A Grantland.com Review

Bill Simmon’s ambitious new website, Grantland.com, has been up and running for nearly a month – just how well has it done?

When the new project launched to a ton of fanfare – including a high profile piece about Simmons in the New York Times Magazine – I was very excited.  I should admit at this point that I am a huge Simmons fan.  I read and re-read both of his books and actively follow his columns.  I listen to his podcasts.  His irreverent take on sports through fandom really appeals to me. 

So far, I have enjoyed Grantland.com immensely.  I have watched Grantland a little like a parent, watching their toddler run around, seeing them fall and then anxiously awaiting the response.  Is the kid going to cry?  Or simply stand up after a second and start laughing all over again? 

The staff writers – all of whom have moved to Grantland, from somewhat lofty positions such as Esquire / GQ etc. –  have put out a variety of interesting pieces on an astounding number of different topics.  However…there are a few things about Grantland that are very puzzling:

1) The timing of the launch – Why would a 70% Sports / 30% Entertainment website launch at the start of the “Dog Days of Summer”?  From an entertainment standpoint, it makes sense as the atrocious summer blockbuster season provides a lot of fodder.  From a sports standpoint?  No sense at all.  The site caught the tail end of the NBA and NHL Finals but not much else.  Now we have regular season baseball…and a running diary of Wimbeldon?  Really?  The timing could not be worse.  Simmons and co. would have been better off waiting for September or October when the NFL, NBA and NHL return.  They also have a serious columnist called “The Masked Man” who is writing about wrestling…and not the Olympic kind.  (However…if there are lockouts in the NBA and NFL perhaps Simmons anticipated no football or basketball to effectively kill his new venture before it had a chance through a lack of material.  At least now he has a chance to hook people before that happens). 

2) A hectic pace of Simmons articles that cannot be maintained – Let’s face it: this is Simmon’s baby.  He runs the show and the opening few weeks has featured a shockingly heavy dose of Simmons articles.  More columns in fact than he released in the first half of the year combined.  Simmons knows he is the major draw for the site and has smartly played up the most bankable asset of the site: Himself.  There is no way, however, that he can maintain the pace he has set himself.  Usually he publishes every 10 days or so.  Now he is putting out new columns 3-4 times a week.  His writing will suffer, the content will become stale and the ideas will dry up.  Simmons is popular because his column is like a treat to be devoured when it arrives.  Now there is a chance too many columns will equal too much of a good thing.  Additionally – what happens when he goes back to 1-2 columns a week?  Does the site collapse?  None of the other pieces has hooked me as much as his work has.

3) Writers not sticking around / Too many writers – Can Simmons afford to keep the incredible level of talent he has stocked around Grantland?  Every day there seems to be another new writer contributing a piece: Chuck Klosterman, Alex Pappademas, Chris Jones…the list goes on and on.  Can there be too much of a good thing?  Three weeks in I find myself logging on to the site, scanning the list of articles and maybe clicking on one or two.  I am certainly not reading every word. 

4) The necessity of the whole thing – ESPN.com is a great site.  Page 2 is their Culture / Sports hub.  Did they really need to bring up the expense of another site?  The whole thing has a “this was built into Simmons contract” sort of feel, not to mention my brother’s assessment: “Simmons wants to make more money”. 

I will keep going to Grantland, but time will tell if the quality and quantity of articles can be maintained.

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Miami Thrice Title Quest Diary – June 28, 2011

A couple of weeks have gone by and now seems an appropriate time to adequately reflect on the Miami Heat’s inagural Post-Decision Season. 

There were a lot of positives, and these have been massively overshadowed by the fact that the team handed lost the 2011 Title to the retirement-home-ready aging Dallas Mavericks.  A few moments from the Finals stand out to me as pivotal to the Heat going forward:

1) Wade takes charge when LeBron cannot – Wade stepped up majorly in Games 3 – 5 for the Heat and his veteran leadership will be instrumental going forward.  LeBron may be the most talented / best player on the team but Wade is the heart.  Without LeBron they cannot make it to the Finals; without Wade they cannot possibly win it.

