LeBron James; I Love/Hate You Forever
I love to hate LeBron. I love to love LeBron. It depends which way the wind is blowing. It seems to be that way for a lot of people.
I started off a LeBron defender then I became a hater, but today I am a lover again. But I am working on keeping an even keel.
There is no roller coaster in sports like the NBA playoffs. No other games features what we could call “historical swings” like the NBA does. For instance, if LeBron was whistled for a hack on Kevin Durant with time winding down in Game 2, the entire narrative could have been vastly different. Instead of reading a deluge of stories about LeBron being the best player since sliced Wilt, we might be reading about the biggest choke job in NBA Finals history, all conveniently blamed on you know who. Because of one whistle that wasn’t, history swung in an entirely different direction. Not because of anything LeBron did physically, but because sometimes that is just how shit turns out. This time, history swung his way.
Not that I disagree with the no-call. I think it was the right thing to do in the tradition of the NBA playoffs. A champion does not depend on the refs. It was a tough lesson that a young team learned the hardest and only way possible. But it is a lesson that will benefit them for years to come.
As strange as it sounds, it was an uncalled hack that got me to reexamine my whole LeBron position yet again. Obviously, there is no need to ride the “He is the worst player/best player ever LeBron-A-Coaster.” I got off that at least a week ago. He is obviously a player for the ages. But what I am realizing is this series is the most pure fun the NBA Finals have been since Magic faced off against Bird. We get to watch LeBron James come of age at the same time we are watching Kevin Durant flirting with best eva potential. The ceiling would be pretty high for a 23 year-old with three scoring titles and a ring. Meanwhile, LeBron is frantically trying to build a dynasty of his own. You cannot ask for a better setup.
Watching OKC learn as they go has been exhilarating. Watching LeBron respond to the pressure has been eye-opening. Watching Shane Battier hit every single shot he fires out of his ass has been a bit of a head fuck. But the bottom line is this has a chance to be an NBA Finals we are talking about for the rest of our lives.
And that really should be enough. Unless Miami loses Game 3. Then I can finally unleash my “LeBron as Mailman 2.0″ post.
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