NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Stop Taking LeBron James for Granted

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LeBron James backing down Demarre Carrol of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by: Cleveland Cavaliers AP )

Louisville, KY May 26, 2015 (Analyzed Sports)

Being A Witness to LeBron’s Greatness

At nearly 22 years old, I never got to see the “Jordan era”, that a lot of sports writers have gotten the chance to see. When Michael Jordan won his sixth NBA championship with the Chicago Bulls in 1998 I was only five years old. That being said, all I have his video highlights and opinions from my superiors about the greatness of Michael Jordan. However I did grow in a basketball era in which I witnessed great players like Shaq, Kobe, Allen Iverson, and even another unappreciated superstar in Tim Duncan. Although all of those guys were/are great players none of those players have had the journey that LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers has had in the NBA. Also you could make the case that besides Tim Duncan none of those players are more unappreciated than LeBron James.

Now a lot of people are going to say Charron what are you talking about, LeBron’s every move is on Sports Center each day! Well to those people I say think about the road LeBron James has had in the NBA. In 2003 LeBron  was selected as the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft to the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team close to Akron (OH) where he grew up. At the time my favorite players of the early 2000’s were Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson so I wasn’t sold like everyone else around me was on LeBron being great. Then finally in 2007 when I watched him build confidence in a player like Mo Williams, who hasn’t been an All-Star after playing without LeBron, I started saying maybe this guy is that good.

A lot of people who only remember the LeBron James in Miami need to go watch some tape of LeBron James from 2007. This guy led a team with players like Eric Snow, Larry Hughes, Anderson Varaejo, Daniel Gibson, and David Welsey all the way to the NBA Finals. Of course the “Lebron Haters” will say didn’t that team get swept in the NBA Finals? Well there’s no denying that, but keep in mind that they got swept by a San Antonio Spurs team with a Manu Ginobli in his prime, a Tim Duncan in his prime, and an even younger Tony Parker. Also remember that the only other player besides LeBron who was an All-Star on that Cavs team was Mo Williams, and you need way more than that to beat the Spurs. However let’s not overlook the fact that the Cavs didn’t even make it to the NBA playoffs from 2011-2014, or in other words while LeBron James wasn’t on the roster.

So let’s fast forward to that decision back in 2010, when LeBron chose to join forces with both All-Stars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami to play for the Heat. I will admit at the time I hated the decision because it meant the Eastern conference wouldn’t be balanced anymore and that the Heat would probably be able to win championships almost each year. However looking back at it now I think of LeBron as being “selfless” to go to Miami and take a pay cut just so he could win more than anything. Let’s face it the other Big Three of Boston in Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who also joined forces, would have more rings if it weren’t for LeBron making the move to Miami. LeBron ended his four years with the Heat collecting two NBA Finals MVPs, two NBA regular season MVPs, four straight NBA Eastern Conference championships, and two NBA championships. Still a lot of basketball analysts would argue since he “jumped ship” to win and that those achievements are partly in vain, but what about players like KG, Ray Allen, Kareem Abdul- Jabbar, Shaq, Pau Gasol, and others who did the same to win a title?

I guess LeBron felt the same way too about his move to Miami, thus shocking the sports world again with his “I’m Coming Home” interview. In the summer of last year LeBron James decided that he was done with Miami and needed to go back to the Cleveland Cavaliers for more reasons than one. Then LeBron got a former All-Star in Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves to join him and Cleveland’s All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to construct a “New Big Three” for the Cavaliers . So this All-Star trio of James, Love, and Kyrie quickly became to many basketball analysts the favorite to win the 2015 NBA Finals before the season even began. However Kevin Love was injured in Game 6 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs and Kyrie Irving has battled a left knee injury. So what happened to those NBA championship aspirations, nothing they stayed the same because of ….(click video to find out)

With Kyrie Irving injured  LeBron James has taken his game to another level in the Eastern Conference Finals. In Game one James had 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while making 7-8 of his free throw attempts. Most of LeBron’s passes went to Cavalier’s guard JR Smith who shot an amazing  8-12 from the three-point line in game one, leading the Cavs to a 97-89 victory in Atlanta against the Hawks. LeBron then went on to have 31 points, six assists, and eight rebounds to lead the Cavs to another win in Atlanta. Lastly there was his game three performance on Sunday in which he shot the ball at a career high 37 times, making just 14 of his shot attempts. However he still ended with 37 points, 13 assists, and 18 rebounds, something that has NEVER been done in an NBA game!

So just when I thought I had seen the best of LeBron James from his days in Miami and even earlier in his career in Cleveland, he makes more history! Although a lot of basketball analysts are starting to lean more to this year’s MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, let’s not overlook the fantastic play of LeBron James. Also let’s not overlook the fact that throughout his career he has pushed some of his teammates to play at levels in which they haven’t played at on other teams. The greatness of LeBron James is something that we all should take a step back as sports fans and just appreciate.

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