The Last Supper in Cleveland
Let’s be honest, we all saw “The Decision.” No matter how stupid, pointless, egotistical and self-driven as we thought it might be, we all tuned in to see where Lebron James was headed next. After failing to beat the Boston Celtics two out of the last three years, it became apparent that Lebron would not likely be back in his home town playing ball, especially after walking off the of the court after losing to the Boston Celtics. After heavy criticism for quitting on his team and failing to come up clutch in buzzer beater attempts, which combined with the nightly burden of needing to score 30 points a night, he joined up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach as a member of the Miami Heat.
The Messiah’s Decision
Lebron saw himself as the new Magic Johnson, a revolutionary scoring point guard whose size speed, athleticism and passing ability could not be matched by any team in the league; the fans saw otherwise. In an era where social media and the internet have turned emotions and opinions into status updates and tweets that can be sent on a whim, Lebron’s “decision” turned him into a villain over night. Fans felt cheated and betrayed across the nation that a player of such status would join up with then 3 max contract players to form a super team. Lebron James, Cleveland’s messiah and favorite son sent from the basketball gods, would be turned in with his own decision playing Judas. His gut told him that a spectacle such as the decision was necessary for what he believed was such a monumental announcement. His decision spawned from ignorance and greed betrayed the true essence of Lebron James, the big smiling kid from Akron who loved to play basketball. The cock crowed three times as the fund for the Boys & Girls Club charity was racked up in a meager attempt by James to personally justify something so out of his nature. The season that followed would be like no other torture to a player given on a nightly basis.
Thorns, Whips, and Hate
While King James wore his thorn crown in different cities across America, his punishment would not be in poor performance but perhaps the one thing he cared about more at the time: how people felt about him. Throughout the majority of his career he made people believers and was praised for his incredible athleticism, and, willing to admit it or not, he had fallen in love with people’s perceptions and obsessions with him. Purists scoffed at the idea that this man could be the one after “the decision” and very quickly his mentality shifted. Even he began to question himself and what had signed himself up for; the mental anguish of being purely hated on 48 minutes a night began taking its toll as his need for motivation turned to spite.
A Pontius Pilate in Dallas
While pure talent and what little team chemistry they had carried the Heat through the Eastern Conference Finals, they faced an aged but beautifully skilled Mavericks team in the NBA finals hungry for a title. After taking early leads in the first three games, the Heat and James struggled to score in half court sets in the 4th quarter but found themselves up 2-1 in the series. Narratives of Lebron James struggling and choking in past playoff games and in early games with the Heat began to surface and the already hated Heat faced more pressure to close out games. Criticized for passing up game winning shot opportunities in favor of more open shots by less heralded players, James struggled to stay mentally focused and involved as the clock began to tick in the 4th quarter. Not feeling confident to sink clutch shots and worrying about the media’s response to his passing it up, James played backseat to Wade in final possessions and was noticeably uninvolved. Meanwhile veteran Dirk Nowitzki blossomed in the Finals nailing multiple difficult shots. Games 4 and 5 both saw Lebron James disappear and crumble under the weight of 4th quarter pressure and Dallas took a 3-2 lead in the series. With game 6 looming Dirk looked to strike the final blow.
Game 6 answered the cries of the people, after insurmountable criticism Dirk delivered the final win that would seal the fate for King James. The fans had seen the Miami Heat super team get to cusp of glory and just as they had hoped; Lebron choked it away. Fans and news media lashed out as people rejoiced in the downfall of James. They put him up on the cross and paraded him around as a choke artist, destined to never achieve the pinnacle of success his predecessors such as Jordan or Bryant had. The loss devastated the Miami Heat and sent James into a personal coma and redaction from the world.
10 Long Months in the Upper Room
James had two ways to come back to the 2011-2012 NBA season: defeated and destined to repeat the previous years in his career again, or be reborn into the player we all know he can be. His response was one of the best starts to a season we have ever seen. Shooting 60% and averaging almost 8 rebounds and assists per game Jame’s game seemed as good as usual, but with more of a bounce in his step. Refocused on his love and passion for basketball James set out to play the game the way that got him to such a point, rather than fall to peoples expectations. This, of course, is nothing new for James. While he set out to such a scorching start to the season it was merely overlooked because for Lebron James the only answer is an NBA title. Over the course of 8 years he had accrued 2 MVP awards and been the number 1 seed numerous times. All that was ever really missing was a ring. The Heat earned the #2 seed in the East and blew through their first round match up. Lebron won the MVP award and played like it in a dog fight series with the Pacers without big three member Chris Bosh, who was out with an ab strain. The lack of Bosh and inconsistencies of Wade pitted the Heat down 2-1 but James and an emergence of Wade late in the series had the Heat winning the next 3 games and facing bitter rival Boston in the East Finals.
Doubting Thomas in Boston
The King is back, and this time will not be beat. Facing elimination in Game 6 Lebron had one of the best performances in NBA Playoff history. Theres nothing more to say. His demeanor was all business.
Easter in June
The only way to validate this season for James is to come through on basketball’s biggest stage. That being said, tonight Lebron has a chance to take his first step into immortality. What is even more amazing his the level of skill and determination he has played at this post season. even with an even bigger target on his back. Great teams make good teams beat them in a series, even if they aren’t the most talented. Lebron assumed that because they had reached the finals they would just win the title, but an experienced Mavericks team and a one time Finals loser Dirk made the Heat beat them, something neither Lebron nor the Heat was ready to do. Now the Heat face a team that for the first time might have more overall talent top to bottom then they do, but the Heat are a great team, and Lebron James is a great player, and they are making a younger and less experienced team BEAT them. Not just play hard and win but actually beat them, something I don’t think will happen tonight. So when Lebron gets that ring and we forgive him for his sins against himself, and we appreciate what an incredibly high level he is playing at, maybe he just might ascend into heaven like another polarzing man in history… or maybe he walks away from it all like Jordan to make you appreciate it.