After winning the fourth championship and the MVP finals with the Los Angeles Lakers, Lebron James talked about what has been the main theme of the entire season: I want my fucking respect, too.
He knew there were rumors that he would say no, especially after the end of the season when he missed 27 games due to injuries, especially in his 17-year career. A day later he put his picture on Instagram, smoked a cigar and rejoiced in victory after becoming 17th before the Lakers. who made a similar remark.
I know they’re going to come up with another standard that no one in the history of the game has ever had. But you know what, just give it to me, please!
Interviews and social media reports have led to the belief that James, who became one of only four players in history to win three titles on three different teams, feels that he is not respected and wants to be recognized. But it’s not just a question of including him in the old list of the league’s biggest players. It’s about where he thinks he should be on that list. James himself, after winning his third title with the Cleveland Cavaliers, said he was chasing a ghost that was playing in Chicago.
But one thing that didn’t help him in the hunt was his last record. James is just one of only four players in the history of the NBA who has had at least ten appearances in the finals. But those who refuse to place him in front of Michael Jordan point out that his 4-6 record in these performances is one of the main reasons why he will never be the greatest player of all time. Jordan, we soon noticed that he had an impeccable 6-0 record in the finals while playing for the Chicago Bulls.
However, Lebron James made the final with his team as favorites and according to the ESPN Basketball Power Index he won only four out of ten times, especially against teams with several current and future players from the Hall of Famers on the tracks of San Antonio and the State Golden Warriors, where he suffered five out of six losses in the final.
But what if the unthinkable would happen and all his achievements in the finals would end with James winning the championship? How will this affect his legacy and his position as one of the biggest players in the game, especially with regard to Jordan? The conquest of 10 titles would place him next to the great Boston nobleman Bill Russell with 11 titles and Sam Jones, who with 10 titles is the most champion. For some, to consolidate his status as the greatest player of the game, especially given the talent of the teams he met in the final.
The Spurs had Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and the young Kavi Leonard, led by Gregg Popovich, one of the biggest coaches in NBA history. Meanwhile, all stars are in the final of 2017 and 2018: Stephen Curry, Clay Thompson, Draimond Green, Andre Iguodala and Kevin Durant. It would also mean that the other halls of Dirk Novitsky and Jason Kidd would be defeated and that the defeat in the final would be erased with Mavericks, who still burns it according to James. But even if he wins those teams on the biggest podium, some will inevitably wonder how he made it to the finals.
Throughout the season, the Lakers faced Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers in an exciting Western Conference final, but the Denver Nuggets cut that dream game in half, made the series 3-1 short and crushed the Clippers in the Conference semifinal. Without meeting the Clippers, there was something against the Lakers and so the injured Heat team was about to become, not the team that led MVP Jiannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks back in the final lap.
James’ 10 championship win will cast doubt on how easy it was for him to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy. In 2007, the Spurs were only the third seed at the Western Conference, and Novicki (in the only MVP season) and the Mavericks, together with Steve Nash and Phoenix Sans, had the best results. Has the rivalry with these teams made James’ path to the title less difficult? Why didn’t Heath Kobe meet Bryant and the Lakers three times in 2011? This criticism will come as it did for the titles that James and his teams have won, not to mention the fact that they can only play with the teams and players that preceded them.
In addition to the question of which teams James encountered on the road to 10 titles, there is also the question of who his teammates were. He is already facing this problem, especially when his teammate makes a winning game. For example, why did Ray Allen take the match in triplicate and force him to move on to the 6th round of the final in 2013 for overtime? Why was the ball in the last minute of the 7th. The final of 2016 is in the hands of Kiri Irving and not James? Why did James miss his chance to win the series against Heath in the fifth game of this year’s finals, not to mention having to take out three defenders?
A hypothetical James Championship 2007 with the Cavaliers could have been most impressive, as he is only in his fourth season at the age of 22. His lineup with this team would be the least talented, and no other player averages more than 15 points, while Larry Hughes, Zidrunas Ilgauskas and Drew Gooden are the only players who have doubled the average. The same can be said of his title in 2015, when he ended the career of a thriving Warrior dynasty without All-Star teammates Irving and Kevin Love, who collapsed in the playoffs due to an injury.
In most of his last performances, including those lost, Lebron James played with his All Stars teammates, whether it was Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosch with Heath, Irving and Love in Cleveland or Davis with the Lakers. The ever-changing criteria he discussed in his position at Instagram could lead him to collaborate with other talented players and leave the Cavaliers to win more titles. Why didn’t he stay in Cleveland like Jordan in Chicago, not to mention the fact that the best player he played with in the cavalry teams of the 2000s was Ilgauska and Moe Williams.
But the biggest criticism that such an achievement can produce is the condition of the NBA itself and whether the level of talent is the same as in the early days of the competition. If Jacob managed to make his way through the rest of the competition to win ten titles, what does that mean for the rest of the competition? How is the game today compared to the time of Jordan and other players considered the best? Could James today have benefited from a freer playing style that puts more emphasis on filming? Would you win another 10 championships if you were in a more difficult and physically demanding period? That sounds like Stephen A. Smith from ESPN justified why James would never beat Jordan earlier this month when he described his time as the sweetest we’ve ever known.
Even if he had championship rings on all his fingers instead of four, the case of James would still be discussed as the most important of all. Some will still criticise him for what he didn’t do, whether it was winning all his titles in Cleveland, passing without the help of his All Stars teammates, or playing in another era rather than appreciating what he did.
It’s part of the job, chasing a ghost in Chicago. No one understands him better than Lebron James himself, who knows that even today some people dispute his claim as the greatest. What he can do is what he’s always done and what he did in the Lakers last season: use it as motivation to prepare for the next climb to the top of the NBA mountain.
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