We all saw the festive scene last summer when LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh all signed with the Miami Heat. It was lovely, quite like a homecoming! A fanfare played, confetti was falling, and cheers rained from the skies as the Heat faithful could only imagine wins and championships to come for the franchise. "Not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7..." -LeBron James was quoted referring to the number of championships that the Heat may capture.
Last night marked a beautiful ending to some. With the Dallas Mavericks shocking defeat over the star-powered Miami Heat, led by the self-proclaimed King James, the basketball World was shocked. Dirk Nowitzki (2011 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player) finally put to rest the demons that plagued him since his first attempt at a title in 2006 where he lose to the different look Miami Heat. Nowitzki led team whom some had wrote off since the season's beginning. After 13 long years, he has finally got the championship that eluded him and veteran Jason Kidd for so long.
The series was headlined by one constant theme, the disappearance of LeBron James throughout the game's defining moments. After years of his early career where many questioned his abilities in the "clutch", James did himself no justice. He saw his scoring average dip from 25 points per game to a mere 17.8 a contest including a 2 point fourth quarter in a crucial game 4 Dallas win. This is a guy whom NBA legend Scottie Pippen compared to his former teammate Michael Jordan.
Not only was the image of LeBron polarizing on the court, but his off the court behavior compounded his new role as the perfect villain. Constant tweets of promises to rise to the occassions were failed by James. And his post-game interviews are some of the worst orchestrated by any professional athlete. James and Heat teammate Dwayne Wade were also caught on camera mocking Nowitzki after a flu-ridden game during the series.
After all this drama, you can't help but to think that LeBron does deserve the constant scrutiny and critics he gets. The guy is no doubt the greatest physical specimen to ever play American sports, but his bad marketing ploys and timidness in clutch moments have us questioning whether he is ready for the spotlight he feels he deserves.
Maybe we as fans are having premature assessment, but whatever it is, this year will be one that hit James hard due to the lofty expectations he openly set for himself. LeBron feels the World is against him, but the sad part is that he has been the one who made it that way....