Thursday, November 3, 2011

Is LeBron Really The King?

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Why should LeBron James be called King James if he hasn't
even been crowned an NBA champion?

What do NBA greats like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, and Hakeem Olajuwon all have in common?

An NBA championship.

When it’s all said and done, players are remembered and known for winning titles. On the NBA’s list the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, only seven players on the list were not NBA champions. It’s funny to say that players you have never heard of like DJ Mbenga, Brian Cardinal, and Brian Scalabrine all have won at least one NBA championship while LeBron hasn’t. Although many call Michael Jordan the greatest of all time, he didn’t win an NBA title until his seventh year in the league. MJ would go onto win five more championships with the Bulls. LeBron is now entering his ninth year in the league.

Ever since high school, LeBron has dominated the courts. He was the first sophomore ever to be named to the USA Today All-USA First Team. He also led his high school, St. Vincent–St. Mary High School, to three state championships. During James’ junior year in high school, he was dubbed “King James”. Soon after, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected James with the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. The Cavs, coming off ten years of embarrassment, were hoping that James could resurrect them and win them a championship. Now, nine years later, James is playing for the Miami Heat and still has not won a championship.

In his first season with the Cavs, James won the Rookie of the Year award. Now, eight years later he has been voted an all-star seven straight years, dating back to his sophomore year in the league. James is also a two-time MVP award winner, winning back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010. LeBron was also a member of the 2008 Olympic basketball team that won gold in Beijing. James is clearly one of the most talented players of this decade and of all time.

According to ESPN, LeBron has a regular season career average of 27.7 points per game, which is third all time behind Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. In the playoffs though, James’ average drops to 24.4 points per game. Clearly, the problem with LeBron’s legacy is that he is not a great performer in crunch time, especially in the playoffs. This year in the NBA Finals, LeBron’s fourth quarter stats resembled a bench player’s stats, or even worse.

One reason why LeBron’s self-proclaimed “King James” nickname causes problems is the fact that no great player in history ever called themselves “King” or any nickname boasting about how good they are, especially while they were still playing. Michael Jordan might be called the greatest, and Wayne Gretzky might be the “Great One”, but both were not called the best at their respective sport until they retired. Michael Jordan is simply known as “MJ”, while Earvin Johnson is known as “Magic” Shaquille O’Neal is known as “Shaq”, and Julius Erving is known as “Dr. J”. None of these players ever hinted that they ruled the courts that they play on. Not only is LeBron known as “King James” but he is also even called “The Chosen One”!  If LeBron is being compared to Moses, why can’t he lead his people to an NBA Championship! He should be able to part the opposing team’s defense and score every play.  While LeBron has failed to win a championship, other NBA stars like Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and most recently Dirk Nowitzki, have all won at least one championship this decade. In all seriousness though, we know LeBron might be the most talented player in the league, and might be the second coming of Michael Jordan, but is it right to call him “King James” if he hasn’t even been crowned an NBA champion?

Everyone likes to see idols and famous people humiliated. LeBron probably leads that list for athletes. LeBron’s ego is so big that whenever he doesn’t impress, he is criticized. Last year, LeBron decided to let the whole entire world know what team he was playing for. He didn’t have his agent announce to the press, but rather planned an hour long special on ESPN to announce he was “taking his talents to South Beach”.  According to, there were 179 free agents in 2010, yet no there player made as big a deal over it as LeBron. Don’t get me wrong, I think LeBron is one of the best to play the game, but just watching him on TV saying that he will win “one, or two, or three, or four” NBA championships was painful to watch. 

LeBron’s twitter handle is @KingJames; not only does the media call LeBron the king, but he calls himself the king too. LeBron even has “Chosen 1” tattooed into his back. LeBron is simply asking for it, whenever he fails. LeBron has come up short on two NBA Finals, and received extraordinary amounts of criticism for each loss. Maybe it is a good idea for LeBron to not draw so much attention towards himself. He is in multiple commercials, and has a multimillion sponsorship from Nike.

LeBron still has ways to go until he can be considered the King. LeBron is very close to winning his first NBA Championship, and if this lockout ever ends, he can prove us all wrong in June.  


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