If you thought that LeBron James‘ performance at the end of Game 5 against the Bulls put an end to the conversation about him not being clutch, you were wrong. Some media personalities who are controversial for the sake of being controversial (taking controversial, albeit absurd stances makes you into a personality and a brand that generates phone calls on the radio and clicks on the web, etc), are trying to find any possible way to knock LeBron James. Before the Finals began, I put together a list of media members who declared LeBron James’ legacy permanently ruined by his choice to go to Miami. I explained why that was so short-sighted, unfair, and in many ways hypocritical. Media members have decided what they want their stars to look and play like and can’t comprehend when what they see doesn’t match what they’ve built up in their heads.
For instance, Kobe Bryant has been termed a “closer,” which is a concept manufactured by Nike and reinforced by media members and fans. These people would rather see Kobe shoot with three people guarding him than have him pass to a wide open teammate because that’s what stars do. While LeBron sometimes has deferred to teammates when he could have taken a shot that was just as open, he often passes to teammates to give them the best looks. His unselfish nature is part of what makes him great, but he also attacks when he has to.
In Game 3 of the NBA Finals, LeBron had 17 points and nine assists in his team’s 88-86 win. I wasn’t following the boxscore but it was easy to see LeBron was setting up his teammates and racking up assists. Sometimes he takes over games, sometimes he passes. In Game 3, he was deferring and it worked out just fine. Actually, he made the perfect pass setting up Chris Bosh’s winning shot rather than force a shot while being double-teamed.
Anyway, getting back to CBS Sports “controversial because it pays me well and I can withstand the hate of being called a jerk” columnist Gregg Doyel, this guy asked LeBron why he shrunk in the fourth quarter. He did so getting in a jab by saying LeBron’s supposed shrinkage in the fourth was unlike what superstars do. Here’s the video courtesy of Jose3030 on twitter:
Not only did LeBron manhandle Doyel’s poorly phrased question, he brought up an important point that narrow-minded media members don’t consider: he plays both sides of the court well. Additionally, with the Heat, it’s not about who scores at the end of the games in order to get the credit; it’s about who is hot and who has the best matchup. Luckily the Miami Heat recognize good teamwork is what leads to winning. Hopefully they can avoid poisonous media members like Doyel who are trying to encourage them to play hero/ego ball and ruin the series.
And what’s Doyel’s motivation for the question? He predicted LeBron would attack all game and get 20 free throws. LeBron didn’t give him what he predicted and he was upset, so he challenged how much of a superstar LeBron was.
Think about it for a second: this is the same LeBron who had eight points in the final 2:10 of Miami’s comeback win over the Bulls in Game 5, while playing lockdown defense on Derrick Rose. This is the same LeBron who scored the final 10 points for the Heat to beat the Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. There is little doubt he’s been “clutch” throughout the playoffs, so it’s narrow-minded of a columnist to call him out because he didn’t do enough in Game 3.
LeBron has already proven he’s a worthy superstar, and he’s wise enough not to change his game to appease demanding media members who will always find a complaint. The question is will you be wise enough to ignore such idiocy from these media members? If not, then they will never disappear and we’ll continue to be bombarded with their idiotic-disguised-as-edgy commentary. The choice is up to you. I know which side I’m taking.
UPDATE: Here is a complete and accurate analysis of the 4th quarter LeBron played in Game 3Google+