cavs faltered. Why? I have no idea. All I can say is LeBron seemed to shrink from the moment.
That all changed last year. In his second year in Miami, LeBron shined in the NBA Finals, finally becoming the dominant and clutch player we all wanted him to be. And that’s the kicker, we all wanted LeBron to get there. Here’s a guy with limitless talent, unmatched potential; he could end up being the best ever. Everyone, whether they knew it or not, was rooting for LeBron, if for nothing else than to see a transcendent player reach his peak. Last year, he finally reached that peak.
But here we are,the 2013 NBA Finals, and his Heat are down 3-2. Along the way, James has been dominant, but he has also turned in some pretty pedestrian performances, looking a lot like 2010 Cleveland LeBron rather than the 2012 Miami LeBron, the one we all expect him to be. Sure, D-Wade hasn’t consistently been himself and Chris Bosh has done little more than provide comic relief. However, it is not like LeBron has been lacking support (that argument alone brings me back to his Cleveland days). The smaller two of the big three have turned in some quality games, but, ultimately, everything rides on James. Everything. I cannot stress that enough. If he turns into the alien beast capable of dropping a 30-10-10 with his eyes closed, there is no way that Miami loses. Those performances transcend basketball, and he just makes it look so easy when he does it.
You want to be the best ever? Well, okay then, this is your moment.