LeBron’s Legacy? Career Of Relentless Referenda

 

MIAMI – So now there’s a headband to throw into the equation, to factor into LeBron James‘ production and psyche, maybe to mark time against for everything LeBronesque before and after.

Up until that moment in the frantic fourth quarter Tuesday when James went hard to basket and emerged without that sweaty swatch of elasticized terry cloth, the world could only judge him, evaluate him, criticize him and decree his legacy as with the headband.

Now suddenly there was a brand new opportunity. To judge him, evaluate him, criticize him and decree his legacy without the headband.

Ooh, imagine the advanced-analytics possibilities. The re-re-defining of his “clutch” gear, based on his ability to withstand all the previous pressures along with new scrutiny of the man’s unusual on-court look and freshly exposed retreating hairline.

“I’ve never seen him play without his headband that long, since his rookie year,” said teammate Dwyane Wade, a fashion maven known to wear tangerine trousers and man capris.

Inevitably, the statistical breakdowns came: 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting with the headband, 12 points on 5-of-11 without it. Pro-rated out to 36 minutes, James …

Enough.

It is silly. It is over the top.

It is unfair.

Every game, every quarter, every possession cannot be a referendum on James’ career. Well, OK, it can be, but going that route will only say profound things about the electorate, not the certain Hall of Famer and already all-time great drawing the endless and ever-changing “yeas” and “nays.”

It should have stopped last June, after James and the Miami Heat won the championship that took them – gasp! – two years rather than one. It should have stopped with the Finals MVP trophy he cradled along with the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the post-Game 5 celebration last June.

It surely should have stopped when he and the rest of Team USA took care of Olympic business in London. Or when he led the Heat through their 27-game winning streak this season. Or when he swamped the MVP balloting, snagging his fourth Podoloff.

But no, he is only as good or as bad as whatever particular sample size a critic or an advocate chooses to select. James is judged and surmised and assessed as a work in progress like no other player in NBA history, arguably, the rush to pronouncements and conclusions coming faster than he can complete a round-trip downcourt.

“I always kind of focus on the present,” James said a couple days ago.

Too many of his witnesses focus on the forever, reaching for legacy and wishing this was some sort of book so they could cheat and flip to the back pages. They’re not content just to write or give oral testimony for the first drafts of history, either. No, it’s all about chiseling the final edit now, while he’s still working on things.

As if that ever works. How would the world think of Churchill if his story were written in the 1930s, during his “wilderness years” in exile from British politics before World War II? What would the experts have decided had they walked in on Picasso in mid-canvas, before he’d decided that two eyes can go on one side of the head?

Meeting every challenge all at once is impossible. Even agreeing on every challenge – be Michael, be Magic, win rings, stay loyal to your roots, carry the team, make those guys better – is a long shot.

And still it comes. The Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Web site carried a column Wednesday by veteran scribe Bill Livingston headlined, “LeBron James has a long way to go in establishing a great NBA Finals legacy, regardless of what happens in Game 7.” It read in part:

Ten years, and still no defined legacy. What’s a global icon to do?

And:

James has more of the baubles of greatness than anyone playing now in his four Most Valuable Player awards. It is a regular-season honor, which is meant to show that such tedium does so mean something. James enjoys, even revels in, global fame and scrutiny. Attention for James is what stats were for [Wilt] Chamberlain. He can’t live without it.

Granted, this is Cleveland, the jilted lover with the haunted heart. But c’mon, it’s an old trope that ranges somewhere between incomplete and dishonest, this sense that James still has much to prove and can be redefined on a moment’s notice as befits an audience as small as one.

Anyone trying to do that through Game 6 would have been caught in multiple contradictions, circling back on oneself to revise the revisions.

In yet another biggest game of his life, Miami’s season on the brink, James was 3-of-12 for a modest 14 points through three quarters (bum). In the fourth quarter he grabbed his Heat teammates by the scruffs of their necks, scored 16 points and breathed life back into their quest to repeat (god). He missed jumpers and let Boris Diaw puzzle him (bum), accounted for nine points in an 11-3 run with field goals or assists (god), threw the ball away twice in the last minute (bum), missed a 3-pointer (bum), hit one (god) and missed one (bum).

Dizzy yet?

When the smoke cleared and the Miami (cough) fans who missed the finish were shooed away from the “No Re-Entry” signs for the last time, James had 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, and as the folks at Elias reported it, joined only Bill Russell (1962) and James Worthy (1988) in posting a triple-double in a game that staved off elimination.

“An absolute desperation and will,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “To do it on both ends – obviously, he had an extremely tough cover with [Spurs point guard Tony] Parker, making every play for us, really aggressive, able to get into the paint. But just gave us that life when we were down by 10.”

Said Tim Duncan: “He kind of willed it.”

It’s what he does. It’s what he has done. It should be enough by now. But the sports world has James pinned down under the microscope slide and it’s not letting up.

Even after Ray Allen‘s remarkable 3-pointer sent Game 6 into overtime – it’s what he does – there were those wondering about James’ screaming for the basketball, way out top, eager for the shot. Please.

“Everything we do starts with him,” Allen said. “If he has great energy, if he has bad energy, we feel it, the rest of the team. I always try to make sure … he understands how his aura, his energy, has an effect on the rest of the team. And we always need it to be great energy.

“So it’s a terrible burden, but for one guy, he has to make sure that he always keeps the energy and that positivity flowing in the right direction. Because we do all follow suit.”

As Tuesday turned to Wednesday, James rightfully got credit from those who were honest for seizing the game he and his team dared not lose. Yet he’ll go through it all again in Game 7 Thursday, more so if Miami loses its next game but even if it wins.

