NBA

No Crown For King James

The Miami Heat are cooling offJust want one thing
Just to play the king
But the castle’s crumbling
And you’re left with just a name
Where’s your crown, King Nothing?
Metallica, “King Nothing”

36 points.

36 points is impressive if that’s how many a player scored in a game. 36 points is great if a team scores that in a quarter.

36 points is the scoring gap that the Dallas Mavericks led the Heat by when LeBron James was in the game. With James sitting on the bench, the Heat led by a combined score of 22 points.

All of this hoopla that surrounded a man, eleven months ago, that had a one hour primetime television special that treated him like royalty, lobbing softball questions at him while children sat around, all so he could declare that he was leaving his home state Cleveland Cavaliers to “take his talents to South Beach”.

Instant reaction, via video feed in public places in Cleveland, showed fans crying. Never before had a player left his team via free agency in such a fashion. So public was “The Decision”, it yielding monster ratings, that fans and commentators were left wondering if there had ever been a case where one man slit his fanbase in the throat so callously.

LeBron James was the white trash husband on Jerry Springer who tells his loyal, devoted wife that he’s been sleeping around for two years, and has no shame about it.

What followed that circus was the celebration of the title they were expected to win. LeBron and his co-conspirators Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh paraded around a stage in their Heat uniforms, holding a rally not long after the smoking crater of “The Decision”.

Amazingly, a year ago, a lot of fans felt for James when the Cavs were bounced from round two by the Boston Celtics. Even as recent as that, LeBron James was a beloved athlete whom many wanted to see follow in Michael Jordan’s footsteps as the leader of his generation.

Go back one year earlier. ESPN was airing their insipid “Most Valuable Puppets” commercials, and one featured the Kobe Bryant puppet and LeBron James puppet sharing a brief staredown, as if to hint at what the NBA Finals was going to provide.

It should be noted that the Cavaliers were humiliated in the Eastern Conference Finals by an underdog Orlando Magic team, thus proving that “The Decision” wasn’t the first time ESPN prematurely latched their tonsils to LeBron James’ decidedly pauperish scrotes.

But this year was going to be DIFFERENT, because now LeBron had two All-Stars and Olympians to do all the grunt work that he apparently could not handle, even as an MVP and perceived face of the NBA.

Make no mistake, the Heat made it to the Finals, losing only one game in each series before running into the brick wall of Dallas.

A veteran team made up of men who had never been champions (save for coach Rick Carlisle, who got his ring playing for Larry Bird’s Celtics) outplayed the Heat when it mattered. Dirk Nowitzki led the mother of all comebacks in the fourth quarter of Game Two, after Dwyane Wade struck a pose after nailing a crucial shot. After said posing, the Mavericks went on a 20-2 run that rendered Wade about as sheepish as when his estranged wife learned about certain acts of infidelity.

Nowitzki, playing several games with a strong fever, proved more effective than James, who still wears his custom-fitted choker collar.

Can we go ahead and bestow Dirk the “King” label?

After James proved about as effective in fourth quarters as an umbrella made of tissue paper, the Mavericks slowly extended leads in both games five and six. James, with America watching, and hoping for him to fail, had a chance to claim his stake at greatness, and lead the Heat to their second NBA Title. ESPN, and other marketing machines, were surely champing at the bit to hoist James onto their shoulders and follow through on every proclamation made about the Akron prodigy.

But it just didn’t happen.

LeBron James doesn’t have the heart, the will, the drive, or the guts to be a true champion.

Not like Nowitzki, who had to shed the embarrassment of losing the 2006 Finals despite being up 2-0 in the series (with Tim Donaghy winning Finals MVP for the Heat). He also had to shed another humiliation, as he was 2007 Season MVP, and then, with the #1 seeded Mavericks, got trounced in round one by the #8 seed Warriors.

James didn’t rise to the occasion like Jason Kidd, who banged home a pair of threes in the deciding game. Kidd became a public relations punchline, as he brought his family into the public eye during the 2002 Finals, just to watch his Nets get crushed by the Lakers. After he beat his wife not long after during a dispute, Kidd withered away year by year, with many assuming he’d never become a champion.

Jason Terry, JJ Barea, Shawn Marion, and Tyson Chandler have never had a fraction of LeBron’s self-promotion and self-entitlement, and here they are, waiting to get fitted for rings that James may never win.

An hour or so after the Mavericks hoisted up the Larry O’Brien Trophy, James posted this sour grapes comment on his Twitter:

@KingJames – “The Greater Man upstairs know when it’s my time. Right now isn’t the time.”

I’m sure the Heat front office will be delighted to know that their big investment backfired not because LeBron James wasn’t a leader when it mattered, but because life is happenstance, and God wasn’t willing to change the schedule of fate that he wrote a pair of millenniums ago.

As the Heat tearfully walked off the court, with all the hype for naught, the world outside of “Heatlemania” relished the sight of a spoiled millionaire not coming through when it mattered the most, and watching him sulk made it worthwhile.

Two German words have made the world a happier place tonight. One is “Nowitzki”. The other is “schadenfreude”.

Wo ist Ihre Krone, König Nichts?

Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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