2) Chris Bosh showing true emotion – LBJ shrugged off Game 6, Wade left everything on the floor and when the two of them showed up for their dapper joint press conference neither showed much emotion.  Bosh?  Bosh showed more than anyone gave him a right to.  He wanted to win this title and played as hard as anyone on the floor.  Naturally, in the wake of the loss there has been speculation Bosh does not fit into the team as well as other pieces would.  Keep in mind this team came within a couple of  bounces of winning an NBA Championship.  Bosh is not going anywhere, and he is only going to get better as he becomes more comfortable with his teammates.  Was his first major loss devestating for him?  Maybe Wade / LeBron have felt the heartbreak before and can compartmentalize it better.  Seeing Bosh break down gave me a ton of respect for him going forward.  My money is on no member of the Heat playing harder next season.  Like LeBron, Bosh is going to be motivated to come out and play the best basketball of his life after a summer of hard training. 

3) The Charge Changed the Series – Game 5 won the series for the Dallas Mavericks, and it was a charge that broke LeBron completely.  To refresh your memory: late in Game 5 Miami made a strong comeback behind DWade.  LeBron (who had not taken it to the hoop all night) got the ball with a chance to turn the game for Miami.  He drove to the hoop,  Tyson Chandler, out of nowhere, stepped up a second quicker than LeBron and was knocked over.  The ball went in.  LeBron began to stride to the line for his plus 1.  3 point play.  Welcome back LBJ.  My friend Adub and I were watching and getting on LBJ to drive.  We were ready to give up on him: then he made this play: 

“Whoa, can’t speak too soon. “ Adub exclaimed. 

“About time.” I stated.  It was one of those plays that reminded you (and in the finals these plays were fleeting) that LBJ is as good as any who have ever come before him.  

Then the call: Charge.  Game, set, match Dallas Mavericks. 

After that point, LeBron did not want to drive.  On the next possession he settled for an off-balance, fade-away three – with Jason Terry guarding him.   As I have written before, I believe this will be good for LeBron and will help him focus on improving his all-around game.  Now he will become consumed by the chase, by the title that slipped through his grasp.  This was his chance and he thought Miami would win, no question.  They did not.  He will be defined not by his epic disappearing act, but rather by how he responds to the loss. 

Will he become the win at all costs player we believe lies dormant inside him?  Or will the unbalance between skill / drive remain in control? 

Thank you 2010 / 2011 Miami Heat for hours of debate and entertaining games. 

Thank you Mario Chalmers for proving that you belong and for becoming the 4th Heatle (just a little late but we will take it).

Thank you DWade for putting the team on your back during the Finals and playing as hard as you possibly could.

Thank you Chris Bosh for caring so much.  Thank you for getting better, and thank you for quietly finding your role with the team while other struggled so mightily. 

Thank you LeBron James for the Boston / Chicago series – we are all witness to the greatness that lies inside you, now you just need to translate that into the fuel to win a title.  Let it consume you LeBron and be better.  Disappear into the gym and work on your game until you come out an unstoppable basketball machine.  Let all the anger carry you to a title next year. 

Thank you Lebron / Wade / Bosh / Assorted Vets for the 2011/2012 NBA Title.

 

Dog Days of Summer – What is a Sports Fan to Do?

The Dog Days of Summer are upon us: all those fantastic playoff series that captivated and entertained us are over.  If you are a sports fan, there are few options left to get your fix.  You can:

A) Watch baseball – this comes with a caveat however, I am unsure if I can watch 162 of anything (excluding episodes of The Wire).  Additionally, baseball does not get exciting enough for me until October.

B) Catch up on 30 for 30 – If you missed the amazing ESPN series during its run, it is now available on DVD.  A few I cannot recommend highly enough: Into the Wind; Guru of Go; June 17, 1994; The Best that Never Was; The Two Escobars. 

C) Read some really good sports books.  My recommendations:

Basketball: The Jordan Rules by Sam Smith (the best book out there on Jordan, set against the 1991 season); The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons (A massive examination of all things NBA); When the Game was Ours by Jackie MacMullin (Written with Magic and Larry, this entertaining and easy to read account goes down easy). 

Hockey: The Game by Ken Dryden (Not your typical beach read, might want to save this one for a cold, contemplative situation…); Hockey!? by The Cover Corner (estimated release date: 2030 but it will be a beach read, a mid-winter read, a vacation book…)

Baseball: Love Me, Hate Me by Jeff Pearlmam (Barry Bonds examined from all angles, may alter your perception of Ol’Big Noggin); Little League Confidential by Bill Geist (One of the five best books I have ever read, this is a hilarious, insightful and heartbreaking look inside the world of Little League). 