There will be a silly headband watch, no doubt – Will he wear one? If he does, might he doff it? – and it will mean exactly as much as those focusing on it want it to mean.

It’s the way of James and the life critics have chosen for him.

139 Comments

  1. CRYBABYLEBRON says:

    Lebron James is the biggest CRYBABY in NBA history. Talking (crying) to the referees every time they blow the whistle against him. You never saw that from real NBA superstars. This is just good advertising…. Magic, Bird and Jordan they made their careers playing. Jordan was advertised but right after he earned it. Since Michael Jordan retirement the league has been looking desperately for a substitute guy promoting almost everyone who came out as the “next MJ”. Ask Grant Hill, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and even Kobe Bryant (who has been the closest). LB is a very good player but he is never going to be close to Mike simply because he was a winner in true nature. He didnt have to made an agreement with his rivals in the other teams to finally win a Championship. Sadly LBJ lost shine by not being able to wait on the pressure put on him and take the easy way out to win a championship.

  2. spawn says:

    did any1 noticed coach pop illegal substitution in game 6 after allen’s trey? now that’s pulling a quick one. sadly the officials noticed it when the game is over.

  3. engin says:

    Ok you see him taking three steps but it is because he cannot shoot it as he is fauled. Faul starts right as he takes his first step and continues till his third. Just think please there are three miami hands trying to reach in for the ball. Are they all touching the ball. Come on you know the answer

  4. Angel says:

    I’m goin for Miami

  5. Jay says:

    Lebron will go down as one if the greats in NBA but his legacy has just begun To write itself.he his the most dominate player and will eventually win more titles if he has the right players on his team so stop talking about Kobe and the rest they all had help even mj.. There are to many haters when all lebron does is play ball and set a great example to young kids his a real role modle unlike other pros!!!!

  6. Mike L says:

    Enough with the LeBron and Jordan comparisons. I don’t ever want to hear LeBron mentioned in the same sentence with Jordan, or Magic, Bird, Kobe, Kareem, and others. Sure LeBron hit a three to help Miami into OT, but the last two drives to the basket were so poor and clumsey. Jordan never wilted under pressure, never. You can say the same for the other players I mentioned. LeBron is one heck of a player, but when it comes to pressure he does not belong in the upper echelon of all-time players. He proved that 2 years ago vs Dallas, and he has proved it more than once in this series against San Antonio.

  7. Josh says:

    Lebron is a great and maybe the best player in this league along with rondo simply because what they bring to the game. When you get triple-doubles it shows that you where in all facets of the game and Lebron James has a number of them this post-season alone.

  8. Joey says:

    He is a great basketball player, one if the best ever. That being said, i hate him as a person. King james? Really? How could he call himself king james? At the time he had no rings. He had to go to miami to win. Everytine thy loose he blames te refs or someone else, cries in the locker room. Doesnt sound very king like to me.

  9. NBAfan says:

    Bosh was key. Allen was key. Where’s the love guys? This is basketball…not the Lebron show…

    Lebron has critics/haters the same reason everybody hates Kobe and the Lakers…

    For every action, there’s a reaction, so die-hard Lebron fans are just as to blame as his die-hard critics…

    Lebron is great, but he’s not bigger than basketball…no player is, not even MJ.

    Lets watch a game 7 in basketball between two teams who have fought hard for it so far. The game is gonna be fun….unless it’s a boring blowout…or the refs try to play a part in it someway.

  10. thethinker says:

    Let’s all watch a down-to-the-wire game 7 everyone!

  11. djles73 says:

    I am sure that the average age of u guys must be around 20…I’ve been watching nba since it was available in Hungary(’89)
    Admired MJ,loved AI and now I root for LBJ.Simply the fact that James being compared to the greats means he’s got what it takes to get there.He’s only 28 and accomplished so much.I think MJ is GOAT but who knows..Would have i said it in ’93?probably not.Respect the man for what he has done so far and talk aout comparism when he’s done playing
    See in football-i mean soccer,coz u yanks call a game football when it’s played by hand.LOL-there are many of the greatest who played for more than one club yet not crucified for not sticking but admired what he accompished.Any of u haters ever gave a thought when was the last time a financially weak franchise won a Ch’ship?Coz I cannot name one in the past 30 years…Anyone hating Drexler for teaming up with the Dream?I never heard ayone complaining about it,yet his one of the all-time greats,member of the Dream Team.How about Sir Charles?If he had won w the suns,would have marked as a quitter?C’mon guys!Just open your eyes and let the cloud of hate rise and just enjoy watching somebody as great as LBJ!

  12. Ahrick Quizon says:

    Hate Lebron?I wanna know how many people there are in the world…That would be interesting..
    List your names!

    • Ahrick Quizon says:

      Is there a website or blog exclusive for Lebron haters already? Someone should start one…There seems to be alot who would want to signup..

  13. omygooo says:

    ho there is a legacy for lebron already ? sorry but for me there is nothing except a crazy regular season guy, a guy who often (really often) disappears in finals, a guy who celebrate like a 18 year old boy when his team need a grown man. legacy of the stats maybe
    but he didnt ask for it, you journalist are creating this hype process to desperatly sell a new idol, the legacy doesnt’t need you to be created, if he play as a great he will be reconize, by real fans, as a great
    spurs are a legitimate legacy, duncan has a legacy, jordan, kobe, shaq has a legacy. lebron is just a guy with some rings, that’s good, very good, but no legacy here. sorry. not yet.

