Despite his NBA Finals failures, LeBron James is one of the greatest players of all-time. He may not be MJ or Kobe, but he’s still a thrill to witness on the hardwood.
Hate him or love him, James has had a respectable career. Who has ever lived up to the hype like LeBron has? Nobody.
However, it’s easy to lose respect for King James when it comes to excuse making.
Let’s set the scene by rewinding to July 11, 2014 — the day LeBron announced he was coming home via Sports Illustrated.
“When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.”
You said that, LeBron. Not us.
Then came the commercials — “It’s all about getting one for The Land.”
You said that, LeBron. Not us.
Down 3-1 in the NBA Finals, LeBron’s had a sudden change of heart.
“I think from a basketball standpoint [winning a championship] is one of the reasons I came back, but it’s not the main reason I came back,” LeBron said during Sunday’s media session. “It wasn’t the only reason I came back, and there wasn’t just one reason why I came back.”
Bro! Just own it!
Sure it’s not the only reason LeBron returned to Cleveland. We get that. But it sure as hell was the main reason.
Whether this is an attempt to save face in the event of another loss, or even the beggining of the decision to bail on Cleveland again, this is LeBron’s greatest excuse making we’ve seen (and there’s plenty to go on).
But here are 10 reasons LeBron has ZERO excuses to make this time around…
10. The East Stinks
This one’s easy. The Cavs lost two games in getting to the Finals, and did the Raptors even threaten them? The West is a freaking war. We’d never be talking about six consecutive Finals trips if LeBron were playing on the other coast.
9. You Traded Wiggins for Love
When LeBron returned, he made a clear effort to avoid mentioning Andrew Wiggins in his open letter. It was obvious that the Kevin Love trade was in the works and LeBron was a supporter. 1. That was a bad trade, Wiggins would be much more helpful on this team. 2. Doesn’t matter, you wanted the trade and you got it.
8. You Pushed For Thompson Re-signing
Since Love was already here, it didn’t make much sense to re-sign Tristan Thompson. Again, Thompson is probably the better fit, but who else signs two power forwards to 5-year/$80+ million deals in the same offseason? LeBron pushed hard for his man, Thompson, and got him. He essentially built the team he wanted to win.
7. Irving and Love Are Healthy (Enough)
Love might be soft, but he’s back in action. Kyrie has been on the floor and was arguably better than LeBron in both games in Cleveland. The supporting cast is here. If not having those players was an excuse last year, that option clearly doesn’t exist this year.
6. You Pushed The Coaching Change
You want a new coach, you get a new coach. Not many other players can pull the strings like that and LeBron can. The coach isn’t the problem. Maybe David Blatt and Ty Lue are both good coaches, maybe they’re both bad coaches. Neither of them have held Cleveland back from reaching its ceiling. No excuses here.
5. You Choose To Defer To Your Teammates
When LeBron had his undermanned team in control of the Finals last season he was averaging nearly 40 points and a triple-double. With Love and Irving now on the floor, LeBron has chosen to abandon his style that experienced success last season. There’s been a lot of LeBron driving into the lane only to jump and throw a pass over his head out to the 3-point line. Um, why?
4. You Ask For The Pressure
This has been the case for 13 years. LeBron puts himself in the same category as the all-time greats, so that’s who he’s going to be compared to. You’re not a role player who is playing for your next contract. Money is shooting out of LeBron’s ears, so it should be easy to block the other stuff out that other players worry about and focus on winning.
3. You’re The Best Player In The World
Plain. And. Simple. Oh, and these are LeBron’s own words again. If you’re the best player in the world you don’t make excuses as to why the new, hot team in the league is kicking your backside. That team should be making excuses as to why they can’t beat you. Be the best player in the world, LeBron. Not Kyrie’s sidekick.
2. You Chose To Come Back
LeBron wasn’t traded to the Cavs. You left Miami. You picked Cleveland. You pulled all the strings. You made it 100% clear that the decision was made so that you could bring a championship to your hometown. Then you changed your mind when the going got tough.
1. You’re Not Playing Well
Last year LeBron played out of his mind in the NBA Finals with no help behind him, and managed to take a 2-1 series lead. He was the best player on the floor by such an overwhelming margin that he received four of 11 MVP votes after eventually losing the series 4-2. Where’s that player this series? Cleveland is losing because LeBron isn’t playing well. Maybe the rest of the Cavs should be using that as their excuse.
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