Monday, May 15, 2017

In Which I Begrudgingly Defend Lebron James

2017 is weird. We have a reality show host as president, the Chocolate Puma is a father, and most improbable of all I am going to defend Lebron James. I know, I’m just as shocked as you are. For the record, no one has been as petty and a hater to Lebron as much as I have.
When he spurned the Bulls I reveled in every loss the “Heatles” experienced. But during his time in Miami something happened…I began to actually see his greatness. Like I knew he was an amazing player, but I began to truly appreciate what we were living through. Now this isn’t to say that I think he is the greatest to ever do it, but I will say he is the greatest of his era. 

But Puma, you may say, back in my day guys didn’t take breaks, they played every game. Well even with LeBron taking a game off here and there over the last two seasons, over his 13 seasons he has played 1,061 games. Michael Jordan by comparison in 13 seasons with the Bulls played in 930 games. Not to mention he has played in 6 consecutive NBA finals and participated in the Olympics essentially giving him a year round schedule. 

“Puma, back in my day, guys didn’t form super teams!” Not so fast on that on champ. That ignores the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, and Philadelphia 76ers…and that’s just from the 80s! The best players always have a way of ending up on the same team.
Pat Riley leads a scrappy group of under dogs.
The only difference is now the players are deciding where and who they want to play with and not the teams making that decision. 

Alright fine, he's good you may be thinking, but the league was more competitive back in the day you may counter with proudly. Good retort but a common misconception. The majority of all NBA championships since it's inception in 1947 have gone to 4 franchises, the Boston Celtics, LA Lakers, Chicago Bulls, and San Antonio Spurs. In fact there has only been one decade in which there was true parity, the 1970s, where 8 different teams hoisted the championship. 

And I already know what's coming next, but he lost in the finals, Jordan never lost in the finals! That is true. But that in itself is the anomaly. Every other hall of fame champion has losses in the Finals. Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan, Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, all of them lost a championship. That fact doesn't diminish their greatness, so we shouldn't hold LeBron to a higher standard. 

So I'm sure I'll get called all kinds of a stan for recognizing statistically something very special and so be it. I'm not ready to call him the GOAT, not sure I'll ever get there, but I have no problem firmly placing him in the top 3 of all time. If for nothing else this damn chase down block. I mean...come on. This is like a damn video game play. 

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