  14. chakie says:

    I am not a lebron fan but he is really a great player on his own.. you cannot compare him other legendary players because there is only one LEBRON JAMES that made lots of people admire and even hate him.. but what he DID in game 6 is awesome..I just hope THOSE WHO TRASH TALK AGAINST HIM WILL BOW THEIR HEADS FOR ONCE for what he did in the 4TH QUARTER OF THAT BREATHTAKING GAME

  15. terence says:

    Respect for Lebron’s will to fight back.
    Still, he had 4 TO and shot 2-6 in the closing minutes of the 4th qtr and OT. If that’s not choking, what is?

  16. Uncle Drew says:

    There’s no way that people should be doubting Lebron’s legacy… yet. His first 7 seasons in the NBA were not him ‘choking’ in the post season by not getting to higher rounds, but were a lack of team support and talent. He made it to the Finals in 2007, but it was pretty much him against the prime big 3 of the Spurs. Guess what? He got sick of not being able to get an oppurtunity at his first ring, so he looked elsewhere. Went to Miami, went to the 2011 Finals. But the smart basketball of the Mavericks shut him down and he wasn’t himself. Oh, and there was one German guy by the name of Dirk. LeBron got ROASTED. Came back the next season even more motivated, and guess what happened? He won his first ring! This should end the critical and in my opinion, unfair bashing of Lebron, or ‘LeChoke’, right? Nope, still nobody’s happy. I don’t think this will end. Wherever he goes in 2014, or whether he stays in South Beach, the world will be watching. I just hope that soon the world will understand the greatness of Lebron James, instead of nitpicking at a few mistakes hes made, especially in the 4th quarter. It’s unfair, but it comes with the pressure of being the world’s greatest athlete in today’s information age (Yes, I wrote that, and I’m not taking it back).

  17. Kris Wayne says:

    Its true that Lebron must not be compared to Kobe and MJ. This is supported by the fact that the SPURS are daring him to shoot the ball. You don’t do that to Kobe and MJ, if you do that its gonna rain buckets all day!

  18. LeBron says:

    This guy choked… struggled all game and he wasnt even the energy … Chalmers is the guy who stood up imo … well after all Lebron to play offensive freely start trash talking ALOT <<< learn from Kobe… get into the head of your defender dont be am like the cool guy who loves everyone ,,, ppl remember RINGS not MVPs

  19. bossvin says:

    I really don’t get why LBJ has so many haters. Leaving Cleveland is one thing, but it doesn’t mean that it has to haunt him throughout his career. Joining with Wade and Bosh is not being a coward or anything, LBJ is a basketball player, a great one per se, every basketball player wants to win, and if the organization can’t give him the support that he needs then there’s no question that a player will look for other organizations that can provide him with what he needs. LBJ carried Cleveland for a long time getting 60+wins a season but he can’t do it by his own, no player did it on his own, all the greats were just lucky to have a great team to start with, but LBJ did not. And about the flopping and stuff, Manu is said to be the ultimate flopper, but only LBJ is getting bashed for flopping.Flopping is a part of the game, call it whatever you want, but flopping is there even from way back before.

  20. bossvin says:

    I really don’t get why LBJ has so many haters. Leaving Cleveland is one thing, but it doesn’t mean that it has to haunt him throughout his career. Joining with Wade and Bosh is not being a coward or anything, LBJ is a basketball player, a great one per se, every basketball player wants to win, and if the organization can’t give him the support that he needs then there’s no question that a player will look for other organizations that can provide him with what he needs. LBJ carried Cleveland for a long time getting 60+wins a season but he can’t do it by his own, no player did it on his own, all the greats were just lucky to have a great team to start with, but LBJ did not. And about the flopping and stuff, Manu is said to be the ultimate flopper, but only LBJ is getting bashed for flopping.Flopping is a part of the game, call it whatever you want, but flopping is there even from way back before.

    • Joey says:

      You dont go on national television and betray your home city. You are not that important buddy where we need to have an hour special about where your going to play. Honestly no one has ever done that and he looks like a self centered female who cares only for himself. Thats why we hate him

  21. Garry says:

    Lebron James’ legacy is gonna be that of a bandwagoner because in the end that’s all he is. As soon as another team starts buying chamionship the way the celtics’ big three did in 08 and the way Miami has in the past two years. Once Jay-z and the Russian put some money up to build something crazy he’ll go there, or if the Clippers get Garnett, Pierce and Howard which is highly unlikely right now he’s gonna go there. Since Miami did that stuff it changed the game, now every other team with a lil bit of money is gonna start doing it and Lebron will just pick the best roster.

  22. Mr. Awesome says:

    Lebron aint that great at the end of 4th quarter when he start missi’n shots and giving turnovers I can see that he already gave up, That’s when Ray Allen came in. Lebron is a great athlete but he’s not the best basketball player and will not be.

  23. Chris says:

    Gosh, people are already talking about Brron’s legacy at 28. WHen Jordan was 28, he was only starting the 2 three peats. He only had one ring. When Kobe was 28, he also only had one ring of his own. *the 1st 3 is Shaq’s – or do you think Pippen is the man in any of the 6 rings Jordan had?)

    Kobe, Bron and Jordan all had their 1st rings at 28. But Kobe and MJ, did not have 4 MVPs at that age. (Kobe will never have 4 MVPs).

    Jordan is the greatest player of all time. But don’t compare LBJ with these 2 yet. Al least 5 more years, maybe he can back up his “Not one, not two…. into real seven rings” Who knows right? You were all ready to write him off after his loss in 2011 anyway.