Football: Boys Will be Boys by Jeff Pearlman (Great look inside the Cowboys Dynasty); Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger (Wow – the only way to describe this book); Bringing the Heat by Mark Bowden (Want to experience everything a pro football player does?  This is one of the best “inside a season” books I have ever read). 

Misc Sports: Open by Andre Agassi (A life changing book: You too could be bald, past 30 and still conquer the tennis world); Blind Descent by James Tabor (About the Bird / Magic of the Caving world); Diving into Darkness by Philip Finch (Cave diving definitely fits into the upper echelons of “extreme sport”, this is one of its most tragic stories, told in pulse pounding detail); Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (The Granddaddy of Climbing Mt. Everest books, a harrowing, tragic tale).

That should keep you busy for a little while.

D) Read, ponder and debate the random posts from various sports Websites, such as the “NBA Ultimate Fantasy Draft” from SI.com – This draft illustrates perfectly for me the differences between two players who made big moves to new teams during the 2010/2011 NBA campaign: Melo and LeBron.  If 10 Teams were drafting any player in history at any point in their career when would LeBron be taken?  Early first round?  Late fourth?  For me, LBJ would be a top 15 selection, which would place him in the mid-2nd round.  In this draft he went in the 2nd round, 18th pick.  Had the Heat won a title this season, I believe he would have been a first round pick without question.  In the “Season Simulator” however, LBJ absolutely dominates the league (league does include #1 Pick Michael Jordan), and leads his team to the Finals. 

The bigger question: Where does Melo, one the most gifted offensive players ever, get picked?  Second round?  Third?  Fourth?  Fifth?  Melo was finally picked in the 10th round, the 98th player taken.  For me, this perfectly illustrates the value of LeBron over that of Melo.  LeBron instantly turns any team into a contender, in an All-Time Team league he dominates and wins MVP.  Melo is regulated to coming off the bench to score in bunches. 

Not the way we expected it to play out when the two took the league by storm. 

Hopefully that gives sports fans something to do over the summer…at least until the baseball season heats up. 

Note: If two major sports (NBA / NFL) go into a lockout next season we will have to revisit this scenario, and next time there will likely be knitting involved. 

 

 

 

Miami Thrice Title Quest Diary – June 18, 2011

Almost a full week has passed since LeBron James disappeared in the NBA Finals and handed the Championship to the Dallas Mavericks.  Many people have rushed to pass judgement on LeBron, saying things like “he does not have it” or “he will never win a title”.  Pretty strong statements about the best player in the world who has not yet had his 27th birthday. 

Mostly, I think it is because we desperately want to understand what could possibly have happened in the Finals.  He was not the same LeBron.  Dallas taunted him mercilessly and all he did was regress further.  Jordan did not relent, nor did Kobe (until this season…), Bird and Magic only relented when they could not physically go any farther.  LeBron relented at the near-peak of his powers.  Astounding.  More and more, though, I have been thinking about this.  I do not believe this Houdini-act will define LeBron – rather I think his response to the first real adversity he has ever faced will

What does that look like?  What does LeBron have to do?  My four point plan:

1) Get consumed by the loss and use it to fuel next season – Why was Michael Jordan the greatest athlete we will ever see?  He was driven by one thing only: to be the absolute best.  How did he want to accomplish his lofty goals?  Win titles.  More titles than any other player of the modern era (excluding, inexplicably Robert Horry).  He won more than Magic, more than Bird, more than Kareem.  MJ was consumed by winning.  Later in his career, so too was Kobe (but only, really and truthfully to tie MJ).  LeBron?  Not so much.  He seemed to be on the right track with his move to the Heat, but now it simply seems like he thought it would be easy.  Perhaps he was under the false impression the trophy was handed out at the Heat’s fake “celebration” one day after signing Wade, Bosh and LeBron.  LBJ needs to focus on winning and winning alone.  He cannot simply talk about winning and “doing whatever it takes”, he actually has to back it up.  Remember, LeBron, you can drive on anyone and score as well as anyone in history.  Never forget it again.

2) Work out and develop a go-to offensive move – MJ had the fadeaway, Dirk has the lean in jumper, Kobe has a variety of shots, Duncan has the bank-shot, Kareem had the skyhook, Bird had the “f u” shot (from anywhere).  What do you have LeBron?  Put your head down and get to the rim like a freight train.  Effective…until it is not.  While his shooting improved last season, LBJ needs desperately to gain a go to move.  With one?  Unstoppable.  Without one?  Slightly less unstoppable. 

