Flash forward – is it 5 years ago?

LeBron James is in an interesting and enjoyable phase of his career: the “I will do whatever it takes to win even when I literally have to drag my team to wins” era.  Five years ago the Heat asked him to do the same thing at the start of his astounding prime, and now, despite all the extra mileage on his legs, the Cavs are asking him to do the same.  Basketball wise it makes sense to ride the greatest player of his generation (and probably #3 or 4 all time) but he is no longer a young 26 year old.  However, due to the massive amount of injuries and the loss of Kevin Love, LeBron is going into the Jordan ’96 portion of his game.  Even when he shoots badly or is a subpar defender he has to do just enough to get the Cavs the win and not surprisingly, he is managing to gut it out game after game.  Sometimes the things he does are spectacular and we as fans suddenly remember, and are stunned, that Bron is in fact only 30.  His block on Derrick Rose with the Cavs leading by two was a huge play by a big time player and completely swung the momentum of the series.  LeBron and his staggering iq of the game have turned him into what we have always envisioned he would become: a force of nature in the low post, a physical freak on defence and a player who is literally unstoppable in transition.  He is a devastating player and crunch time killer who thrives on pressure and as he put it recently, “just put the ball in my hands and I will win it”.

What must it be like to be fans of an opposing team and have to see LeBron on the court.  Psychologically it must be shattering, knowing he can take over and will his team to victory.  He no longer cares about home court or who he has to play because he truly knows what it takes to win.  It drives him now, it consumes him.  Like Jordan or Bird or Magic or Duncan it is what matters most to him.  We should enjoy this LeBron because like all those who came before him, he won’t be around forever.