  24. Nabi says:

    First of all (don’t ever call my name…. Shut up) you have a stupid name just like you. Labron James is the greatest becasuse he teamed up with D Wade and C Bosh. They are thr Big three, through injuries, rough playoffs they still come big. The Miami Heat are Champions with or without a trophy, so please wash your dirty mouth before you talk about them. Go Heat go

  25. WANNA CRY says:

    did one of you noticed that LeBron was in teary eyes in the dying seconds. he can’t take the pressure; he’ll be like that unless he admits that if they lose he will stand tall and say its because of me. that’s the difference between LBJ and KB24,MJ. LBJ does not want to take the blame, he’s afraid. but hey, it’s my opinion. not a HEAT nor SPURS fans but all of this HYPE surrounding LBJ; it’s just CRAZY

  26. J says:

    great article!
    who cares if he wears a headband (he will)
    he already has a great legacy and it wont be tarnished even if he doesnt get it done (he will)
    why dont people stop hating he could be goat when he is done (he will) another few titles which they will get
    lebron is best back 2 back!
    heat in 7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. antonello cito says:

    still making questions about the headband…..what kind of journalist are them? i mean, it’s just a damn headband, o my god what a bunch of idiots….

  28. Eric says:

    Joseph Joey Crawford must be very angry now. Although Joseph Joey Crawford did his best to help Spurs to win Game 6, Spurs fans are still blaming him hard.

  29. engin says:

    ginobili was obviously fauled at the end of OT when the score was 100-101. Why does nobody talk about that. It is the call that took away their championship nothing else

  30. AZ_Smitty says:

    Great Article! I agree with you 110%.

  31. Bigmatta23 says:

    Steve, I always enjoy reading your well thoughtout and written articles. Thanks a million.

  32. rod says:

    Because non of the Haters’ favorite player that can do what Lebron can do.. Triple double many time in playoffs and championship games including olympic championship games..wow that can you say that the haters’ favorite player doesn’t do in the game like this. STOP HATER of Lebron.. You are jealous! HATERS HATERS HATERS ARE LOSER!!!!!!

  33. rod says:

    Because no one of the Haters’ favorite player that can do what Lebron can do.. Triple duoble many time in playoffs and championship games including olympic championship games..wow that can you say that the haters’ favorite player doesn’t do in the game like this. STOP HATER of Lebron.. You are jealous!

  34. Totoy Bawang says:

    Lebron is a Great Player a best in the world no question about that. just review his stats why he’s a great NBA player

  35. Brad says:

    Lerbon’s legacy? He will always be known as the player who left his old team to play with other superstars in order to win an NBA ring quickly. That’s the only thing I will ever remember him.

  36. nile says:

    damn, shup up! Lebron is Lebron James.MJ is the greatest ballhog ever played.period..Go, watch Jordan Tapes where he was a great choker againts The Badboys and Bird.Nothing to prove from Lebron, he was already a champion.Stop complaining, instead, cheer your Big head Spurs Team..

  37. Thomas the Great says:

    Get your mind out of the gutter, would you!?

    A lot of people are struggling with the concept of what kind of player LeBron James is and what kind of player he will be remembered as when he’s done playing in the NBA.

    Of course any such discussion is premature because LeBron might continue to develop his skill set.

    At this time, however, I think LeBron fits considerably better into discussions along the lines of athletes like Usain Bolt and even Dwight Howard. He is physically big, strong & fast, and that’s impressive in the realm of sports. It’s that physicality that defines him as an athlete and as a basketball player.

    Players remembered as the Greats like Jordan & Bird had skill and talent that define them as such.

    That’s not to say LeBron’s not great or won’t be considered great, but he’s more accurately a phenomenal athlete that plays basketball.

    In response to Gabe’s comment on my prior post:
    Thomas The Great
    June 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Legacy?

    LeBron James will go down in history as one of the most incredible physical specimens to play the position he plays. His body strength and power are something just never seen before at the guard/forward position he plays.
    Reply

    Gabe
    June 19, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    gee man, keep it in your pants, would you!?

  38. Marc says:

    Great article..good way to silence the critics

  39. bigboy11 says:

    great game 6 wade no show ,, bosh abused by Duncan the heat did not play good except for 1 stretch in the 3rd but they still found a way to win that’s the heart of a champion never give up lebron was trying too hard he almost went to hero ball he wanted every shot and he was making a lot of mistakes missing point blank layups turnovers at the basket he even said it himsel,f but have to understand that he had no confidence in his other big 2 he was feeding them the ball and wade turnovers bosh missing baskets they played best when wade was sitting with bos. i dont credit lebron with that win but gives it to the role players they came up with big plays to save the game

  40. King James says:

    Haters will be haters for life! They like scrutinizing, looking for errors, miscues, downfalls, etc. of Successful person. They are like crabs who will grab you down. Simply becoz these people are pure envy. They Hate when something Good happens! Real Haters are Cleveland fans and the other Haters are the bandwagoners who doesn’t have loyalty to any team. I just hope that James and the Miami Heat win this series and silence all the Haters for the rest of their lives!

