The Heart of a Champion (or lack thereof)

LeBron James is the most scrutinized NBA player of all-time. LeBron is currently getting the same scrutiny that Peyton Manning and Alex Rodriguez got before they won their championships, only LeBron is getting a heavier dosage than those two. LeBron James is a 3-time MVP now and ever since entering the NBA at the age of 18 he has been compared to the greatest of all-time, Michael Jordan. This being LeBron’s 9th season in the NBA is adding even more pressure on him because Jordan won his first championship in his 7th season and Kobe Bryant won his first championship in just his 4th season. LeBron has often added this pressure upon himself, for instance, after signing with the Miami Heat and joining forces with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, LeBron James said he plans on winning “not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7” championships. When you say something like that you have to play like that is your goal. LeBron more than often takes night off and does not take the game seriously.

Last night, May 15th, in game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against the Indiana Pacers LeBron James had a great night. Lebron scored 29 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, delivered 5 assists, and stole the ball 6 times. If there is one thing LeBron is good at it is filling the stat sheet. I say that because if you did not watch the game and just read those statistics you would think it was not LeBron’s fault that the Heat lost but if you did watch the game then you know very well it is. Without Chris Bosh the Miami Heat were extremely vulnerable because LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both scored 20+ points but the third highest scorer on the Heat was Shane Battier with 5 points. With that said I still blame LeBron for the lost because he’s the  3-time MVP and in the last 3 minutes of the game LeBron missed 3 free throws that would have given his team the lead and when they were down 3 points his coach, Erik Spoelstra, drew up a play for Mario Chalmers to take the game-tying 3 and that says a lot about Spoelstra’s confidence in LeBron but most of all it told me that LeBron does not have the heart of a champion.

I look at the all-time greats like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, and so on and I know for fact they would not allow anyone else on their team to take the last shot, especially if it is a contested shot, that is where superstars shine and I saw LeBron hiding in the shadows. When I saw Mario Chalmers attempt the possible game-tying, buzzer-beating shot I automatically thought of Scottie Pippen in 1994 going against the New York Knicks with 1.8 seconds on the clock. Michael Jordan had retired and the Chicago Bulls were down 2-0 in a best of 5 series against the Knicks in round 2 and the score was tied at 102 with 1.8 seconds on the clock and Phil Jackson drew up a play for Toni Kukoc to score the last shot and Scottie Pippen refused to go on the court. With Michael Jordan gone Scottie Pippen felt there was no reason why the ball would not be in his hands in the final second. Many Chicago Bulls fans were mad at Scottie but he did not care because he had the heart of the champion. Even though Kukoc made the shot and the Bulls won the game Scottie wanted the ball, he did not care if he would make it or not, the star of the team should have the ball in his hands in those situations. LeBron James does not have that mind state which is why I believe LeBron will always just be a regular season champion.

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