Are we a sports blog all of a sudden? I’m easily the most sports-obsessed author here, and even I’m taken aback at how much “King James” has dominated here recently.
I’m still going to pile on. I’m not an NBA fan; for hoops I’m a college guy (Ohio State, of course), and my interest in the NBA is mostly in wanting to see what The Villain can do in Philly. But LeBron is an icon across Ohio, and (as should be obvious) his leaving the Cavs will have a tremendous effect in quite a few areas beyond wins and losses. So I have an opinion, and it very closely mirrors Michael Rosenberg’s.
But James does not have the heart of a champion. He does not have the competitive fire of Jordan, the bull-headed determination of Kobe Bryant, the quiet self-confidence of Tim Duncan, the willful defiance of Isiah or the winning-is-everything hunger of Magic Johnson.
He is an extremely gifted player who wants the easy way out.
And how do we know this?
James said so himself.
2. “We don’t have the pressure of going out and scoring 30 every night or shooting a high percentage.”
Whoa. Hold on there. Scoring 30 a night is too much pressure for one of the five most talented players ever?
Find me another all-time NBA great who would utter those words. Jordan would rather do an adidas commercial than say that. Bryant must have laughed as he heard the so-called “King” say that. Larry Bird? The next time he complains about pressure will be the first. Magic was the greatest team player of the last 40 years, but he was also so competitive that he wanted to play Jordan one-on-one in a promotional event — and this was when Magic had won titles and Jordan had not, so Magic had more to lose.
Great players don’t duck pressure. They embrace it, revel in it, thrive under it. When the pressure is at it’s highest, that is when the great players show their quality. Ohio’s greatest pro athlete isn’t King James; never was. It’s the Columbus Crew’s Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who at 37 years old will still step forward and provide the necessary magic when the pressure is on and it’s most needed. That’s a man who came to a terrible Columbus team in 2007 and turned them into one of the greatest teams in MLS history. That is a champion. That is what separates the great players from the good.
There is no doubt James has tremendous skill. But he’s not a champion. He’s a supporting player. He’s Scottie Pippin, not Michael Jordan.