  41. Profit says:

    People,
    Do you know what your saying LBJ willed carried the Heat etc. Look at the roster ….. if you have D wade and get Bosh and have the greatest 3 point shooter Ray Allen also creditable 3 point shooter Mike Miller & Chalmers. It shouldn’t be this close 1st it shouldn’t be a game 6 or game 7 nor should you win game 6 in over time. If you have that roster and LBJ. Know lets stop think for a second. Miami was bought that is why I personally can’t give LBJ the credit that he deserves if it was the CAVS. Spurs great team but built not bought. I think LBJ is a good player —–> LEGACY in my mind is this the CAVS lucked out. if the would have brought 1 more great player next to LBJ his LEGACY would have been higher. Here is my reason Pat Riley and the HEAT don’t care about LBJ they know that CHAMPIONSHIPS bring more ticket sells make you a bigger market. LBJ was made in CLEVELAND you know that stamp that says MADE IN –> CLEVELAND. I like the dude i just think he forgot its better to defend your home. thats why I think Kareem isnt as great as MJ or Kobe because the team knew who you are and built around you. the greatest players in any sport have a great legacy because they drafted and teams seen what they have an added around him to make a dynasty. ala Montana , Jerry Rice, Troy Aikman , MJ , KB. LBJ legacy is still up there with the greats. But a few years ago Heat Fans hated him now they love him. do you see the difference. Bill Russel , Robert Horry with 11 and 7 rings . Why aren’t the mentioned as much as MJ or Larry Bird. THINK ABOUT IT. because LEGACY isn’t made by rings its made by taking a team on a long slump that drafted you believed in you and you make their dream come true period

  42. grezel says:

    where is the “do not click my name” heat hater that has justin bieber-like music video?

  43. bk says:

    Mr. Steve Aschburner
    you have proved “A pen is mightier than a Sword” again. Dagger of Truth -so well written; “God”s and “bum”s – a shackle to the “nay”s of every critic – a failed parent-may be!?

  44. Tweets says:

    If basketball was a religion, Lebron is god

    • Matthew says:

      But its not and Lebron is just a sinner like the rest of us. Jesus=God. Jesus+Basketball=Heaven. Believe it.

  45. Simmo says:

    he is probably only just over 50% through his career but what i do know is that he just scored a triple double in game 6 of the NBA finals. people forget that this is his 4th time to the finals and he is only 28. sure, some people will judge him by how many championships he has but wow, he is certainly a freak athlete. not as majestic as MJ but certainly the best player since MJ without question.

  46. NBAfan says:

    Lebron’s at the peak of his career. You only talk about legacies when it’s all said and done.

    There’s still much to be said about Lebron (his game, his headband, etc) and there’s still MUCH TO BE DONE on Lebron’s end….

    His fans ask about why he has haters, it’s because he has over the top lovers who already want to talk about his Legacy when his 2nd ring isn’t even secured yet….that’s why….

    Let Lebron create his own legacy through his own play and ability to win. The rest of us need to just wait and see.

  47. jo says:

    Lebron’s a legacy because he’s getting bald. Rescinding hairline stamps it and wearing headband makes him look like he got plenty of hair. hahahaha go Spurs.!!!!

  48. Ex nba fan says:

    Some people make the dumbest statements on here. Lebron had the best shooting average in the nba this year. I hate underachievers judging a person who is doing what they love and at the very highest level of it. Great players don’t always play great but their presence makes all the difference! Haters will always hate and can’t score a point in life or a game . Win or lose Lebron and the Heat have done great this year! Spurs are also a great team!

  49. HT5 says:

    lebron’s legacy is basically scrutiny

  50. MJ says:

    I believe the rigging controversies surrounding the League (particularly since the 1980s) have greatly affected the legitimacy of championship and MVP tallies in measuring a player’s legacy. Therefore, LeBron’s legacy should remain intact (at least in the eyes of fans) regardless of who wins Game 7.

    Despite all the uncertainty surrounding the League (rigged, not rigged?) no player has ever showcased the ability to carry a team single-handedly the way LBJ has. Before ‘Superteams’, fans got to witness some of the greatest one-man performances in the history of basketball. From 2000-2007, the likes of McGrady, Bryant, Iverson, Carter, and later LeBron carried lackluster teams on their way to some ridiculous stat lines. Iverson and LeBron mangaged to win some games, too! ;)

    That said, I find people these days rely too much on statistics to measure a player’s greatness or LEGACY (i.e. Oscar Robertson, Wilt). Video evidence is by far the most conclusive means of determining the true nature of a player’s abilities — nothing compares to actually seeing a guy play. As fans and critics, we must be willing to place the same amount of scrutiny on all players, particularly those in the GOAT conversation. In all fairness, Jordan had his fair share of criticism when he played the game.

  51. hecklerandkoch says:

    Good for Miami the ball went to Allen not James, he will be a big goat

  52. dhk says:

    “man capris” is an oxymoron

  53. Papi Chulo says:

    Too many calls were made for the Spurs so the heat really competed against the refs not the Spurs. Also its not the heats fault that Pop took Duncan out the game late in the 4th. He blew it…plus everyone is saying Ginobili was fouled and the refs didnt blow the whistle…well no one is saying anything about how he hopped, skipped, and jumped…yes he took 3 steps…look at the replay ppl….it was a walk…..and Lebron has said it himself…these have been the worst games he has played……..lets watch him in game 7 dominate!!!…… Oh and for those that say MJ fouled Russell….again…look at the replay….he patted him on the buttt….since that was presumably his lastgame….see ya wouldnt want to be ya!

    • Evs says:

      I’m glad other people have noticed that Manu travelled!

    • Eric says:

      Joseph Joey Crawford must be very angry now. Although Joseph Joey Crawford did his best to help Spurs to win Game 6, Spurs fans still blame him.

  54. fabrice says:

    NOT A CLUTCH PLAYER

  55. Kal says:

    commenter Gregory is right. it’s simple: he choked. but there’s just so much invested in LeBron — by fans, literally by investors, by the NBA — that nobody can admit he isn’t living up to reputation. he missed shots. turned the ball over. even Magic Johnson said one of the turnovers was the worst play he’s ever seen in this sort of game.

    all the “haters” (as we are so unfairly labeled) want is one game — just one finals game — that leaves no doubt that LeBron deserves that finals MVP trophy tomorrow night. because we all know the Heat will win, that’s inevitable. but the MVP trophy should go to Tony Parker or Danny Green if LeBron doesn’t turn in something spectacular tomorrow night.

    of course, it will go to him no matter what, because of the stats, because of the hype, but i will hail him The King (no quotation marks around it) if he is great in game 7. if he is not, i will continue saying he’s made more of flash than of fire.

    show me the fire LeBron! that’s all I’m asking O basketball gods!

