June 30, 2013 by Ell and Mike Sports
It’s late June 2003, the night of the NBA draft, we are all sitting in anticipation waiting to see who will be the number one pick of the draft. Just kidding, that year while there were many talented players in the draft from Chris Bosh to Carmelo Anthony, we all knew who the Cleveland Cavs would take with the number 1 pick, LeBron James. We knew this because since Lebron’s freshman year in high school (Yes, I said high school), we knew we were seeing a talent that we had never seen before. All that was left was for LeBron to decide was if he wanted to go to college or straight into the spotlight of the NBA. LeBron always possessed magnificent passing abilities and high flying dunking skills at such an early age and let’s not forget he was an athletic beast weighing in at 240 lbs and measuring in at a height of 6’8. While LeBron had this great size (built like a PF), he also had 4.5 speed showing his superb athleticism as a freak of nature. Combine the passing skills, basketball IQ, and athleticism and you clearly had a once in a generation superstar in the making. Therefore, the night of the draft, the Cavs did what we all expected them to do and drafted the young kid from Akron, Ohio. Cleveland couldn’t have been happier seeing as it had been more that 40 years since a major sports team has won a championship and the abysmal years before made the Cavs one of the worst franchises in the league. LeBron’s rookie season he did something very few rookies have done, averaging 20ppg, 5apg, and 5rpg. LeBron did all of this while still being very raw in his talent. In addition, he also took home rookie of the year honors.
Now, let’s fast forward a bit. Over the next four years, LeBron would go on to average 25ppg, 7apg, and 7rpg; these numbers put him in rarified air. Lebron and the Cavs reached the finals in 2007 where they met the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs defended LeBron by allowing him to shoot the ball while heavily guarding the paint. LeBron’s only weakness was his jump shot by this time; his perimeter offense was not where the rest of his game was. LeBron struggled from the outside the whole finals and the Spurs went on to sweep the Cavs. However, to reach the finals in four short years was amazing with the players he had surrounding him and he really changed the culture of the team. Over the next two seasons, LeBron continued to be dominate as he led the Cavs to a 66 win season, but while the Cavs dominated during the regular season they fell short in the playoffs to the Celtics in 08′ and the Magic in 09′. People were beginning to apply pressure to King James stating that he didn’t have what it takes to win the big one and so on and so on. In the summer of 2010, LeBron became a free agent. There were many people that believed James loved being close to home and would stay in Cleveland, but LeBron threw a wrench into everyone’s thoughts when he decided to take his talents to Miami and play alongside PF Chris Bosh and SG Dwayne Wade, also draftees of the 03′ class. The moment he made that announcement he became a target, as one of the most hated players in the league. Cleveland hated him because he left and others hated him because he chose to go play with two superstars to get a championship. First of all, as a free agent, LeBron had the right to choose where he wanted to play. Secondly, no player has ever won championships alone, Magic had Kareem, Bird had McHale, Jordan had Pippen, Shaq had Kobe, and Kobe had Gasol, but those are debatable conversations for another day.
In year one with the Heat, after a 9-8 start the Heat went on to finish second in the East. LeBron missed out on what would’ve been his 3rd straight MVP award. I believe he lost it because many felt he had two great players playing beside him. That’s not a good argument to me because LeBron still put up the same numbers he did the season before. The Heat went on to the finals that year against the Dallas Mavericks, where they lost in six games. LeBron took a lot of the heat, with many saying he choked, played small, and didn’t show up. Honestly I have to agree, he didn’t show up, averaging only 17 points, but it was like LeBron didn’t know his role and was trying to play like a role player and let the Mavs defense dictate what he was going to do. However, the Heat still had chemistry issues and no matter how good the trio was they still had to learn each other. That summer was a rough one for him making the critics and haters get even louder. Heading into the 2011 season, LeBron said he was going to have fun like he used to with the game of basketball. That year LeBron showed the NBA his new and improved post game. Not only did he win his 3rd MVP award, but he also captured his first NBA championship. A boulder-sized weight was lifted off his shoulders. However, if you thought the haters were silenced, you are wrong, because after he won 1 ring they were saying he can’t do it again and still gave credit to his help despite the MVP award.
Now we fast forward to the present, with LeBron coming off back to back titles and his fourth MVP award, the sky is the limit. Every year, he adds something new to his repertoire to become an even more complete player. This year he proved his jump shot is no longer a liability while shooting 40% from three point range and also hitting five 3-pointers in game 7 of the NBA Finals. Some say King James is still only scratching the surface…UH OH! Look out MJ.