The King is Crowned

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers made history when they overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors and capture the first championship Cleveland has seen in over 50 years. James led all players in points, rebounds, blocks, and assists. He helped this team defeat the record breaking 73-9 Warriors that dominated this NBA season. It was a foregone conclusion that the Warriors would win back to back championships. Nobody gave the Cavs a chance in this series. No other player has lead in all stats across the board in the Finals. No other player has been the NBA finals MVP on the team that was in his own state. This was an amazing display of greatness from the man we know as King James.

As a fan of the NBA for over 25 years I have seen Kobe, Shaq, Jordan, Iverson, Magic, Bird, Wilkins, Wade, Malone, and many more come and go. All of these players were great in their own right. Shaq was unstoppable in the paint. Bird was something to behold with his shooting and tenacity. Iverson was the warrior among trees who never stopped coming. Magic was Magic. Jordan was the most fierce assassin the game has ever seen. He will probably never be surpassed in that regard. However, 13 years ago I saw a young man named Lebron James enter the NBA and from the moment I saw him play I knew he was special. He crashed the boards, played defense, passed like Magic, and drove like Malone. He was a rookie. In front of my eyes I watched him grow and develop into a man with the burden of following in the shoes of Michael Jordan. Year after year he went further and yet he fell short of the expectations. The name King James was like an anvil on his shoulders keeping him buried beneath the legends he was chasing.

Lebron James made The Decision and left Cleveland to get rings with Wade and Bosh in Miami. The big three was formed and James got the rings he was seeking. He was a champion. Finally he could say he had earned his place among the greats. Then came the ghosts of greatness past. He needed Wade. He quit on Cleveland. He is not Jordan. Magic never left. Bird was a Celtic for life. How could back to back championships lead to this? Then he got dismantled by the Spurs in his final year with Miami. Wade's knees looked shot and Bosh was a non factor. Free agency arrived and everyone was ready to pounce on James if he jumped to another contender. Then he did something that shocked NBA fans everywhere. He went home to finish what he started in Cleveland.

How could he return to the city that burned his Jersey? How could he play for Dan Gilbert who said those despicable things about him and cursed his name? The answer is simple. He needed to complete the only challenge left in his career. Win a ring for his hometown and silence the players and fans who refused to acknowledge his greatness. He needed to earn his crown. After a lackluster performance in game 4 of these finals I started to get that sinking feeling again. They were right about him I thought. He really doesn't have what it takes. I felt so stupid for defending him all these years. I got texts and phone calls from people I haven't spoke to in years. I knew what they wanted. I didn't answer.

Then game 5 arrived and James returned and Irving exploded. It was incredible and frustrating to watch this performance. Where have you been I thought? Why wait this long? Then game 6 happened and it started to look like we would get every ounce of the Lebron James we wanted to see. I was so scared to write what I was seeing because I wasn't sure he wouldn't let me down. I wasn't going to do that to myself. I held my breathe and hoped that win or lose he would go down like Ali. I watched the game and I was so proud of myself for sticking by him for all these years. He did it! I couldn't believe it.

The most impressive thing about Lebron James is that he did it his way. He never stopped passing, rebounding, and blocking shots. He never forgot about his team. He never went Kobe and looked great at the expense of his teammates. This is his true legacy that will carry on. He was a great player, a great teammate, and a great role model for anyone who aspires to play the game of basketball. As the tears rolled down his face while he held the trophy he was finally crowned. He finally deserved the name King. He knew they could never deny him. Not Barkley, Jordan, Pippen, Russell, or any other legend from any era. He could sit on his throne and he rightfully belonged there. Lebron James was finally the King of the NBA and this cannot be disputed. Long live the King and the way he played this game will always be his legacy.