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Monday, June 18, 2018

LeBron James carried Heat to title and should no longer be criticized for failing to win, not being clutch

After spending nine years in the league, losing twice in the NBA Finals, and taking more criticism than perhaps any other player in NBA history, LeBron James finally won an NBA championship.

“It’s about damn time,” he said.

It is about damn time, but like LeBron mentioned, losing in the Finals to the Mavericks was the best thing to happen to him.

As one of James’ biggest backers, defending him against all the criticism he’s faced has been tasking.

The man left for Miami because his GM didn’t build a good enough supporting cast over seven years in Cleveland and nobody wanted to sign there as a free agent.

Sorry he wasn’t lucky enough to be drafted by an organization in a desirable city for free agents. Sorry the Cavs didn’t draft a Scottie Pippen while he was in Cleveland. Sorry his team never ripped off an opposing team for Pau Gasol.

LeBron took a look around the league, realized that superstars everywhere were joining forces (e.g. the Celtics), so he went to Miami so he wouldn’t be left behind. And he didn’t go join another person’s team; the Heat have become his team. He worked and played his butt off this season, and nothing he did was easy.

“I’m happy now that nine years after I was drafted, I can finally say that I am a champion and that I did it the right way. I didn’t shortcut anything,” James said after the game. “I put a lot of hard work and dedication in it, and the hard work pays off.”

The Heat lucked out in a few senses. Derrick Rose’s knee injury eliminated what likely would have been their toughest competition in the Eastern Conference, but they ended up facing the Celtics in the conference finals and coming back from a 3-2 deficit to win.

They had two moments when they were down in a series and doubt crept in. Both times James took over and carried his team to victory — one time without Chris Bosh, and another with limited minutes from the forward.

When the Heat fell behind the Pacers 2-1, LeBron James took his play to another level. He had a historic 40 point, 18 rebound, 9 assist game in Game 4 against Indiana. It was a similar story when the Heat were facing elimination down 3-2 to the Celtics in Game 6. LeBron went off for 45 points on 19-for-26 shooting to save his team against Boston. And in the clinching Game 5 against the Thunder, LeBron recorded a triple-double.

When everyone doubted the Heat, James played his best. He didn’t take any shortcuts or easy paths to his first ring. He beat tough competition, won with a short-handed team, and he carried his squad.

I’ve said all along that LeBron is clutch and that he is a winner, but most people need to see a ring before they can say that. Now that he has one, all the doubting should stop. LeBron is clutch, and LeBron is a winner. The only question that remains is how many rings will he win. I say at least two more.

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