“It’s about Damn Time” were the words that came out of LeBron’s mouth Thursday night after winning his first NBA championship. In the past two years, LeBron has gone under the most scrutiny by media and sports fans probably in the history of the NBA.
Since the infamous broadcast “The Decision” and the outrageous Big 3 Party where he displayed his cockiness of how many rings the Miami Heat would win (not 1,not 2, not 3…) all types of hate toward LeBron have been present. Ranging from the burning of his Cavalier’s jersey to the thousands upon thousands of jokes of LeBron not having a title yet, Lebron was the face of “I hate…”
The pressure to excel under the great magnitude of criticism from the entire world without question affected his gameplay in the last year’s playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks. In the 2-4 series loss, LeBron went for 17.8 points a game (including an 8 point game), 60% FT, 8.7 Points in paint, and 7.2 rebounds. He often disappeared in the fourth quarter in the corner, not wanting to be part of the game at all.
When this year’s playoffs came around, nothing with the media changed – he was still the most hated figure in sports. Even when LeBron would put up huge numbers such as 30 + games with 8 rebounds and 7 assists, he would be blamed for the loss. Not only did he have a ridiculous playoffs averaging 30.3 points 9.7 rebounds, and 5.6 assists, LeBron tried to improve his image off the court. He apologized for “The Decision” saying it was wrong to carry out his decision in this fashion. Before game 5 of the finals, he even admitted that the way he acted last year was “very immature” as he tried to “prove people wrong.” No more was the fake crying he did with Wade on the golf cart trying to imitate Dirk Nowitzki’s flu. No more was that chip on his shoulder that he needed to prove something. Instead of paying attention to all the media, he “just went back to the basics,” as he said after he winning the championship. “I never had to prove anything to anyone.” “I played with a lot of hate, and that’s not the way I play the game of basketball. I play with love, and a lot of passion, and that’s what I got back to this year.”
And that’s exactly what LeBron did. In the 4-1 series win he went for 28.6 points, 83% free throw, 17.5 points in paint and 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists. The stat that stands out the most is the points in the paint compared to last year. Instead of jacking up threes, he used his superhuman physique and smart play to drive to the basket and completely dominate, carving up every defender.
His demeanor was completely different from last year finals in that he was never complaining with calls like he usually does where he takes out his mouth guard and furiously walks away to avoid the refs, and after scoring he kept his head up and went straight back to defense. But most of all you saw his leadership. You saw Thursday night when Mario Chalmers was about to complain about a call, and he just calmed him down, telling him it’s not worth it. He did not disappear in the 4th quarter like he did last year and stepped up and made huge shots such as in game 3 when he knocked that ridiculous bank shot from the left side, or in game 4 when he was suffering with a bad cramp and knocked down that 3 right in front of Thabo Sefolosha’s face.
Many people view his Championship as redemption to all the critics. But that’s not what he wants or what die-hard basketball fans want. They want this to be a step to move on from all the silly comics and stat comparisons, and that media jargon. They want the NBA media to return to the actual game of basketball and focus on his style of play, and just how damn good he is. That what I get most out of when he said “it’s about damn time.” Not only is it time that he is a Champion but also it’s about time we can finally move on and appreciate LeBron James work ethic, energy, domination, and skills as a team player. Sports Memes for a while has had some very amusing pictures of LeBron on Facebook and they finally come to a close with this one: Click Here.