Welcome to LeBron’s MJ ’92 Moment

The ’92 Dream Team widely called the greatest collection of professional athletes in history was, without a doubt, Michael Jordan’s team.  At the time he was coming off a second consecutive championship – in which he has slapped around fellow Dream Teamer Clyde Drexler – and was at the apex of his physical abilities.

In 2012 LeBron has won his 1st NBA championship (in his 2nd straight appearence) over fellow Olympic teammates Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook and has never played better than he did this postseason.  He reached a level Kobe never did – a level few others ever have.  LeBron is literally on top of the world and this Continued Dream Team is without doubt his team.  Had he lost the title to Durant it could have caused all kinds of alpha dog problems but he did not.  Instead LBJ so thoroughly dominated the series that he left little doubt who is one of the five best players of all-time.

Now as opposed to the 2008 “Redeem Team” where Kobe, Wade, LeBron and Melo were all in the running for alpha dog – LBJ was still a few years from Miami and Kobe had just lost the NBA Finals while Wade was already a champ – LeBron is clearly the man.  He has never played at a higher level than right now and the Olympic Team is his team.  LeBron is the alpha dog and the best player on the planet and everything will run through him.  The pressure also rests squarely on him as the team is at little more than half strength due to the overwhelming losses of many key players.  James has had to play center at many times during their warmup games (as has Melo) and even playing at half speed he is the best player in the world.

Welcome to LeBron’s MJ Moment (as a younger, stronger guy) where he gets to sit confidently atop the NBA pyramid and atop the Olympic Team.  Is it somewhat fitting that the first NBA Dream Team was led by Jordan and now the last could be led by LeBron?

The symmetry feels right and after the US Team romps through the tournament and LeBron raises his second straight gold medal he will be atop the basketball world and bask in the moment.

His moment.

We might as well get used to it – he is only 27.

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Miami Thrice Title Quest Diary – April 17, 2012

Dear LeBron,

Thank you, dude, for reminding us why you are the best player in the NBA right now.  For a little while we had all forgotten what it was like to see you actually perform in crunch time.  Some of us were scared you would never be able to bring it with the game on the line again.  Then after a season of being completely paralyzed in the last few minutes of each and every game (including the all-star game) for whatever reason you brought it last night.

I could not have been happier – or more relieved to see this kind of performance out of you LBJ.  All season long we have doubted that something like this (scoring the final 17 points of the game to lead the Heat to victory) was still in you.  For much of your time in Miami it has seemed like you were fully contented to coast to several championships by performing only in the first 45 minutes and then leaving any late game heroics to DWade.  You won the game for your team but even if you had come up short last night LeBron I would have been happy.  Just to see you willing to take the shots and score the points in the end of a close game fills my heart with joy.  For many kids growing up today please remember that you are probably the best basketball player any of them will ever see.  They absolutely need to see you play like you did the postseason against Boston and Chicago on a regular basis.

Last night’s game has brought us to a harsh truth LBJ.

The Miami Heat are the NBA’s best team – when DWade is not in the lineup. 

I know, I know, trust me when I say I know.  Wade is the NBA’s Godfather, a man who has pulled the strings of the league and put together one of the best teams ever (on paper) that is ironically much better when he is not fighting in the halfcourt with LeBron for shots.  No player in the NBA has the ability to shape a game like you LeBron.  Whether you decide to dominate from the outset, or take a backseat role, your impact is enormous.  Take the NBA Championship last year – with a semi good game from you at any point in the series, you have a ring.  Instead?  You spent most of the season afraid to do what you have always done in crunch time.  Your ability to maniplulate the game is something unseen since Jordan.  Whenever you step back, so do the Heat.  Whenever you step up?  The Heat rise.  When Wade is on the court, the “my turn” routine sucks the life out of the team and is killing your chance at raising the banner in Miami.

