Lebron James might be the best basketball player in the world yet still most people think he isn't the best in the NBA. How can this be?
One of the most frequent questions asked in the barbershop these days is who is the best NBA player today? Usually you will get Duranchula, Kobe, maybe even D-Rose but when Lerbon's name is mentioned then it actually becomes a barbershop debate. Why is that? He is 6-8 about 250; might be the fastest player since Allen Iverson (if not faster), explosive as a young Charles Barkley, has passing vision like a pure point guard, and making eye contact with the rim when dunking just like the Jordans and Vince Carters of the NBA past. Who else in the league is more competitive than James other than Kobe? No one. Who is a better one on one defender than Lebron today? No one. Lebron might be the only player in the game today who can defend every position in the game. He is the most dominant player who does it night in and night out. So why is this a big argument?
Some can take the easy route and say it's because he wanted to join Wade and Bosh to win a championship, but that's not good enough. Clyde Drexler had to join Hakeem Olajuwon after Houston won a championship the previous year to get his. You might even say it's because he doesn't have one yet. But Durant doesn't have one either. One of the biggest knocks on Lebron is he isn't clutch but whoever came up with that statement can't be a basketball fan. This is the same man who scored the Cavs final 25 points in a decisive game 5 Eastern Conference Finals to beat the favored Detroit Pistons and led his team to the Finals WITH NO HELP!!! The same guy who took Boston to the brink of a possible elimination in game 7 of the ECF WITH NO HELP!!! And this was when he was shooting fade away three pointers and didn't have a clue about the game. Also people seem to forget that he has a few buzzer beaters in his career. So why is this a big debate?
Well I have a few theories of my own. First off the media might have a lot to do with it. Besides Michael Jordan, I don't think no one has been under the microscope of the media like James has. It started with televising his high school games on national television. Before playing one minute in a NBA game the media granted him the name King James! They built him a perception of someone he's not. For instance, Lebron is not a shoot first type player. He is not a typical "my team" person, which was displayed when he joined the Miami Heat. If you think about his pre Miami Heat days, The media crowned him the best player in the NBA and Kobe was still winning championships. But as soon as he made the mistake of going public with his decision of leaving the Cavs, then the media pounced on him. Yes, he hasn't won a "chip" and I understand he is the most talented player in the universe but once again that is because of the microscope of the NBA. Take Jerry West for example, West as great as he was played in nine NBA Finals but only has one championship, yet still he is the NBA logo. So I honestly believe that today's market plays a big part in this debate.
One of the biggest reasons he is talked about is because he doesn't posses that killer instinct. There is a fine line between clutch and having killer instinct. Robert Horry was one of the most clutch performers but killer instinct is not in the same zip code as Horry. When and if he smells blood, Lebron doesn't go after it. When a player disappears in the final 2-3 minutes and you're suppose to be great, then that's a problem. For the love of sports, he won't post up players and punish them that he out weighs. And shooting fade aways on 6-4 players is not dominating in the post. Especially when you're in the finals and you have a team down 2-1 on your own court and you're up late in the fourth and you have the ability that Lebron James has and you don't take over the game. That makes it a big problem. Case Close!
Is he the best player in the universe, maybe so. Might be the best player in the NBA, but if I can name maybe 4 players that I would have lead my team before him then that's where the debate begins.