So after the superlatives are exhausted, and the comparisons and living-in-the moment analysis holds no weight, all that’s left is truth. The Pacers and Heat are tied at 2-2 and Miami’s fortunes rest squarely at King James’ feet. From here out, the court is his and his legacy is up for grabs.
It’s something Lebron James has had to face every step of the way in his journey towards NBA VIP status. When you come fresh out the box, ready-made to dominate and revolutionize the game, it’s fitting and justifiable that it all falls on you.
When LBJ bounced to Miami, he didn’t bounce on a franchise that was struggling to snag an 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. The unheralded squad Dan Gilbert assembled around LeBron—as unappreciated and undervalued as they were —still advanced to a conference finals and spit out two 60-plus win seasons.
There were a lot of cats who felt LBJ “back-doored his way to a championship” by teaming up with a Hall of Famer in Wade — who already proved his don status years ago when Shaq put the battery in his back and he went Jordan in the ’06 NBA Finals. LBJ haters also point at the strike-shortened season as another, straw-grasping attempt at diminishing his championship accomplishments last season. When your destiny is dominance, your social profile can never be total acceptance, but your burden of responsibility is limitless.
Total vindication should have come with LeBron’s ’12 chip. Instead it brought more questions. Could he repeat? Did he win because he had the crutch of The Big Three aiding him in his quest? Was it a bitch move or a G-move for him to give up on Cleveland and concede to failure at that particular juncture?
Sometimes, it’s still like he never won. If it’s any consolation to his ill-wishers, fate has a funny way of evening out the odds. After all of the drama involving “The Decision” and then losing to Dirk and Dallas in his inaugural South Beach season, to finally hoisting the shiny ball—LeBron is still forging his legacy.
It’s the final chapter, and it’s time for King James to officially shut every detractor up and truly do it “himself.”
Not that such an accomplishment is even possible in a team sport, but perception is everything. Indiana has let it be known that they are here to win the damn thing. In the past, James, Wade and Bosh resembled poetry in motion. They’ve already inked a chapter in all-time awesome, threesomes. In these playoffs, however, Wade has gallantly battled injuries and years of putting in dirt-work on the hardwood to be a limited contributor. He hasn’t been the usual Robin to Lebron’s Batman. For a guy that averages almost 25 ppg for his career, he’s more like half a Wonder Twin chipping in about 14 ppg in 12 playoff games.
Bosh’s overall presence has been meek, and the Miami bench is doing a Rip Van Winkle impersonation. It doesn’t look like the Heat’s deficiencies are going to improve overnight. The Pacers confidence, however, is boosting as we speak. Have you ever seen Roy Hibbert so animated and wreckless with his post game pop-off?
It’s like the Pacers really believe they have a shot against the greatest player on earth, who had a long minute to contemplate things after fouling out of a playoff game for the first time in a long time. As unselfish as he tries to be, now’s not the time for all of that. He loves to share the rock, but now’s not the time. He loves to show off his outside shooting prowess. Now’s not the time. Lebron needs a good night’s sleep and a pow wow with moms. Then he needs to take this series by the scrotum sack and guide Miami home. Truth is, it can’t go down any other way.