From an individual standpoint, LeBron James was incredible in the NBA Finals. Unfortunately, at this point in his career, he’s only judged by championships. In that regard, he failed this season. While LeBron understands the burden and responsibility of being the best player in the world, he’s also okay with winning two titles in four NBA Finals trips with the Heat.
Facing elimination last night, LeBron told his teammates in the pre-game huddle to “follow my lead.” He kept his word as Miami raced out to a 22-6 lead thanks to 17 points from LeBron in the first quarter:
LeBron was ready to lead, but his teammates weren’t up to the task of following him. With little help from his supporting cast, the Spurs shrugged off a jittery start, overwhelming the Heat over the next three quarters on their way to clinching the title.
As transcribed by Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk, LeBron put some perspective on the loss after the game:
“You know, we went to four straight Finals in four years. You know, we’re not discrediting what we were able to accomplish in these four years. We lost one, we won two, and we lost another one. (We’ll) take 50 percent in four years in championships any day. Obviously, you want to win all of them, but that’s just the nature of the game. You win some; you lose some. You’ve just got to come back the next year and be better as an individual, as a team, and go from there.”
People will be quick to criticize LeBron for saying he’s okay with winning just two titles; the greatest player in the world should not be happy about anything unless he’s accepting a championship trophy on the podium. You can have your opinion about LeBron’s personality and approach towards basketball, but also consider this:
@KingJames is now 7-7 in elimination games averaging 31.9 ppg 10.1 rpg 6.4 apg
— Kevin Cottrell Jr. (@SportsVentz) June 16, 2014
Last night, James put up 31 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks in 41 minutes. In the Finals, he averaged 28.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and shot 57.1 percent from the field. Before Game 5, LeBron spoke about needing to do more, when in fact, he was already doing quite a bit. The Spurs were simply playing at a very high level, one which few teams in history could have thwarted.
If you’re upset by LeBron’s perspective on winning two titles in four years, that’s completely fine. Just don’t confuse it with LeBron conceding defeat. Let’s also remember how great he was in these Finals, despite getting steamrolled by a superior Spurs squad.
(presser video via YouTube user Top 5)
What do you think?
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