    • Darnell says:

      Man just stop ur the kind of person he was wiriting about, to does not deserve it he was good at moments and did Danny green even play the last game? They keyed in on him and he was done

      • didi says:

        Man sorry but Danny Green scored 3 or something yesterday. Lebron is under the most scrutiny a human has ever seen and still has better shooting percentage than kb24 in the finals. Without him the heat would have lost to the bulls already.

    • HeatfansinceWade says:

      @Kal, The Finals MVP goes to the best player of the series on the winning Team. Haters never use common sense do they? Imagine half of NBA fans appreciate what you have to offer the game, and the other Half hates you so much and wishes you to fail every time and will watch and critisize you every game….. Thats what Lebron has to deal with everyday. Jordan or Kobe or Magic never had to deal with this type of hate, EVER! Silence your haters Lebron! Wade silence yours too and Repeat Heat!

  56. TRUTHTELLAFELLA says:

    Lebrons legacy is defined by CRITICISM!

  57. Gene says:

    The problem is with the proliferation of writers, journalists, bloggers, twitteriots, etc. all realizing that they can attract attention by writing anything Lebron. If Lebron is the subject, there is interest, and no matter how silly an article or blog may be it will gain some traction, and everybody is trying to make a name for themselves

  58. Nathan G says:

    I’m just glad that in 10-20 years time I’ll be able to say that I was watching that go down.

  59. Hello says:

    How come there aren’t Kevin Durant haters?

    • Guest says:

      Two reasons: 1) Durant stayed loyal to his team…2) he never talked trash about winning 8 championships because hes on an all-star team

      • didi says:

        Stayed loyal to what? One of the worst teams in the league? And come on those talks was in the heat of the moment. U havent said anything stupid in your life?

      • Pay Attention says:

        Lebron was at Cleveland longer than Durant has been with OKC…..
        Lebron was surrounded by average players and a Shaq that was long past his best at Cleveland. Durant has a selection of excellent team-mates in OKC that can pull their weight allowing Durant to be the great that he is. LeBron had to do 75% of EVERYTHING for Cleveland every night – look at what happened to Durant when he had to do something similar with an OKC team missing Westbrook – he did a fine job but reinforced the notion that 1 guy cannot do it alone.

        Don’t get me wrong, I think KD is a great player and turned OKC around but what Lebron did in Cleveland is more impressive to me.

  60. Enough says:

    Please stop channeling your hate through the NBA refs. Yes there were some bad calls made – on both ends. But you are ignoring everything these teams did to get here, and to get to final seconds – every play, every jump shot, every block, and every rebound. You are focusing on something as trivial as ‘bad officiating’ to justify your insecurity.

    Stop hating and enjoy basketball.

  61. larrymoses says:

    NEWS FLASH! Everybody is complaining about officiating, but the reality is that referees swallow their whistle late game. If you don’t believe me then you probably started watching basketball a week ago. I bet you guys don’t think Jordan had an offensive foul — push off against Byron Russell against the Utah Jazz when he hit that game winner.

  62. Shane says:

    NOTHING ELSE TO WRITE ABOUT??

  63. Gregory says:

    Lebron is a great player. However, the way he missed those crucial shots in game 6, is the reason he will be labeled as a choker. The turnovers and air balls were inexplicable. Thats why he doesn’t get the Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant type of praise.

  64. James says:

    yup, george was right…. every STAR PLAYER will, was, is given special treatment by the referees…. specially the great MJ… ive seen jordan travelled alot in many of his highlight reels…

  65. James says:

    so sick of the abundance of Lebrons Haters…. its really sickening!… Lebron will the most hated Greatest Player ever!…

  66. yankuba saidykhan says:

    totally agree with jack

  67. EDAN says:

    LEBRON cant shoot the ball from outside, defenders lag off him and dare him to shoot and he doesnt, if he does he will miss 70% of the time. btw thats a true stat….he can only score if its a dunk or a layup! so now you tell me, is this a great player????

    • JestR says:

      Wow basing a “Great Player” on his outside shot alone is a piss weak hater remark… Have a check at his other TRUE STATS!!! KD is the only one close to those figures, where is he right now? Alot of people would agree in saying KD is also a great player.

  68. WiganBaller says:

    great article!

  69. mannie says:

    We forgot that this is the same spars team that made howard, the golden state shooting guards and zack randoph, look very average the spurs swept the grizzlis. James brought the heat back into the game. the spars has lost 3 games which is 2 more than the spurs lost through the west playoffs. James has been the best player in heat uniform

  70. pierre says:

    I thought that game was rigged too. Why didn’t the spurs foul at the end up 3 20 secs? The heat had 3pt shooters throughout their lineup

    • pierre says:

      and at 15sec in the 4th qtr

    • yeah says:

      If the Spurs didn’t foul and Ray Allen missed that three would you still call the gamed rigged? Nope, you would say that the Spurs did a good job defending. Enough with the excuses. They lost, period.

    • Davro83 says:

      How about the fact that the spurs subbed Tim Duncan after Ray Allen made that 3 pointer. Thats illegal! It wasnt a dead ball situation and the spurs had no time outs. You cant sub during a refs replay. The heat should have got a free throw for the illegal substitution, therefore winning the game and not goiong to overtime.
      And people still say that the reffing is biased towards miami. Wake up. Its just bad reffing. No bias.

