Weeks before the NBA Finals, the Greatest of All-Time talk was at a fevered pitch.
You couldn’t get away from it. It was the hottest debate topic in the barbershop, on sports-talk radio and the sports debate shows on cable.
You had the Michael Jordan people dug in, holding onto His Airness’ perfection in the Finals – 6-0 and six Finals MVP.
On the other side was the LeBron James’ fans. They were fueled by what James accomplished in last years Finals, being the first to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win. Plus, he delivered Cleveland its first NBA title.
There were many that believed LeBron could overtake MJ with a championship over the loaded Golden State Warriors that included Kevin Durant.
But the G.O.A.T. talk is over and done with, at least for now.
Not only did LeBron and the Cavs not win, the Warriors handled them easily in five games.
The epic battle most thought they were going to see never materialized. In fact, this trilogy was as bad as Hangover 3.
Instead, LeBron – who became the first player to average a triple-double in the Finals – lost again. He hass now lost the most NBA Finals of any former MVP.
LeBron is now 3-5 in the NBA Finals. That’s hardly G.O.A.T worthy.
The Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a 3-1 deficit for the first time in NBA Finals history and brought the city of Cleveland their first championship since 1964. Let’s take an in-depth look back at the classic 7 game series between the 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.
And that’s not to say that Finals wins are the only thing that matters when it comes to determining the best player ever in a particular sport. Of course, there is a lot more that goes into the equation.
But it’s still hard to overlook what happens on the biggest stage against the best competition.
There, James just doesn’t measure up.
The LeBron people will use the excuse that he faced better teams than Jordan, they want to throw out his 2007 loss to the San Antonio Spurs because he was young and his team wasn’t very good.
Worse, they try to ignore the fact that James altered and manipulated the league when he formed that super team in Miami. It got him four straight trips to the Finals, but just two rings.
In all, LeBron has three rings and has enjoyed a great career.
Deep down, however, the NBA isn’t better in the LeBron Era. Actually, it’s worse. And LeBron has his fingerprints all over it.
There has always been a parity problem in the NBA. No doubt about it. Only a handful of teams have won most of the championships for a 30-year run, starting in 1983.
But with James and his collusion, there are only two and a half teams (Spurs being the half) that honestly have a shot to win the NBA title in the next three or four years.
The Cavs and Warriors were the first two teams to meet in the NBA Finals three years in a row in the history of the Association. It could easily be three more years for a total of six.
That’s bad for the league, if not in the spirit of competition. The rest of NBA America can’t be happy knowing their teams have no shot to win even before the season starts.
That’s the ironic thing about James losing to the Warriors super team. LeBron started the trend and now has fallen victim to it.
Think about it this way. LeBron started My Space. The Warriors started Facebook. They beat James at his own game.
James, with his ring chasing antics, has damaged the NBA, not elevated it. There’s a good chance that Durant would have never left OKC had James never left Cleveland in search of an easier path to a title.
Instead, James made it acceptable, noble.
For that, LeBron got to see Durant join a team that had already won a championship without him. Worse, Durant was the Finals MVP in leading Golden State over LeBron’s Cavs.
LeBron fans, don’t fret. James is his own man and doesn’t have to be linked to other great NBA players before him.
James had another monster game, going for 41 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers fell to the Golden State Warriors in the clincher, 129-120. Which players owned the night? Catch up on all the top individual performances around the league in the Top Performers series.
You don’t have to talk about James and put Jordan in the conversation.
James sealed his legacy forever – last year. He did something NO ONE has ever done in the NBA.
It was an epic comeback for the ages. Plus, it gave the city of Cleveland its first championship in 52 years.
James is great, just not the G.O.A.T. And there’s nothing wrong with that.