6/12…King James the first, title that is (found in Kinesthetically Pleasing)

26 06 2012

Lyon Keating:

So you have a party with all your friends, spout out a lot of over confident jibber jabber, dance like you’re an asshole, drop it like it’s hot, celebrate like it’s 1999 all over again and you just won a championship.  Off putting yes.  Asshole and somebody who we all hate and root against?  Geez, certainly a hard crowd if you said yes.  Haven’t we all been in a similar situation at one point or another in our lives where we talked shit, were arrogant, threw a party to dance around and have fun, among many other certainly minor acts?  Unless you’re aspiring to be a monk at a young age then you probably have done some of these things.  Of course, they weren’t on national TV in front of millions of people.  All in all, at least we are doing these types of things instead of actually breaking laws or hurting people where we certainly would earn the due hatred and despised projections from our fellow neighbors.

Lebron James is definitely the most rooted against player in all of sports today.  Maybe Tiger Woods comes up a close second but the NBA is more popular so more people have a stronger opinion about it that I meet on a more normal basis.  But whereas Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant cheated on their wives and are more or less easy to spot arrogant assholes, or Barry Bonds who was a total prick in public to people, reporters, and his teammates, or Mike Tyson actually raping somebody, Lebron James threw a party.  I know that Lebron has been the most highly touted player since he was in high school and the upper dog (as opposed to under dog) for his whole career and this makes a whole slew of people automatically root against him.  I for one am guilty of hating the Yankees for no other good reason than they steal all my players constantly (I’m an A’s fan) and spend hundreds of millions more dollars than most other teams which makes things seem very unfair.  The NBA has a much more balanced salary distribution of 30 million separating the top of the league from the bottom.  So outside of Cleveland Cavalier fans and puritan folk who look down on having a good time and maybe an ex girlfriend or two, people don’t really have a decent reason for hating Lebron James with the amount of intensity and passion that is constantly shown.

I am a Golden State Warriors fan.  My relationship with the Warriors came to fruition when I was living in San Francisco in 2006.  Baron Davis and a young Monte Ellis came forth as the eighth seed and beat the number one seed Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs and they should have beat the Utah Jazz in the second round if they made their free throws.  It was exciting, thrilling, my team was winning and it brought forth my love for the NBA that was only around before in the Jordan hey days when it was impossible not to like the Bulls.  However, the years passed and the warriors have resorted to playing D-league basketball, the minor leagues for those of you that don’t know.  Watching games for them blows big goat balls and it’s boring, pathetic, and like the management really doesn’t know their ass from a hole in the ground.  If you noticed earlier, my passion for the NBA came because my team was WINNING!  I had the NBA fire in me and it wasn’t ready to be extinguished.  I hadn’t grown up watching the warriors so I didn’t feel like I was abandoning them.  The only team I truly wouldn’t ever stray from would be the Oakland A’s as my soul is connected to them.  Since my recent NBA team had failed me big time in the small detail of winning and being exciting I felt like I could choose another team.  That team was the Miami Heat!

Superstars coming together to form a championship team without the use and know how of management?  That was a revolutionary idea I could get behind and something I’d personally always wanted to do more of as a player.  And they had some of the best players and would WIN!  I had always like watching Lebron anyway and he clearly was the best player in the NBA (more on that later Kobe fans) and dictated the game, grabbed the attention of all those around him, and made his teammates better in a way that reminded me of the good old days of MJ.

As you probably know, James just won his first championship at an age younger than when Michael Jordan won his.  James had absolutely stunning numbers throughout the 2012 playoffs averaging something like 30 points, 10 boards, and 6 assists a game.  He could pass, post up, shoot, and most importantly play defense and all five positions if he had to.  People often say who would you want to take the last shot in a game but I’d rather say who do you want defending the guy who’s taking the last shot of the game and every other shot he takes during the game?  That guy is absolutely Lebron.  He is the most dynamic offense and, more importantly, defensive player in the NBA.  And during the Indiana Pacer playoff series, a team that has extremely talented big men, he proved he could even play center well when the Heat were down a few players.  Lebron can play offense and defense at beyond superstar status and he is probably one of the only players who can effectively play all five positions at an all-star capability if he had to.  He is the ultimate Slash player.

Annoying Laker fans continually come up to me and spout that Kobe Bryant is one of the best players of all time and someone who is better than James.  He has five rings people say and rings are everything!  Hmmm, I beg to differ about this.  Kobe is a dynamic player and somebody anyone would want on their team.  He is a superstar shooter and part of a championship team.  Other younger players come to mind like Kevin Durant who bear resemblance to Kobe Bryant.  However, Kobe has won five rings and due credit is deserved for him doing that but are we to assume that rings are everything?  Should I go around and start saying that Derrick Fisher with his five rings is just as good as Kobe?  Or how about that Robert Horry is better than Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan because he has seven rings compared to Jordan’s six and Bryant’s five?  No, people would obviously not take me seriously and think I was incredibly stupid for me claiming such a thing.

Or what about the perception that Kobe was not the best player on his team during some of his championship teams?  He had big men like Shaq in his earlier years and Bynum in his later years who clearly dictated the game more than Kobe did when the going got tough.  The team clearly was won or lost based on if these big men did good or not and Kobe having a great game certainly helped but was not the tipping point.  Point being that a player like MJ was clearly, obviously always the best player on his team, and especially when they won their championships.  Kobe clearly wasn’t and how can we put him into a category of someone like MJ and even somebody like Lebron?  Lebron will still have to win another championship or two to get into that super elite status but everything he has done so far has him clearly going in that direction.  He can play every position, lead his team and championship team in points, rebounds, assists, and is the best defensive player on the court.  This is absolutely rare and something that could land him being one of the greatest players of all time if he keeps it up.  Kobe is not this and no other player in the game is this right now.  You have to have a good team and good players around you to win rings.  It doesn’t necessarily define your greatness.  In baseball Barry Bonds was the most dominant offensive player ever.  In football Dan Marina owned many of the quarterback records at one time or another.  Neither of these guys won a championship.  It was no fault of their own.  They just didn’t have the support of other good players.  Lebron made a good move going to Miami because he knew he needed support no matter how great you are.  What will he accomplish in the next five years will be very interesting to see.  It will define his greatness for most people but on the court I see an utter monster who is the most complete basketball player I’ve ever seen and I’m going out and buying a poster and a shirt!

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