There was a point Tuesday night where for a brief moment I had become a Cleveland Cavaliers fan.
I watched that pathetic performance all night without interest simply because I could care less about the Cavs. I cracked light-hearted jokes with my buddy Will about how Rajon Rondo had Mo Williams “on skates” as we say (even at one point calling him Movechkin, that has a better parallel than Will or I could have ever imagined). I held in a laugh as Cleveland fans sat mortified at the sight of their team tanking… wait a minute, not tanking… SH***** the bed… no wait… F***** up… yeah, that works. I watched my buddy Will go from into the game, to mad, to depressed, to just… just.
For a point I got a little salty towards coach Mike Brown (who coached absolutely the worst in a playoff scenario since Kevin Gilbride’s offensive play calling for the Giants last year against the Eagles) who absolutely refused to understand that his best lineup was Delonte West-Lebron James-Antawn Jamison-Anderson Varejao-JJ Hickson, who gave Danny Gibson minutes when he hasn’t made so much as a scratch on that team since he got Keishia Cole pregnant, and who overreacted to Rondo’s huge game and put Lebron on Rondo in game 5.
Then it happened, I got mad. Mad at a team that meant nothing to me, but more so towards a player that had “lived” up to all of his hype and had perched himself on top of the heap of the NBA as its best player. I got fed up with Lebron James.
I watched Lebron run and hide from the bullies that were the Boston Celtics like a first-grader running from a bully on a school yard. I watched him look dazed and confused like a punch-drunk prize fighter. He looked more like Roberto Duran than Muhammad Ali. I saw him pass up open threes to pass to Anthony Parker who chucked up ill-advised shots with Ray Allen in his face. The final straw was the look on his face on the bench. It was the same look I had on my face as freshman in college taking a psychology 101 exam. Lost.
That performance was something I had never seen from a superstar of his caliber from Shaquille O’Neal in his prime, to Michael Jordan, to Tom Brady, to no one. The man that they call The King became a pauper. He wasn’t worthy of that title, not after that game or game 6. He wasn’t worthy of being of mentioned in the same breath of the greats in the NBA. The Jordan comparisons? Stop. Better than Kobe? Please. Kobe Bryant pretty much could drive up to the front of ESPN’s door and just park in front and just stare at everyone and say “who’s better?” get into his car a drive away to his fifth title. You know why? Because not one of those players, at this juncture of the season would in any way shape form or fashion would ever, EVER let their team just give up or play scared in such a big game in that scenario. Lebron however did the opposite.
Could you imagine Michael Jordan just running and hiding in the third quarter of a playoff game with his team down? HELL NO. he would’ve gone down swinging. Lebron went down whimpering. 0-5 in the first half, didn’t hit his first shot until 6 minutes left in the third quarter, never drove to the lane, which he can do at any time anyplace anywhere. His final line 15 points, 7 assists, 3-14 shooting, three turnovers, Boston 120 Cleveland 88. That was it.
Lebron supporters say that his elbow was still injured so its affecting his jumper, it looked pretty fine in games one, three and four. Besides, that elbow looked good enough to drive to into the lane a few times and slam home a few dunks. Some will say it’s a bad game that it happens… not this late in the season, in the postseason when your team needs you most. When your back is against the wall and your season is pretty much on the line you don’t have bad games. Kobe didn’t have one last year when he had an injured shooting finger, Jordan had the Flu… dropped 38 and won game 5 in Utah, Steve Nash could only see out of one eye 20 points 9 dimes and a Spurs killing game three win this year. If you truly want to win and it’s the most important thing to you as you say it is then nothing is an obstacle.
To me for Lebron to make up for that loss he would have had to score 50 points and carry the Cavs to a victory last night in Boston. He would’ve had to put the team on his back and carry them like his idols and the best in their respected games, instead he had a ho hum triple-double 27/19/10 and once again he settled for jumpers, deferred to teammates and only attacked with less than 3 minutes left and the Celtics up by double digits. The king wilted, and once again showed no emotion and seemed to care less.
