A Championship This Year For LeBron Would Trump Any Of Jordan's Six
Michael Jordan and LeBron James now have the same number of NBA Finals appearances.
They both have rings, Finals MVP awards and iconic championship moments to their name.
So, why is it that His Airness is seen a post-season demigod, while LeBron’s accomplishments are looked at as damaged goods?
Jordan did it with one team; he didn’t embarrass a city, and he was six for six in the finals. But, the substance of LeBron’s post-season successes are equally impressive. Additionally, a championship this year would trump any of MJ’s six.
LeBron’s right-hand man during his run to his first Finals appearance in 2007 was Larry Hughes. Hughes had a long career and put up some decent numbers, but he is no Scottie Pippen.
Drew Gooden was the Cavs’ leading rebounder during the 06-07 season. A serviceable big man? Sure, but give me a guaranteed 15-plus rebounds from Dennis Rodman any day over a few baby hooks from Gooden.
People also forget how good Toni Kukoč was. The point I am trying to make is no player wins a title on their own, not even Mike.
LeBron, as close to singlehanded superstardom as we have ever seen, willed that 06-07 Cleveland team to the Finals, where they ran into the buzzsaw that was the San Antonio Spurs.
The magnitude of what LeBron was able to do with that team will forever be overlooked due to the end result. But, now, eight years later, he finds himself in an eerily similar situation with the chance to ascend into a class all his own.
The success LeBron and his Heat teammates had during the Miami years is nothing to be scoffed at, but I believe James guiding that 06-07 Cleveland roster to the Finals is his greatest accomplishment to date.
All of the points I made about Michael’s Bulls teams apply to the King’s four years in South Beach. Even to this point so far in the current season, James has had the option to adjust to the talent around him at any given point.
Despite this, a few strokes of bad luck have him back where he was in 2007. When he walks out onto the court for warmups Tuesday night, he will have no Kevin Love or Kyrie Irving, and will be looking across the court at the most lethal duo in the NBA.
Though the cabinets are certainly not bare, Matthew Dellavedova doesn't exactly present the same threat to the Golden State defense as Uncle Drew.
We saw how battered LBJ appeared after willing the Cavs to a thrilling overtime win in game two on Sunday.
Heading back to Cleveland for the next couple of games will be of added value due to the Warriors’ collective lack of Finals experience.
A few more poor shooting nights from either (or both) of the Splash Brothers, a big night (or quarter) from JR Smith or just the sheer will of LeBron could land the Cavs in a position to put the series away.
This is why James came back to Cleveland. Obviously, an enticing roster didn't hurt the cause, but he wanted to bring his city a championship.
Kevin Love could be gone next year; Kyrie could get hurt again next year, and there is no way of telling what the future holds.
But, here he is, back in the Finals with the Cavs. After an eight-year roller coaster ride, he finds himself back where he started, with the opportunity to put Ohio on his back as he ascends to immortality.
If LeBron can somehow win this group to three more wins over the league’s most talent-laden roster, it would not only be the greatest accomplishment of his career, but perhaps, in Finals history.