Rizal Memorial Coliseum
June 18, 2015
The Science of Backing Up Greatness
LeBron James claimed he’s the best player in the planet.
The problem? He couldn’t win another championship with his claim as the Golden State Warriors shut his mouth with a six-game NBA Finals series win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Yes, he averaged with triple-double numbers in that series. Not undermining it, but you can put Russell Westbrook in there and he can produce monster numbers the same way.
So don’t give me that garbage that numbers don’t lie. Championship trophies don’t.
I will name some legends who did.
Michael Jordan knows he’s the greatest but he didn’t claim it. He just showed the world why–by going six of six in the finals and probably eight straight if he hadn’t semi-retired and went with his fling with baseball in the middle of those three-peat feats.
Tim Duncan never bragged but he won five championships in six trips in the Finals.
Bill Russell? He’s an enigma and an introvert. Never talked that much and won 11 titles.
Larry Bird has three and could have won more if not for Magic Johnson.
Magic? He has five and could have won more if not for Bird.
Jerry West has one title in eight finals appearance as he was unfortunate enough to live in the Bill Russell era. Never boasted of his greatness.
LeBron James lost four of his six finals stints and claims to be the best player in the planet today. He tried to be like Magic last year with the Spurs and got humiliated. He tried to be like Kobe and Jordan against the Warriors this season and we all know what happened? Heck, he couldn’t even play with cramps in Game One of the Spurs series last season, unlike Jordan and Kobe who had worst injuries and still played in the most crucial situations.
James will have his place up there with the greatest of greats someday. That is as certain as the sun will set tonight and rise tomorrow. But for now, his legacy is defined by how he couldn’t walk the talk and back his claim. Because being great is not just all about how many points you scored, how many rebounds you grabbed, how many assists you set or by any numbers. It is all about inspiring your teammates and carrying your team.
On your back.
Not with your mouth.
Follow me on Twitter: @JoeySVillar