Feels good to be the King doesn’t it?. Lebron James just won his 2nd straight NBA Championship and 2nd straight Finals MVP. Right now there is nobody better than him in the NBA period. He is where the conversation starts and finishes when talking about basketball. He’s getting all the accolades right now and deservedly so but it’s been a long road from Arkon, OH to 2x NBA Champion.
Lebron jumped straight from High School to the NBA and was selected #1 overall by the Cleveland Cavilers in 2003. He won the Rookie of the Yr that season and electrified crowds on a nightly basis. It wasn’t until 2005-2006 yr, that his Cavs made the playoffs but were sent packing by the Detroit Pistons. The next yr his team reached the NBA Finals but were swept 4-0 by the San Antonio Spurs. He really didn’t perform well during that series and the spurs frustrated him from start to finish. He won the MVP during the 2008-2009 season only to see Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic go on to to the NBA Finals. The next season Cleveland was sent home early in the 2nd rd by the Boston Celtics and it was the last time he would wear a Cavilers jersey.
On July 1, 2010 he became a free agent and was courted by several teams including the: Chicago Bulls, NY Knicks, Miami Heat, LA Clippers and Cleveland Cavs. A week later on July 8, 2010 Lebron ultimately made his ” Decision”. Lebron choose to take his talents to South Beach and join Dwanye Wade and Chris Bosh. They became the “Big 3″ and instantly drew criticism from left and right. You had scorned Cleveland Cavs holding up signs that said ” Lebrick”, “Lequit”. Some Cavs fans even burned their former Lebron jerseys. Lebron and the Miami Heat had instantly drew the ire of the sports world. Lebron himself was a villain to every basketball fan in every area except Miami’s.
During his first season in Miami (2010-2011) Lebron and the Heat made it to the NBA Finals but they lost to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in six games 4-2. During that series Lebron came up small in fourth quarter and received the brunt of the criticism that off-season. It seemed liked Lebron shied away from the spotlight causing his team to lose the biggest prize in the NBA.
In the Summer of 2011, he went to train with former 2x NBA Champ Hakeem Olajuwon. Right out the box we saw a more vicious and relentless Lebron James. He developed a post game, worked hard on his jump shot and became a better leader in the process. The road to winning a championship is never easy and the Boston Celtics stood in Miami’s way of heading back to the NBA Finals. In Game 6 with the Heat trailing 3-2 in the series. Lebron basically dominated the Celtics by himself, scoring 45 points and sending the series back to Miami for a Game 7. Lebron scored 31 points and collected 12 rebounds and Miami was headed back to the NBA Finals for a 2nd straight yr. They would meet Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder for the NBA Championship. This time Lebron didn’t come up small and didn’t let the moment get too bright for him. Miami knocked off OKC in five games 4-1. Lebron ended that season with the Regular Season MVP Award and NBA Finals MVP. Against OKC he averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game.
Miami entered this past season as the favorites to repeat as NBA Champions. Miami led the league in victories posting a 66-16 record. They easily dispatched the Milwaukee Bucks in four games. Beat the Chicago Bulls in five games 4-1. They were meet with a big time challenge by the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals and forced Miami to a GM 7. Lebron once again delivered when his team needed him the most. Scoring a game high 32 points and blowing out the Pacers 99-76.
Lebron’s Greatest test would be against Greg Popovich, Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs were that team who swept Lebron back in 2007 and made him look foolish. Through out the first three games of the series the Spurs held a 2-1 lead and it looked like Lebron was tentative and the Spurs were going to get the best of him again. In GM 4 Lebron finished with 33 points and 11 rebounds. The Heat lost in Gm 5 and just when it liked their season was going down the tubes James rescued them. He took over the game, scoring 32 points grabbing 11 rebounds and handing out 11 assists leading them to a 103-100 victory in Overtime. In Gm 7 he shinned the brightest, playing lock down defense on Spurs point guard Tony Parker and coming up with critical steal with the seconds ticking down on the clock. His jumper used to be a weakness but now its a strength. When the spurs would back up and let him shoot, he would kill them from the outside. When the Spurs crowded him, he would drive right by the defender and just be too big and strong. Lebron finished GM 7 with 37 points and Miami was again crowned NBA Champions. He finished the season taking home the regular season MVP and Finals MVP. During the Finals he scored 25.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists a game.
Right now at 28, Lebron James is the best basketball player on the face of the earth. Three years ago, he made the decision to head to Miami and join forces with Dwanye Wade and Chris Bosh. Three Years later, Two MVP’s, Two NBA Championships and Two Finals MVP’s. I think it’s safe to say Lebron made the right decision back in 2010. Lebron used to come up small in big spots but now he’s a clutch proven playoff performer that stands alone as the best. You may not like him or the way he went about leaving Cleveland. Just know that we are in the Lebron James era and we all should appreciate his greatness while we have the chance to watch him on a nightly basis.