3) Come out with something to prove, and prove it – Never stop playing hard.  Ever.  Destroy people.  #1 on your list?  Jason Terry / DeShawn Stevenson / Dirk Nowitzki.  Put up 60, maybe 70 on the Mavs.  Do not even worry about passing the ball, DWade / Bosh will understand.  Then…keep doing it.  Remember how you made Derrick Rose seem mortal?  Do that.  Every night.  And then all the way through the Finals.

4)  Work out “the Secret” with Wade and Bosh – You remember the Secret don’t you LeBron?  The way you win a title?  You have to make your teammates better, but you also have to learn how to play with them.  Completely.  If the three of you…plus some new additions…can figure it out, the dynasty begins (one year late). 

That is all you have to do LBJ.  Is it going to be easy?  Not a chance.  My brother made a great point and it definitely applies here: you have to learn to lose in order to win.  (Sure he was applying it to the Canucks but it works here too).  You have tasted failure, and now must rise out of the ashes to victory.  To do that, you need to reach the ceiling we have all been waiting for you to touch since you came into the league 9 years ago.  Let this season define your legacy LeBron, respond with true fire this time and focus on the singular goal of a title.  Whatever it takes. 

On another note: The Miami Thrice Title Quest Diary has concluded its first year!  Titleless of course.  Next season, the Diary will continue under a new format to keep from getting stale.  Consider it Part 2 in the eventual book release.  This time, it will be the same content you have come to love but in letter format under a section titled “Letters to LeBron”. 

Luongo = LeBrongo?

Some people have been tossing around the name LeBrongo for the Canucks embattled goaltender. Did giving up 20 goals in the series doom the Canucks or was it their lack of offense? This demands comparison:
LeBron, also of the epic disappearing act, vanished in the NBA Finals, seemingly unable to do anything against the Dallas defense.
LeBrongo was the most visible, and most watched player in the entire Stanley Cup Finals. He could not have chosen a more public platform on which to melt down. The worst moment: knowing we had no chance in Game 6 to take the Cup in Boston because Luongo could not get out of the net fast enough when Schneider came to replace him.
LeBron should have been raising his first Championship title, but never really put in the effort required to secure it.
Luongo had two great games and one good game in the Stanley Cup Finals…unfortunately you need to win four games.
Luongo will no doubt be the subject of a myriad of trade rumors…the latest: to Tampa for Vinny LeCavalier.
No GM, Coach or President is going to trade the best player on the planet at any time in his career. Collapse or not, LBJ is not going anywhere but back to South Beach.
LeBrongo took his talents away from South Beach…to Vancouver.
Next season will arguably be the biggest season in both their lives. Championship or bust.
No way around it.

To the World, From Vancouver

Dear World,

Sorry.  So, so, so sorry that you had to see us like that.  Not all of us, of course as the few did not represent the many at all.  In case you missed it, a few yahoos came to downtown Vancouver last night just to make it burn, not to quietly contemplate the complete destruction of our hockey team at the hands of the Boston Bruins. 

If you need a final image of Vancouver’s 3rd ever Stanley Cup run, please remember the fans inside Rogers Arena – those who cheered hard for Tim Thomas (and with equal venom for Gary Bettman) because he genuinely deserved the applause.  Let’s face it, pretty tough to win a series when you beat the opposing goaltender 7 times in regulation and 8 times overall. 

Yet, we also cannot ignore what happened afterwards, and we need to aplogize.  Profusely.  Maybe we were not ready for this.  It has been 17 years since we last let out our Canuck related fury and we thought we had grown up.  Evidently that is not the case.  Keep in mind that this was only our third trip to the Cup in our 40 year history, and that we thought we had this one in the bag.  For most people, this lose was inconcievable.  Most fans were simply in complete shock, not exactly the perfect candidates for rioting.  Additionally after the relative peace during the Olympics our city officials felt we could accomodate large crowds massed in designated areas to watch the games.  Two problems emerged:

1) This was not the Olympics, Vancouver alone had a stake in this game.  This time we were not worried about tourists getting caught up, or needing to put our best face forward.

2) The special areas to watch the game – packed with as many as 200,000 people – became ground zero.  In one zone near the CBC Plaza, they did not even show the final whistle as tension rose.

3) We lost.  Badly.

After 1994 the riots were mostly contained to the shopping district, Robson Street, and were mostly perpetrated by people spilling out of the bars.  This time there were 200,000 people standing around snapping pictures as the scene fell completely apart. 

