LeBron James lives in a fascinating world in which the failure to complete a rare three-peat is treated with the same mockery as a contestant on ABC’s Wipeout ripping a hole in their pants on their expedition through the comical network television obstacle course or a Jeopardy contestant who owes Alex Trebek money after the Final Jeopardy question.
We laugh, point and create forced memes.
However, such is life for the King. If Bleacher Report were to follow up its animated Game of Thrones NBA playoffs preview spoof, James would inevitably be written into King Joeffrey’s role (insert choking puns here). After all, based on the public outcry James recorded the worst 28.2 points on 57.1% shooting, 7.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2 steals a game average in a box score in NBA Finals history.
He’s also the lead character in a 24/7 game of What Would Jordan Do?
Everything James does has to be framed in the prism of Michael Jordan.
Each pass leads to hisses and snickers from the Twitter gallery that would immediately harken back to the Jordan era nostalgia.
Dunks are treated with a shrug.
Every late miss sires a YouTube link to Jordan’s greatest game winners.
And every failed three-peat bid is a reason to mention ’93 and ’98.
The Heaterade grew stronger with each passing season and the predictability of the memes was almost as repetitive as Miami’s offensive sets. It was brutal watching James inititat the offense from the top of the key while also having to create for himself as well.
Ultimately, San Antonio sent James off into the offseason and possibly the next chapter of his NBA life with three consecutive losses. The only rings James will be hearing about this offseason is the one ringing in his ears after the four game TKO.
Chris Bosh’s reverse engineering from an All-Star power forward into a stretch-four has been the inverse of James’ conversion into a low post scorer. Game 5 was just another example of how the expansion of his range has degenerated into perimeter shooting OCD
Bosh guaranteed Heat were winning Gm 5, then fired up a slew of errant 3's/long 2's. 13 pts were his contribution pic.twitter.com/AqPJlodvLx
— DJ Meta Dunson (@CerebralSportex) June 16, 2014
Bosh is better than most of the alternatives available at his position, but he doesn’t exhibit the necessary productivity of a max-contract worthy power forward anymore.
Amazingly enough, the star who has avoided the derision of social media has been Dwyane Wade.
The immediate question to be asked in the wake of witnessing the dramatic deterioration of Wade is whether he can reanimate for one final run at the a ring. Wade’s gotten up more often than he’s fallen down, but all bets are off after 2015 when he’ll be negotiating a Life Alert into his contract.
Wade’s Crayola Box of 64 postgame outfits get roasted regularly on Twitter, but that was the most liveliest he looked on Sunday.
So much was invested financially into the Big Three that there wasn’t much else to splurge on spry free agents.
They were enough for the first three years, however, they’ve looked more and more decrypt with each passing season.
The Heat have mid-level exception at their disposal this summer but that’s pothole cement for a sinkhole in their roster.
Once it became apparent that Wade was going to make as much of an impact as Boris Diaw, James became the fulcrum of the offense, while his four teammates froze in place. For Wade, that paucity of energy extended to the defensive end as well.
Playing nearly an extra season’s worth of playoff games has only made things more difficult.
After a four-year excursion through the East. Winter may be coming for the Miami Heat–espeially if Carmelo Anthony joins forces with Derrick Rose on the Chicago Bulls.
The Heatles were a trio seemingly hatched with a silver spoon in their mouths. Born on third base, crossing home plate was the expectation and anything short would draw the ire of fans and detractors alike.
As a result of their hubris, the two Finals defeats were celebrated more vigorously than their championship triumphs. Not since the Buffalo Bills were Super Bowl runner-ups four years in a row has a title loser been immortalized in ignominy like this. It's even rarer for a two-time champion to be treated like the red headed stepchild of NBA dynasties.
Instead of the seven game battle we anticipated the Heat and Spurs would wage, with one going out in a blaze of glory, a faulty A/C and tightened leg muscles betrayed James in Game 1. In Games 3 through 5, Kawhi Leonard heated up on the offensive end while maintaining his defensive intensity and led the charge to unseat Miami.
It was fitting that a 22-year-old was named Finals MVP on a team praised for its Dad-itude because the Heat's "more athletic" roster is devoid of young talent with considerable upside.
Four years after the King’s proclamation of a 4, 5 or 6 championship dynasty, the time may have come for fans to assemble the Heat’s funeral pyre.
It may seem premature, but the writing, nay, the hieroglyphics are on the wall as Ray Allen, Birdman Andersen, Wade, Udonis Haslem and Rashard Lewis creep further away from their 40s and age at accelerated paces. Shane Battier has played his final NBA game and Greg Oden, who was a non-factor all season, should be applying for AARP membership.
After getting torched in these Finals, the Heat are lying supine waiting for a possible offseason exodus to take place. If James thought, AT&T Center was sizzling for Game 1, he may want to apply some higher spv factor suntan lotion for what awaits him this summer.