After nine seasons and two failed attempts in the NBA Finals, LeBron James finally got his ring.
Several other players on the team, including Chris Bosh, Shane Battier, Juwan Howard, and Mike Miller, were first-timers as well, but let’s be honest, this Finals series was all about LBJ23, King James, The Chosen One.
While his basketball abilities wouldn’t have tanked, his legacy in terms of “greatness” – winning championships – would have taken a serious hit.
Ever since he entered the Association, the pressure was on him to win it all, and win it now. Well, he finally has one after nine grueling years of taunting, he can join the ranks of those who have helped their team complete the gauntlet that is the NBA Playoffs.
Unfortunately for James, it probably won’t change opinions of him.
If the Heat had lost this series, it would’ve been further proof that he can’t lead his team to the “big win,” like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, or Kobe Bryant have done in their careers. It would reinforce the perception that he is just a skilled player who can’t come through in the clutch.
Since the Heat did win, many people see this title as tainted, in the sense that it took two other superstars – Bosh and Dwyane Wade – to get it done. I think a championship is a championship, but I can see where they’re coming from. Jordan may have had one of the greatest complimentary players of all-time with him (Scottie Pippen), but at least the team actually drafted him.
I think that’s a fair argument, but it doesn’t really change the fact that the Heat are the 2012 NBA Champions. Personally, it kind of hurts me to have to write that, but it’s the truth. At the end of his career, he can finally say that he won a title.
I still feel that the way he went about his free agency (“The Decision,”? C’mon, man.) is the main reason as to why he has so many detractors. Him winning this title won’t erase any bad feelings in their minds, especially in Cleveland. Whether this is his lone title, or he goes on to win 5 or 6, he will likely always be the villain.