It is no secret that LeBron James is probably the most overly-criticized athlete in the history of sports. LeBron has had to battle with high expectations since high school and through his 9 year career in the NBA. Yet he is 28 years old with 3 NBA Finals appearances, 1 NBA championship, and 4 MVP awards. I am personally guilty of criticizing LeBron but it has always been justified because he is a superstar and arguably one of the 10 greatest players in NBA history and he has had a few blunders in his career but today I am on his defense.
LeBron James is good friends with Kevin Durant and they are both superstars in this league but Kevin Durant is much more respected by the media and far less scrutinized than LeBron James has been throughout his career. Russell Westbrook’s season ended in the 1st round of the playoffs when he tore his MCL thus leaving Kevin Durant as the lone leader and consistent scoring option for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Now that the Thunder find themselves down 3-1 in their series against the Memphis Grizzlies people are saying that there is too much weight on Kevn Durant’s shoulders. So Kevin Durant is getting sympathy for being the only superstar on a team full of average-to-mediocre talent? LeBron was in that same position in Cleveland but instead of sympathy he got scrutiny.
Kevin Durant is 24 years old and lost in the NBA Finals with a team consisting of James Harden and Russell Westbrook, together those are 3 of the best 15 players in the NBA and they lost to LeBron James’ Miami Heat in 5 games. LeBron James was 22 when he and the Cavaliers lost in the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs in 4 games. But instead of having superstar-caliber talent on his team, LeBron was surrounded by players like Daniel “Boobie” Gibson, Eric Snow, Drew Gooden, and Donyell Marshall. I’m sorry but Michael Jordan would struggle winning a game in the Finals with that roster; especially at 22 years of age.
I say all of this to say that although LeBron may deserve heavy criticism at times, he shouldn’t be the only superstar that is held to such high standards.