The King Wears Overrated Clothes.
But that's not the point of my topic here. This is about one man who is nothing more than a pretty flashy big fella, who for the first three quarters of the game is a SportsCenter highlight waiting to happen. Fourth quarter rolls around and well...good luck finding him, because he's nowhere in sight. Now, I swear on everything, if you ever stumble upon Steve Kerr's articles on Yahoo about all things pertaining to The Association that youd think Kerr was LeBron James biological father. I mean, despite having a subpar supporting cast that's spearheaded by an underachieving/nonachieving, overpaid #2 in Larry Hughes, and an older than the nails in his surgically-repaired ankle in Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Kerr swears this team's a title contender. But, leave it to good ole Chuckster, my boy Charles Barkley, to remind the world of something I've been telling everyone for YEARS...
THEY ARE NOT CONTENDERS!!! Even in the JV East, these clowns would be LUCKY to get out of the first round this season. Con't let him cross paths with Agent Zero again. It's gonna be Code X for "King" James and his not so merry or great men.
But, I digress a smidge.
Maybe I'm being too hard on him. Maybe as a quasi-partial onlooker, I'm taking too much tack on a man who didn't go to college and the like. Maybe I'm expecting too much out of a guy who has been labeled in just his FOURTH YEAR in the league such incredible monikers as "King James," "The Chosen One," and my personal favorite from recently deposed color commentator Michael Reghi, "Flight 23."
Right now, there are about 15 players in The Association I'd take over LBJ. Two of them, aside from being the fairly obvious candidates, are My Boy Melo and Dwayne Castle [the nickname I gave D-Wade during the Finals a year ago, because I swear there was ice water flowing through his veins as he viciously punished the Mavs]. Right now, LBJ's nothing more than a huge billboard. Someone who you can use to attract fans to come see play, but if you're looking for him to put a team on his shoulders and carry them into the playoffs [took him three years before he FINALLY cracked it] or to a title [kill the "Wade had Shaq" thing, I've heard it to death and that falls on management]...look elsewhere because as big as LBJ is in a physical aspect, his shoulders aren't THAT big.
Now LBJ's broke a ton of records so far and before his career is over, I'm sure he's gonna break a few more. But the truth of the matter is, he's a billboard and nothing more. He's a Nike creation, one of many Walking Highlight Reels that Nike has and will continue to use to get you to buy their product. At the end of the day, that's all he is and probably all he ever WILL BE. There's a reason why Dominique Wilkins never won a ring or ever got further than the 2nd round in his career. There's a reason why Dan Marino only saw ONE Super Bowl in his career, and it goes a wee bit further than the fact that Miami never got themselves committed to a running game or even establishing one.
The fact is, LeBron's going to have his usual dunks [while never competing in the Slam Dunk Contest, whatever the hell that's degenerated into] and as last night against the 76ers showed...he's not clutch. He can't hit free throws when they count, can't hit running leaners, hell...if it's not him barreling through the lane like a Mack Truck with no brakes at full speed...he's useless. His inability to play lockdown D is what allowed Iggy to tie the game in regulation and well, the Jordan comparisons need to start and STOP with the number he's wearing.
If you walk around Akron enough, you'll hear grumblings that LBJ should've won MVP last year instead of Steve Nash. I'd wager good money that 'Melo or Wade will probably win their first MVP award before LBJ gets his. Hell, if I had to put over/under in Vegas, I'd wager money that 'Melo wins his first title and Wade gets his second before LBJ even gets a shot at his first. Why? Because Cleveland's not going to do a damn thing to put a winning team around this boy. Even if they do, which I doubt very seriously, LBJ doesn't have what's necessary to carry them to where they need to be. Everyone continues to mention almost ad nauseum that LBJ needs a "Pippen" to compliment his "Jordan."
First off, Jordan showed in college he had the ability to snatch a person's heart out and hand it to them before the body dropped. LBJ hasn't done that yet. Secondly, Jordan had certain intangibles in place BEFORE Pippen and company arrived. LBJ's shown nothing other than he can make breakaway dunks look really really redundant. Cleveland's lost 5 of its last 6, and 6 of their last 8 I believe, with last night's loss to the Sixers. Right now, when looking back at the vaunted [and foreseeable greatest ever when it's all said and done] Class of 2003, the tale of the tape doesn't really favor LBJ that much when you get past the gaudy numbers he's put up. Both Melo and Wade have yet to miss the playoffs in their career, LBJ didn't make it until last year. And while Melo's yet to make it out of the first round, he's in the toughest conference in the NBA. LBJ's in the Leastern, I meant Eastern Conference. He's an All-Star, no doubt. He's one of how many in the East at his position? Melo's in a forward-heavy conference and hopefully this year, will FINALLY become one.
All told, LBJ's an overrated guy on an overrated team. He was the consensus MVP at the start of the year, his team all but ready to make that "big jump" and they find themselves stumbling into the break with the Bulls and Pacers breathing down their necks, probably ready to pass them before everyone hits Vegas. And keeping with the Vegas theme, LBJ and the Cavs are gonna crap out in the playoffs, ESPECIALLY if they see Agent Zero and his Wizards in a rematch of last year's six round slugfest. Bet on that.