The Heat Is On … LeBron James Is Running Out of Time

 ~ June 9th, 2011 may go down as the most important night in the professional career of LeBron James. If it turns out not to be the most important night, for James it better come very close. One thing is for certain and that’s after his latest no show in the NBA Finals, James is once again at a crossroads.

The Miami Heat and James find themselves in a 2-2 series tie with the Dallas Mavericks after a tough Game 4 loss. Dallas did what they have been doing throughout the playoffs, hang around just enough until the 4th Quarter and then come from behind to steal the win.

The gameplan for the Mav’s has been simple and time tested. The role players step up and the superstar steps in. That superstar being Dirk Nowitzki. That’s pretty much how it goes in the NBA. Now if only someone can tell LeBron James he is a superstar and not a role player, he’d be at least 1 game from a championship instead of 2 games from either a championship or the longest summer of his life.

James has created a lot of this on himself. He went to Miami to win championships and there is nothing wrong with that. It was how he went to Miami that made him public enemy number 1. His performance throughout his career to this point has followed that route. It’s never what James does that puts him in the crossfires of critics, it’s how he does it. His Game 4 performance only fueled the fire of his critics:

  • Points: 8
  • Rebounds: 9
  • Assists: 7
  • Minutes Played: 46

Those are the numbers of a role player, not a superstar named LeBron James. The irony of this is that it’s been James giving the pre-game inspiration speeches. Wade has done his part, Bosh has even stepped up, where is LeBron?

He checked himself out of that game 4 much like he did towards the end of his run in Cleveland. How can you preach to your team about leaving it all on the court with numbers like that? He must do better. His legacy depends on it now.

He wants to be the next Michael Jordan, just not the one we are thinking. There will never be another Michael Jordan,the Basketball Player. However, there is room for another Michael Jordan, the superstar athlete / business mogul and that is what James has his focus on.

What James has yet to fully realize is that with that label, comes heavy responsibility. On this team while he does not have to be the man, he does have to be a superstar.

He’s 6’8 and 250 pounds and can get from one end of the court to the other quicker than most. He has natural talents that are above his peers and maybe that baffles even him at times. He’s a more modern day Magic on the court than he is Jordan, just stronger and faster.

 If James does not want to be the man on the team, that’s fine. However, he can’t run away from the spotlight either. It’s the 4th quarter of the NBA Finals, or as Magic Johnson phrased it for his Lakers in the 80’s … “It’s Winning Time”. This spotlight is created for the superstars. When James stepped on that platform with Wade and Chris Bosh in the summer of 2010, this is what came with that exclusive membership.

The Miami Heat have a luxury that every other team does not. They don’t just have 1 Superstar, they have 2 in James and Wade. These are not just superstars, they are the elite superstars. They have the best 3rd option in the league right now in  Bosh. Eric Spoelstra even has a luxury that other head coaches don’t have, Pat Riley.

James has the opportunity to accomplish his goal. He says the individual awards can go out the window if he can win a championship. He’s spent a whole year just trying to fit in and not take the spotlight for himself. We’ve seen him be dominant in flashes and we’ve also seen him be more passive than we’d like to see.

In the 4th quarter of Game 4, Miami held a nine point lead they should have never gave away. James was on the court only in the physical form, his presence was not felt at all.There are moments in a game where you expect your superstar to dominate a possesion. James deferred every moment presented to him in game 4. The result was a loss and it leads us all to June 9th, 2011 and game 5 of the Finals.

The league is quick to look for the next Magic or Jordan. Dirk Nowitzki’s great playoff run this season has opened the door to Larry Bird comparisons. LeBron does not have to be the next anybody. He deserves to have the right to be the first LeBron James. His off the court accomplishments are growing, and they’ll only grow more if he adds a championship to his legacy. He can’t do that as a role player or as anybody’s sidekick. He must be a superstar.

If Miami does lose game 5, the series isn’t over. They have the final 2 games on their home court. Let’s instead look at this scenario, what if LeBron James has another poor performance? What if Dallas ends up winning the championship?

He signed with Miami for this moment. He’s risked credibility to his name and brand for this moment. He left his hometown team for this moment. Time is beginning to run out on LeBron James to show everyone that for all he’s been through to reach this moment, it was worth it.

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About Tony R. of J'Ville
Current Events, Entertainment, Fashion, Music, Sports ... Celebrating A Negative Energy-Free Lifestyle. Welcome To Suite78 (The J'Ville Group Blog)

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