So LeBron, here is the truth: you alone can shape the NBA Playoffs.  Last night was a good preview (I am feverishly crossing my fingers and knocking on the walls) of what you are capable of doing.  With the game, the season and the title on the line you have to be willing to step up and take the shot.  If that fails?  So be it.

Otherwise maybe a trade somewhere in the West would be a good idea?  Your ability to lift subpar teammates would allow you to carry virtually any franchise to title contention.  All along we have doubted that you have “it”.  You frequently tantalize us and then pull back but we know it is in you.  You may have thought running to Miami would make winning easy but here you need to step up even more.  Unless you fully seize the reins from Wade and take over the team, you will forever be a bridesmaid.

And never a bride.

 

 

Letters to LeBron: September 13, 2011

Dear LeBron,

Hope all is well, it was nice to see you at the Jets game the other night.  The game was a good one to see as long as it does not get in the way of your workout schedule. 

I hope the workout schedule is not so taxing that it has stopped you from visiting (among other places I am sure): Asia, Spain, various Caribbean Islands.  After the loss to Dallas I hoped you would gain some serious fire and decide that all you want to do is win no matter the cost.  It had to be a reflective minute where you suddenly have the same revelation as Jordan, Kobe or Duncan – you can put up all the stats you want but winning is truly what counts in the final analysis. 

Whenever the league kicks off the new season (Feb….?) you are certain to have some serious challengers in the East.  Not the Knicks though, Melo has assured that they will never again advance past the first round.  Chicago will be better; and you never know where Dwight Howard is going to end up; Rajon Rondo will probably have two arms this season.  It is good that you spent all that time working out with Hakeem to develop a solid low post game…for the first time in your career.  This has been a hugely encouraging sign, it has to be about winning LeBron no matter what anyone else says.  At the end of the day it is what you have to want and you need to lead by example:

The pool can serve as a metaphor for your career!  Everyone wants you to “make the jump” and become the player we all know you can be.  Eventually, you do jump. 

Hopefully next season as well. 

All the best in your summer workouts,

The World’s Biggest Post-Decision Miami Heat Fan

The LeDream begins…

Welcome to the LeDream scenario for basketball and Miami Heat fans: LBJ is working on his post game with none other than Hakeem “the Dream”. 

For years and years the only real complaint about LeBron’s game has been his lack of a go-to low post move like that of Jordan or Kobe.  Essentially, he is all raw skill and talent at this point: working with Hakeem and learning the “dream shake” could change things a little bit. 

According to this article on SI.com, the LeDream of an unstoppable LeBron is about to begin.  For fellow Heat fans this is a LeDream Come True as LeBron states what every basketball fan has been waiting for him to say for nearly eight years: “Right now I’m focusing on being a better player, working on my game every single day.” 

As if that was not enough, he goes right ahead and continues: “Like I said, the Dallas Mavericks were a great team and they deserved to win that championship. And I’ll just use that as motivation coming into this season”

LeBron…working on his game…using the loss as motivation…wanting to win an Olympic Gold in 2012…it is almost more than I can take – in the best possible way.  I am overcome with joy that the greatest player of his generation (his, Kobe fans, not the past one) is finally becomming unstoppable.   Not only has he said all the right things, but you could pick a worse mentor in the low post game than Hakeem “perhaps the best center of his era” Olajuwon who won two titles with the Rockets.  Hakeem knows what it takes to win and his dream shake left the best of his time in the dust. 

If LeBron were able to suddenly learn how to play the low post game of basketball alongside instead of cruising on his riduculous skill set, the rest of the league (whenever they start playing) is pretty doomed.  Can you picture LeBron unleashing something like this Dream Shake in Game One and the rest of the NBA coming to a full stop with the frantic realization that there is no longer any way to stop him?

Good start LBJ, keep using the loss as fuel for next year. 

And keep working on the LeShake – can’t wait to see how the rest of the NBA tries in vain to stop the 2012 NBA Champs.