  71. Cmon The Spurs let the win go, they had that hands DOWN! but TP was just talking bad shots after bad shots, Heat is OVERRATED! Your Big Three can’t beat the Spur’s, but That was miracle the Heat pulled that one. Be Ready!

  72. George says:

    the heat are going to take this one! I know it and thanks to Lebron we’ve got firepower. great series though

  73. josh carver says:

    wow

  74. Thomas The Great says:

    Legacy?

    LeBron James will go down in history as one of the most incredible physical specimens to play the position he plays. His body strength and power are something just never seen before at the guard/forward position he plays.

  75. Bill says:

    For me this “controversy” of too much scrutiny stems from Lebron’s 4 MVP Awards. In the interest of transparency, I felt the two he received in Cleveland were undeserved.

    But either way, winning 4 MVPs puts him in very elite status in NBA history and I personally feel strongly he is not living up to that level of super star status in this series.

  76. Rico says:

    He’s like Wilt, they dominated their era but will never be the GOAT

  77. Henrik Jensen says:

    No one can say Lebron is not good, of course he is, i personally don’t like him as much as Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Dwayne Wade, James Harden and other players throughout the history of the game, but then again, i Hate Kobe Bryant, but Kobe and Lebron are still better players than Garnett, no doubt, but you choose personally, and everybody has the right to his or her opinion based on their experience and their own values and norms. so don’t blame him on one action where there could or could not have been made a foul, there will be 1000 of times when Lebron is going to the basket and some of them will not be called as foul eventhough there is, some of them will eventhough it is not, that’s part of the game..

  78. george says:

    You all who say Lebron is not good have you ever watched the 1998 NBA finals? Did Michael Jordan fouled the Jazz’s defender or not? Clear foul, not called Jordan got his 6th ring. So stop hating a player, every great player has the favour in some calls. The officiating will never be perfect.

  79. ya'lldidntllearnanything says:

    He will the HEAT back into the game. he made that 3, that the HEAT needed. this one is going to his legacy. with the OKC finals.

    • LBJfan$heatfan says:

      HEAT will be dominant next year but the Championship used to be viewed as something you should have to work hard for to get. Given a little luck and determination the heat have forced 1more do-or-die game and a chance at a 2nd strait championship. I’d say that’s working pretty hard. They cruised past the bucks, matched the physicality of the bulls, were outsized by the tough pacers and won in a great 7game series, and have now out-poised the 1 team that’s been so consistent and dominant throughout Tim Duncan’s career. Embrace the competition because its not easy winning a title not to mention 2 straight. Next year the bulls get d.rose back, the thunder will get back to the playoffs with russel westbrook back, the pacers will enter the season with thoughts of a finals run, the golden state warriors are for real, and all the other teams will want to de-throne the heat. It only gets harder from here….. 1 more game of the season. It’s going to be epic.

  80. kde019 says:

    Let us talk about legacy when LeBron’s career is over. For the meantime, give him space and give him due credit for the things he’s done. He is the MVP of this league for God sake.

  81. Tyrone says:

    I was rooting for the Spurs, but I can’t complain about a Game 7 Finals, and Game 6 was one of the best games if not THE best game I’ve ever seen.

  82. AL says:

    great article

  83. Bruno says:

    Yeah can’t we all just be glad we’re witnessing Lebron as “it” happens.

  84. i dont know my name says:

    you know, I’m a Heat fan, but i think the series is rigged. I mean, the officiating was terrible last game. However, if it was, I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s David Stern’s last season as commisionor, so they probebly want to give him a show.

    • Really? says:

      Really? Against the Heat right? Manu travelled at the end (took 3 steps before the “No Call”) and Tiago Splitter set an illegal screen on Ray Allen… I really don’t think this series is rigged, and if it is, it’s against the HEat

    • Jay says:

      You dont deserve to be called a Heat fan. And I think you’re more of the bandwagon type so I don’t give two cents about what you are saying

  85. Max says:

    Sad but true. America loves a winner/loser that they can praise or toast! Nothing Great said about WHO knocked down the three to put last night’s game 6 in to overtime. Ray Allen is so much overlooked in his playing ability. Same as the Great NLF QB JIM PLUNKETT.. iS PROFESSIONAL BASED ON ABILITY OR ON MEDIA. a HEADBAND???

  86. Unkle Daddy says:

    Well if the refs keep making terrible calls at the end of games, I’m sure his “Legacy” will have another ring in it. Refs stop making calls because of who a player is (veteran calls) just do your job. It’s days like this that make me hate the NBA, and the Bureaucrats that run it.

    • Tony says:

      Yes, the Heat won despite the referees attempt to give it to the Spurs. Like when LeBron’s headband got knocked off his head while he was putting back a Mario Chalmers miss. That was a very critical play but James didn’t even care at that point, he just ran back down the court to block Tim Duncan’s attempted dunk. Wow, LeBron is awesome!!!!!!

    • KobeForever says:

      If you looked at the entire game and stopped being biased for a second, you would realize that there were a lot of calls that the heat and specifically lebron did NOT get. Jeff Van Gundy even mentioned it in his commentary that the non calls were having a greater impact on the Heat more so than the Spurs. So when people mention two non calls at the end of the game it upsets me because as far as I am concerned the game was called evenly enough… Wasnt great officiating but it wasnt that bad either, The more desperate team won. Sincerely, a laker fan.

    • Spony2478 says:

      Did you notice that Manu took 3 steps on that non call so they negate themselves. Danny Green getting blocked at the end with Bosh’s hand on his hip…….let’em play. Would’ve been the same at the other end! Stop hiding behind the ref’s…..the Spurs aren’t!