Even those who did not directly contribute to agitating the crowd, or smashing windows, or lighting cars on fire, were just milling about, watching cars burn and getting as close to them as they could to take pictures, or tweet or update their facebook status.  These people were, by standing there, contributing to the situation – gave the complete idiots an audience to perform for. 

And who were these idiots?  Were they people rioting just for rioting’s sake?  Yes, yes they were.  They wanted to put on a show, and then, once the city was buring they turned to looting (IPods, Perfume, Jewellry).  This was a more damaging riot than 1994 because all the rules of order broke down and people were just in it for the looting / plundering by the end.  Maybe they figured they may as well, since law and order had vanished as quickly as our Cup hopes (In fact, we should have seen this coming after Game 5 – I watched a guy do donuts in the middle of the street in front of a restaurant, run a red light and then drive  halfway across the sidewalk, sending people scattering before staggering out of his car.  We were up 3-2 in the series at that point).  There are no excuses;  No valid explanations for the damage we have done to our neighbors, friends and fellow citizens. 

Some of the messages I recieved about the rioting:

My brother, 21, had a firecracker thrown out of a building at him that exploded about three feet away.  He was as angry as I have ever heard him: “Why can’t we lose with some f—–g dignity?  Smoke is billowing over downtown and anyone who is rioting is already a s—-y person”. 

From my dad, who missed the whole thing as he was on a flight to Frankfurt: “Terrible, stuff like that lives on forever.  Not what Vancouver needs to be known for.”

My best friend: “Shamed to be from Vancouver today.” 

That about sums it up completely for me.  1994 lived on like a horrible memory we could never quite purge from the cities conscience.  This topped it.  A cycle of rioting has formed, with each generation remembering the mistakes of the last.  Maybe some kids went into it even before the game started, fueled by alcohol and the insane plan to do something like this, win or lose and make their dark mark in city history.  Mission accomplished, a–hats.  Hope you are really proud of yourselves this brutally hungover morning.  You have made us all look bad through your shameful, immature actions. 

Worst of all you have taken away completely from the accomplishments of the Greatest Canucks team we have had in 40 years of playing this great game.  Now all that we will remember is the riots.  You gave the city more than a black eye, and proved we were still not ready to grow up even after we gained so much. 

We owe the world an apology because our rioters cannot bring the tourists back, or make me want to believe, wholeheartedly in the decency of this city.  You, rioters, have lost the privledge of calling yourselves “Canucks Fans” because once again you showed the world the ugly side of Canadian hockey.  We. Cannot. Stand. To. Lose.

Moreover, we cannot lose decently. 

So, World, I hereby apologize profusely for what you had to witness last night.  This morning we try and put our city back together, but the trust is broken for the second time.  We wanted to be celebrating with the Cup –  instead we are dealing with the aftermath of our worst nightmare.  You can not hold all of us accountable for the actions of a few, but we all must take responsibility for what happened. 

That is what Canadians do, we apologize and we stand up to take our lumps when we have done something wrong.  As Canadians we always try to do the right thing, so, we will never stop saying we are sorry and trying to make it right.  Maybe you can forgive us – in time.   

There are a lot of things we have to do to set this right – this apology is just step one.  It will be a long road, and deservedly so.  Our team, our country and our world are ashamed of us right now.  Time will help us to reflect and learn from what happened.  Time will help you forgive us, once we get some distance from last night’s regrettable events. 

We are sorry world, we know you will need some time. 

So do we.

Sincerest and deepest regrets,

Vancouver

No words…

More thoughts:

Watching the Bruins celebrate on the ice and then come back to the dressing room for a champagne celebration is the most horrible thing I have ever witnessed.  Feel like I am inside a slaughterhouse – please tell me this is a nightmare?

All that is missing is Alex Burrows tied up on the floor to be bitten repeatedly. 

Brutal.  So heartbreakingly brutal.  It is more horrible than I ever believed it could possibly be.

 

Miami Thrice Title Quest Diary – June 13, 2011

Dallas won the 2011 NBA Title.

Miami, obviously did not.  They could not have asked for a more winnable series: Dirk was contained for 95% of the time (until the final 5 minutes of each game) / For four games the Mavs 3 point shooting was off / Wade and Bosh were playing well. 

There was one missing component, and everyone knows who was unable to rise to the challenge: LeBron James.  He was not the same player he was against Boston or Chicago, and in the end all we have been left with is a mess of contradictions. 

