We all hate LeBron James. At least that is what ESPN believes and that is what they want us (the fans) to believe.
We all want him to fail, so we can feel better about our boring lives.
We despise him for The Decision and for arrogantly predicting that the Heat will win not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not even seven NBA championships.
We grow weary of being reminded that he is The Chosen One and the self-proclaimed King James.
But the truth is, we really don’t hate James. We don’t want to watch him fail, unlike last year when many of us salivated at his shortcomings. We have grown to appreciate him for his talents and we quietly want to remind him of his good efforts and that he does a good job on a nightly basis.
We enjoy his ability to dominate on both ends of the ball and are grateful that he is the first one back in the huddle and won’t talk back to his coach – unlike some of his teammates (i.e. Dwyane Wade).
We have also accepted him for what he is, pound for pound the best player in the NBA.
He possesses the ballhandling skills and speed of a point guard, rebounding ability and size of a power forward and is still arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA.
And while ESPN may never admit it nor will they acknowledged it, but we (the fans) have accepted the facts that James will never become Michael Jordan, maybe not even Kobe Bryant. While he is more talented than both, he lacks the alpha male mentality and the killer instinct that separated both players from their peers.
It isn’t a bad thing, Magic Johnson didn’t possess those qualities but still is regarded as one of the best player of all-time. James can follow suite and fulfill his place in history. If he can guide the Heat to an NBA Title with his unselfishness and teamliness it would be special. But it will never be Jordanesque. Period.
It’s even fools gold to ever consider the Heat as the best squad of all-time. They may be the most controversial team of all time, but are far from the best.
Two seasons after putting the Big Three together the Heat are still without a ring. They still haven’t had the best regular-season record, not even the best record in their conference. They even haven’t dominated their opponents in the playoffs. Last year they cruised through the Eastern Conference playoffs, losing only three games (going 12-3) before losing to the Dallas Mavericks in six games in the NBA Finals.
This season, they allowed the lowly New York Knicks to win a game in the opening round. And with the help of the officials, they were able to beat the Indiana Pacers in six games before letting the old, but experienced, Boston Celtics take them to seven games.
Miami has had some miraculous comebacks, but the team from South Beach just refuses to keep the foot on the peddle. Allowing the Pacers to steal one in Miami in the second round and letting the overachieving Celtics stick around for Game 7.
The Heat are who they are, and as much as we root for/against them it’s not going to change their legacy. It’s not going to change the fact that they are one of the best teams in the NBA – but not one of the best in history.