After the game the speculation began about Lebron’s future, he was passive as usual, cliché in his words and walked off. Oh yes that lovely speculation that Lebron has deferred yet secretly is in love with.
First of all let’s make this clear, he aint coming back to Cleveland, not with that team. As much as a blame Lebron for this letdown for the second straight year, it aint all him. This is the most overhyped, overrated, terrible team in the league. They’re a fraud. 61 wins for a team that without Lebron doing everything for them would be a 35 win team. Don’t believe me? Here’s what I realized last night:
At one point there was a five of the floor of James-Williams-Varejao-Z-Parker, think about this for a minute; two spot up shooters, an energy guy with no offensive prowess and a 7 footer who is 15 foot jump shooter. Now think about the rest of the team, THAT’S THE TEAM!!! Nobody but Lebron can get their own shot, make their own offense or doing anything remotely well without Lebron holding their hand. When Dan Gilbert came out and said he’s done everything to make the Cavs better I can’t agree with that. It’s a team of cast-offs, third bananas and Superman. You can’t win a title with this team and that’s why you’re at home right now.
That’s why Lebron is leaving, and being a Knicks fan let be very clear when I say this, I DON’T WANT LEBRON ON MY TEAM! It was fun for months to joke with Cavs fans about how Lebron is going to New York and win tons of titles. That won’t happen. Not with Bron Bron. If Lebron played like he played in the last two games of this series, in New York, IN DECEMBER… he will get worse treatment than what he got in game 5. The media is more intense, the pressure is epic and Lebron James in my opinion can’t handle it.
He knew his team wasn’t that good but he never took initiative, never grabbed Mo by the throat and told him to get his head out of his rear, never took over the game when he needed to, and could. He’s not the player we all have think that we have “Witnessed.” He’s a highlight reel; he’s basketball’s Dan Marino. Keep in mind that Marino made a title run early in his career and never got back even though his numbers we’re Madden-esque. Sound Familiar?
Lebron can do whatever he wants, whenever, however he wants. There’s a reason Cavs announcer Austin Carr calls him the L-Train and not just because it sounds good. It’s because when he is rolling down the lane, all 6’9 265 of him, not even Iron Man can stop him. He’s a monster, he’s Donkey Kong, but in big game situations he plays like Diddy Kong. If you’re a team investing possibly 120 million dollars into a guy that you want to lead you to a title is that a characteristic that you want from someone you look towards to lead you to a title?
In 2007 he pulled off one of the greatest single-handed comebacks ever when he scored 25 consecutive points and beat Detroit on the floor and in their heads. That game in hindsight was nothing more than a tease as we’ve come to see. That’s not Lebron’s game. That killer instinct attempts to come out but it can’t. Lebron is a complementary star player, and these last 72 hours prove that.
The sad part about it is I actually feel bad for Cleveland fans. Cleveland fans can be blowhards but they’re not used to winning. They thought they found basketball’s Jesus in Akron and he would lead them to sports heaven out of their John Elway and Craig Counsell induced hell. They got the dunks, the sneak from behind blocks, every sportscenter worthy moment that they ever hoped and dreamed for… and it’s all a big glitzy mirage.
Lebron’s no show and show of disinterest and lack of caring put Cleveland back in their old neighborhood that they are so used to. They put the end of this series next to “The Fumble”, “The Drive”, Jose Mesa and every other bad thing that has happened to them since Jim Brown last lead them to a championship in 1964. If or when he leaves Cleveland basketball will once again be on the back burner, nothing like the pop culture smorgasbord it is right now. And Lebron killed it Starting Tuesday night and concluding Thursday night.
Wherever he goes Lebron will have a huge cloud hanging over his head. His crown now holds a handsome amount of rust from letting the pressure and stress hold him down. Lebron James will be coveted, but at a price. Chicago will tempt him as will New York, New Jersey and Miami. He will be touted as a savior, a deity and the key to a title. Do you really wasn’t the truth about Lebron James? Turn on games 5 and 6 and watch the king cower before his court and run from danger. 20,000 Ohioans at the Q and much more around bars and in homes did, we all were Witnesses.