  87. AJ says:

    Lebron james is great and is gonna have a great game 7 and get his second well deserved ring

    • Gabe says:

      well his legacy is that he was about to cry when there was only 50 seconds left in regulation time! really??? bahahaha whether that or he was having a big diarrea problem! MJ never looked that way and you Miami fans even dare to compare to him!! for god’s sake!!

      • justine says:

        58 seconds actually…

        And an airball and a brick afterwards.

        he made a huge three though…

        I thought i was the only one to notice it…

      • Danny Young says:

        What’s funny is everyone hates on lebron and none of you including the sports writers have been in his shoes or would ever have the chance because none of you have the talent this man does. I think it’s funny, easy to talk smack about someone who has everything when you have nothing.
        So what if he shows emotion? That shows he has love for the game.

      • Vante says:

        He wasn’t about to cry its called disapointment wow people even hate on how much he cares for the game and trying to win

  88. Game Time says:

    Wow is this really written by Steve Aschburner? Not a single subliminal jab at Lebron or the Heat.

    • david says:

      I am absolutely stunned as well

    • Big G says:

      A really good, correct article at last! Agreed on every word.

      Seriously folks, I am not enamoured with James (actually hated Jordan back in his time), but you just can’t deny the man’s legacy based on separate games. Well so maybe he will not go down in record books as the No. 1 all-time when all’s said and done; maybe he will – he will probably play on another decade. But even if James never sets foot on the floor again after tonight, he already HAS built a legacy, big enough to be compared to all the greats. How’s that for underachievement?

      At the very least, if the HEAT win tonight, THEN, everyone, get off off James’s back! That win would give him 2 rings already, enough to cement a legacy. Just think. The Pistons Bad Boys’ era 20 quarter of a century ago was good for 2 rings; nobody I think is questioning Thomas’s legacy today. And “Dr.” Erving, he got what, one ring to show for all his incredible prowess? This is a man that practically embodied the NBA for better part of a decade in late 70s-early 80s!

      So yeah, LeBron James is still working on his legacy, but what he already has to show should be good for a couple of Hall-of-Famers. Several other great players will be working to add to their legacies tonight. Enjoy the sports drama!

      Once again, great article by Steve Aschburner. Kudos.

  89. LebronPH says:

    Well if Lebron misses a Kawhi Leonard type of FT in that crucial time i’m sure he will be bashed so much. Good Thing Leonard doesn’t have haters.

    • Tyler Hansbrough says:

      I have never seen a player look so afraid shooting a free throw. haha. I’m going for Miami, but I felt really bad for him. Seems like a nice guy.

  90. Jack says:

    LeBron’s legacy is that it is way too early for everyone to worry about his legacy. Nuff said.

    • chandler says:

      Smartest comment on the section. For all we know, they can lose this series and 5 more finals down the line. Highly unlikely, but I think its only SMART to compare him to MJ and whoever else when he decides to hang it up. Whether it be 35, 38, or 40. Until then, sit back and watch him play or don’t. I’m not a LeBron fan, but I don’t deny that he’s good. Yes, he is disappointing at times, thats my only knock on him.

      • Tucker says:

        I really despise the MJ comparison. Not because of skill but because of the kind of player they are. LeBron compares better to Larry Bird. Both SF’s who put up very similar stats. Bird had McHale and LeBron has Wade. Both are great scorers with excellent court vision and above average rebounders for their position. LeBron’s a better defender but Larry was better in the clutch and if he were on the Heat instead of LeBron the Spurs would have no answer for him. You can’t challenge Bird to take jumpers like you can with LeBron. You just have to hope he as a bad game. Bird>LeBron (it’s a close contest though and LeBron’s career isn’t over yet). So enough with the MJ comparisons until LeBron is at least better than the best to ever play SF.

  91. DA_TRUF says:

    Edwards: Why the big secret? People are smart. They can handle it.
    Kay: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.
    Edwards: What’s the catch?
    Kay: The catch? The catch is you will sever every human contact. Nobody will ever know you exist anywhere. Ever. I’ll give you to sunrise to think it over.
    [starts walking away]
    Edwards: [shouting after Kay] Hey! Is it worth it?
    Kay: Oh yeah, it’s worth it…
    [starts walking again, stops and turns back briefly]
    Kay: … if you’re strong enough!
    Ty men in black

  92. theholyspectator says:

    this is one of the best series ive ever watched in a long time

    • LeBron is a great player but he’ll never be one of the greatest of all time since joining forces with wade and bosh….and also his choking…Mj, Kobe and Magic didn’t choke as much as he did

      • E-SY says:

        You have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about…

      • Where Your Lakers At??? says:

        This idiot keeps spamming about LeBron James choking when his LAKERS have been gagging for the whole season. Stop posting on NBA.com to promote your garbage music.

      • tell me in what way am I spamming you IDI0T? it’s called commenting and expressing an opinion…you should try to get a dictionary, it’s pretty cheap…Ret@RD

      • Kodi says:

        Something is really wrong with your eye sight or you lack Bball smarts…… all you have to do is click on the link below and check the stats of LBJ and see where your MJ and Koby stand next to him: here is the link.. this is actually for everyone here commenting on the article and the person posted this article as well… click on the link and scroll down to achievements:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_career_achievements_by_LeBron_James

      • dont like your comment says:

        All three of those players that u listed have had other stars surrounding them when they chased championships whether it was pippen shaq or Kareem you criticize him for wanting to team up with good players after years with bad ones

      • Vante says:

        Kobe lost 2 times in the finals as much as lebron so far and Kobe’s teams are always stacked and his lakers choked this year