Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista
As much as the rest of the league despises LeBron James for deciding to go to Miami, I have to say why I think people should not blame him for doing so. Again I go back to one of my favorite players and analysts of all time: Charles Barkley. Some years back I distinctly remember him telling Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith, “Oh I’m willing to kill both of YOU for a championship.” For a second Johnson and Smith didn’t laugh because I think they realized the grain of truth in it for Barkley, that he wasn’t joking.
That’s the reason why people love him as a sportscaster he was like that when he played. The guy was fearless. I also remember him saying, “Shut your pie hole Dirk, they don’t have brothers in Germany!” That was a couple seasons ago when Dirk got tired of the accusation that the Mavs choked in the playoffs.
When I was a kid Barkley seemed like a freak of nature. He was barely 6’4” but was very wide bodied, over 260 lbs but he had incredible almost unbelievable leaping ability, speed, quickness and strength. Other players would literally bounce off him. The rest of the league was just plain scared of him and easily the top 50 greatest players of all time. And yet, he didn’t win a championship. He was one of those guys that fell into the category of NOT winning a championship. No matter how hard he tried especially late in his career when he realized time was running out, he went to Phoenix and even Houston just trying to chase the dream and came up short.
In LeBron’s case he saw a genuine opportunity to go for the championship by joining Bosh and Wade in Miami. He didn’t HAVE TO kill anybody. He gave 6 seasons of himself to try and do it in Cleveland without success. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for players to wield the destiny of creating and shaping a team the way that Lebron, Bosh and Wade did. LBJ and Bosh could very easily fall into that category of being one of the greatest NOT to win a championship. The list is long: Karl Malone, John Stockton, Dominique Wilkins, Reggie Miller, Patrick Ewing and on and on.
Now that LBJ is IN Miami, should we blame him for NOT winning the championship that was his reason to leave in the first place? My answer is still NO. Dirk Nowitzki was in the very same position that he is now in 2006. The loss now gives him and the team even more fire to get their acts together. Everyone is growing, learning and improving even ‘Spo’, Eric Spoelstra, their half Filipino coach!
Although this was the second time that LBJ has made it to the finals and lost. LeBron’s advantage is that he’s just a little over 26 years old. He has a lot of time to work the kinks in Miami. I believe they are just a player or a season away from winning it all. They may even be back in the Finals to win it all sooner than the 5 years it took Dallas to come back since 06.
When you play the blame game you take away the credit from the Mavs. Jason Kidd was able to explain how they won. He was asked what made them different from the Heat, “I think adversity. We got a great start an MVP type season and then we lose Caron (Butler) and Dirk. So everybody wrote us off but ourselves. Goin through that period where we lost 6 in a row. We looked at each other and said we gotta find a way coz those two aren’t going back soon. The guys stepped up and we turned it around. Just going through the journey of those injuries made us a better team. We had to do a line up change. When we did a line up change during the finals and we didn’t skip a beat. We just kept playing. It shows the character of this team no matter how old you are. We understood how to play the game. We didn’t take shots when 3 or 4 guys are on you; we just made the extra pass. We didn’t care who put the ball in the basket.”