My, oh my, aren’t we an accommodating bunch.
LeBron James just lost for the fifth time in his eighth trip to the NBA Finals for his career. Of significant note, it was his seventh Finals appearance in a row. And though this latest loss doesn’t mean he’s not the most complete, powerful, smart, once-in-a-lifetime, beast of a basketball player we say he is, it definitely means something.
For many of the talking heads–fans and media alike–that something means big trouble for the NBA when looking at the prospect of the 2017 champion Golden State Warriors becoming the 2018, ’19 and ’20 champions. Somehow in a league that built its fortune and fame around Russell and Red Auerbach’s Celtics, Magic’s Lakers, Bird’s Celtics, Jordan’s Bulls, Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers, Tim Duncan and Pop’s Spurs, there’s something really wrong with a team looking unbeatable and poised to repeat.
The hypocrisy doesn’t stop there. The driving factor behind our discomfort with this possibility seems to be the fact that, sadly, it might mean that the best player in the world will continue to lose in the Finals for the foreseeable future. And apparently, that’s a tragedy.
Never mind that said best player once promised the good people of Miami and bragged to all of us that he would win “not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4” and so-on-and-so-forth and what-have-you championships when he joined the Heat back in 2011. There wasn’t much grieving over the potential loss of parity in the NBA back then. Of course not, not with James as the moment’s puppet master.
It’s the fact that James is so amazing that makes us want to bend over backwards to shape the narrative in his favor. His haters will say that the crown is too heavy for him or never should have been given to him in the first place. The reality is, though, that his rare gifts are befitting of royalty and throughout history, the masses have long been conditioned to stand in service to ‘The King.’
How else to explain the fact that after years of praising Michael Jordan for never losing in an NBA Finals while penalizing Kobe Bryant for having done so, we now choose to place more emphasis on James’ Finals appearance streak than his record in them? Or justify the years of heartache we gave Bryant for not trusting his teammates enough to now wishing that James wouldn’t trust his teammates so much? And how do we still say James makes players better when it’s for more likely he renders them invisible? Whatever you may think of Chris Bosh’s crocodile tears and Kevin Love’s lacking defense, they suffered cruel fates in partnership with James. The conversations about them went from them being players you could build teams around to players might cost James his glory.
Speaking of which, how else could James have had the audacity to say at the podium on the night of yet another Finals loss that he was never a part of a super team and, in nearly the same breath, fix his mouth to throw subtle jabs at Kevin Durant for joining the one that has been “assembled” in Oakland.
He knows that’s not fair or true, but he knows that for him, we’ll make it fair and true.
And the least athletic among us will jump through the highest hoop to do so since every King’s story deserves a fairy tale ending.
What do you think about The King? Let us know in the comments section, and be sure to enjoy yourself and kick back at Red Flush casino games. They have hundreds of games to choose from at Red Flush, so be sure to take a look at their selection for life after the NBA season.
I once ran a 6 and a half-minute mile. So, there’s that.