Lebron is not clutch / LeBron was clutch against Chicago and Boston.  LeBron did not want it / LeBron only goal was championship.  LeBron did not show up in the playoffs / LeBron carried the team for the first 3 rounds…

Regardless of how he performed in Game 6, LeBron is going to be crucified for his performance and rightfully so.  He was not there.  For most of the series he was simply absent.  He did not want to be blamed, and passed off the ball but…he is LeBron and he could have turned this series the other way.  LeBron was absent on Defense, absent on offense and absent in spirit.  Everyone and their mother will give you the psychological breakdown: he choked, he could not get it done, he is not the best player, he is not Jordan or Magic or Bird or Kobe (who at 27 cared about as much as Carmelo Anthony does about winning titles).  We have heard all this and more about LeBron.

My take: I dislike comparing players, and no, LeBron is not Magic / Bird or Jordan.  He is not made up of the same stuff as they were because he is from a different generation.  He is LeBron, a prototype.  LBJ wanted to win a title – maybe it was business decision, maybe he genuinely wants one because he has done everything else – but he did not want the pressure of carrying a franchise like Cleveland to it.  He sacrificed money and his identity as Cleveland’s savior for the chance to chase a dynasty with the Heat.  In his first go around, he failed.  And unlike last year you cannot blame this bizarre act on a family member inexplicably sleeping with a fellow NBA player (the latest rumor has led to a Rashard Lewis sighting, and links him to LBJ’s gf Savannah Brinson)  No one gave the Heat a chance to get to this point and they will only get better playing together next year.  They will win a title together, probably a fistful.  This time however:

LeBron did not want to earn it.  He wanted a title but was not sweating, bleeding or dying for it like Nowitizki, Kidd, Wade and Terry.  LeBron did not want to be blamed for a loss, so he deferred to Wade who was having a good series.  He deferred too much, and by the time he tried to come back and dominate he was confused and mired in doubt that he was beyond repair.  With time winding down and the series on the line he played hot potato with the ball.  Jason Terry was guarding him, and going around him like he was a yield sign on the other end.  His defense, so amazing earlier in the playoff run, vanished along with his ability to get to the rim and the foul line.  His late three – taken only when the outcome was beyond a doubt – had me shouting at the TV: why the hell did you not do that earlier!  It was like we were watching bizarro LeBron. 

Then, on top of it all, DeShawn Stevenson called him out and he did nothing about it.  Even in his post-game press conference, he continued to defer by going to the podium with Dwyane Wade, his teammate who put the team on his back but could not carry them through.  Wade can help LBJ learn about the heart of a champion as his was on display all series long.  He hustled after every ball, killed himself on every play and hit every shot they needed him too, even when the passes from LBJ were completely inexplicable.  It kills me somewhat that if LeBron had played his normal game, Miami wins every game in this series by 10 points easy. 

Does this do it for LeBron finally?  Does this loss, finally change him? 

Does he develop a low post move now?  One that will make his offensive arsenal virtually unstoppable?  Does his drive for a ring begin to consume him like it has so many other great players before him?  No title is easy, and LeBron may have thought he was destined to get one, that no matter what he was coming away from this season with a ring.  He did not, again, for the 8th straight season.  He needs to dedicate himself to only winning a ring.  Nothing else matters.  As it stands now, he may be the “best regular season player of all time” – he led a horrible Cleveland team to the finals.  He led them, year after year to the number one seed.  Without him, Miami has no chance of making it to the title – let alone winning it. 

Now?  He has to respond.  His legacy, in my opinion, will not be determined by this series (he is not yet 27 after all) but how he responds to this.  Will he stand up and become the player we all know he can be?  The unstoppable force that leads a team to the a title, the right way, the hard way?  This series, and his disappearing act will haunt him until he does.  And it should.  It should eat him alive until he learns how to use it.  To use that feeling to his advantage like Jordan did, or Kobe did, or Duncan did. 

What should he do

Earn a title, LeBron. 
Want a title, LeBron.

Dedicate yourself only to winning a title, and then work until you cannot work any more to get it.  My hope is that this series lights the fire under LeBron and he finally sees that there are no more shortcuts.  It is desire time, gut check time, and step up time for LeBron.  His legacy is yet to be written, but as he has shown there is only one person who can possibly write it: LeBron James.  Only one person who can possibly stop him: LeBron James. 

Only one person who can possibly win a title for him: LeBron James