The King has been Dethroned

 

We have known for a while, and if it wasn’t clear in June of last year, it can’t be denied now.  After the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas, the first thing the self proclaimed “best player in the world” did was complain about a no call at the end of the game.  Let me be absolutely clear before I go any further: I think LeBron James is a surefire hall of fame player, and without question statistically the most dominate player this league has ever seen in it’s soon to be 72 year history.

But I can’t buy into the argument that he is the best player in the NBA right now.  That title goes to either Kevin Durant or Stephen Curry depending on who is more dominant that night.  Now before the internet tells me how wrong I am, let me point out the opposing argument to see if I’m on the right track.  “But we’re talking about LeBron, look at all the statistical numbers! He pulled off the greatest comeback in NBA history, therefore he has to be the greatest player, end of story.”  Sound about right? All that is, is living in the past.

LeBron’s fans can’t accept the fact that he isn’t the best of all time, (but they can burn jersey’s, then act like they didn’t do that and never gave up their season tickets while he was gone in Miami). Let me present you with some real statistics that LeBron, no matter what he does, will never escape from. The most glaring stat is 3-5 in the NBA Finals.  Tell me the last time Michael Jordan lost an NBA Finals. I’ll wait. People hate this argument. It’s valid because there’s always the people that say, “but players are judged on more than just rings.” Before LeBron came along, did any conversation about Jordan start with anything other than 6 rings or how clutch he was? And everyone accepted that argument, it’s only after LeBron comes along that people say, “WAIT, that’s not fair!” No, it is. It if wasn’t for a miracle three by Ray Allen and a decision by the league office in 2016, LeBron would be 1-7, but I digress.  He earned those titles and has an accurate Finals record at 3-5.  If a King went to war 8 times and won 3, would he still be a King. If a self proclaimed genius took 8 IQ tests and failed 5 of them, would he still be a genius?  Would we judge any person in any profession with that record when it matters most as being the best in their field?  No. So why do we give that title to LeBron?  There is some room, if he was 6-2, maybe even 5-3, you might be able to make that argument.  He’s not the greatest player in NBA history because when it mattered most, LeBron needed Ray Allen, Kyrie Irving, or the league office, to make a play for him.

Now, Kevin Durant on the other hand is set up with the Warriors to make a Chicago Bulls type of run.  We have seen LeBron vs. Durant. Guess what? Durant wins. He just needed a system where he could thrive.  It was tougher when he had a teammate who just wanted to fill that stat sheet, take 30 shots, make 10 of them, but hey it doesn’t matter if you lose if you get a triple double right?

The 2017 NBA Finals were when the torch was passed. Durant averaged more points, more blocks, a better shooting percentage inside and out, but the most important moment came in game 3, with time winding down and the Warriors down by 2, Durant pulled up in the face of the King and delivered a dagger that would eventually doom the Cavaliers to another NBA finals loss, this time in 5 games. And as the confetti rained down in Oakland, and the Warriors celebrated, James took that long walk too the locker room.  He had been beaten, with a completely healthy team, no suspensions, no excuses.  And so we fast forward to yesterday, in front of the entire country, James plays his worse game of the year, and his reaction? Complain about the referees.

Does that sound like the best player in the world? You be the judge.

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