Game 5 To Dallas; Where Is The King?
It is a simultaneously glorious and ghastly time for basketball enthusiasts. While this 2011 Finals appears destined to be remembered among the all-time great championship series, we are also witnessing pre-ordained Next Great One LeBron James very really shrinking in the moment and wilting in the spotlight.
Yes he had a triple double in the Game 5 loss to Dallas. Guess what? Last night was not the time for ancillary stats. It was LeBron’s time to dominate. With Dwyane Wade injured, with the lead in the series on the line, with his basketball legacy hanging in the balance, LeBron did not do what Magic, Bird, Kobe, or Michael would have done. Instead, LeBron turned in a performance worthy of Lamar Odom.
Now, Lamar is a fine professional, and a 2-time champion. This is no slight on Mr. Odom. But still.
Hoops fans: We may have been sold a bill of goods on LeBron. No, it’s not fair to hold him to the highest standards of the sport. Without the Jordan/Kobe comparisons, LeBron is a great pro and a legitimate star.
But LeBron has insisted that we judge him in this way – that we contrast him against the all-time greats – and we have gone along with it. Now, in the exact moment where he can ascend to Hoops Olympus, he’s hiding in plain sight on the basketball floor.