Thursday, March 8, 2012

Confessions of a LeBron-Hater

This confession comes with the bitterest of tastes in my mouth....

It also has been years in the making....


(longer, prolonged sigh....)

Lebron is the best basketball player on the planet since MJ, he is BY FAR the best player in the league right now, (cut to Kobe fans loading their weapons...). This fact has been sitting in the back of my head for some time now, eventually I knew I would have to accept it, but my long-tenured hatred of LBJ and overwhelming pride in that hatred had kept me from admitting the truth. I must defend myself first by stating that I have been a LeBron hater since he entered the league, solely because of my affection for the Nuggets and Carmelo. They entered the league together and battled for the rookie of the year with LeBron (rightfully) edging out Melo. Ever since that season I have rooted against Lebron with a passion that is unrivaled towards any other player...even Manu Ginobli....and I freaking HATE that guy.

(additional time-buying sigh....)

That being said what LeBron has be doing this year is simply astounding and deserves praise. Just look at his stats: (27.7 pts / 6.7 ast / 8.4 reb), he's shooting 55.5% from the field (4.5% better than his career best), all while playing 37 minutes per game. Those stats alone are enough to amaze any basketball fan, but consider this: LeBron is THE REASON Miami has been playing defense at the level they have been playing this season, he is THE REASON players like Joel Anthony are able to start for a championship caliber team, he is THE REASON why Miami is the best team in the league and if you even think for a second that he isn't the MVP name one other player who affects the game more on both ends of the floor....(go ahead...I'm ignoring any of you currently saying Kevin Durant or Kobe, remember the MVP is Most valuable player, not the scoring title).

Before you say it, yes I understand that the Heat have Wade and Bosh, but LeBron is the heart and soul of that team on defense, he defends every position on the floor and is probably the best perimeter defender and the second best interior defender in the league behind Howard. And he has to be, watch any Miami game and you'll see it...they have the smallest front court in the league with Bosh and Anthony, Bosh is a finesse player who struggles against larger big men, and Anthony is only 6' 8". LeBron plays his ass off on every defensive possession, guarding his man, playing help D in the lane, stealing passes, there aren't 10 other guys in the league that play defense at 100%. So when the subject of his "clutch-gene" is brought up I take issue with it because the by the end of the game the guy is SPENT, he has just spent 40 minutes playing the role of defensive stopper against the other team's best wing player, help defender in the lane, playing point guard and creating offense, scoring almost 28 and snatching 8 rebounds, by the time the end of the 4th quarter hits, he's dead, he's the reason that his team is even in the game at that point! What has become obvious to me over this season is LeBron is the reason Miami can build leads and close leads throughout the game, he is their best offensive player, best defensive player, best rebounder, best distributor, best help defender and most efficient scoring option, and with all that being the case why is it necessary for him to also assume the role of closer? Dwayne Wade has a championship ring, he has a Finals MVP trophy, he has the ability to shut games down that LeBron has yet to display at this point in his career, so its obvious to me that Wade should be taking the ball and the responsibility and saying to LeBron, "you got us this far, I'll finish it". LeBron is like an ace starting pitcher who can consistently take you 8 innings deep into a game, who also hits .300 with 100 RBIs, if he also is saddled with the responsibility of closing games then his situation goes right back to what it was in Cleveland, a transcendent player with pieces that cant get it done. At some point Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh need to step up their game in crunch time and take the weight off of James.

That being said....I remain a hater.

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