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It could have been a brilliant career. LeBron, a failure at 25.

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No.  He isn't.  Hopefully the ridiculousness of the title tipped you off there.

How old was Hakeem when the Rockets won?  How old was Jordan?

Dave's (slightly obsessive) Shaq-hating glee aside, is there another way to look at the Cavs losing to Boston?

First off, let's be realistic - this series was like 1 on 5.  Is it a surprise LeBron James and The LeBronettes lost considering the 5 he had to play against? Anyone remember that Boston was the champion 2 years ago?  That Boston was a team that embarrassed and beat down the Lakers to win the title?  It's an old team, not a weak one, and is capable of historically good D.  

Anyone prepared to call Rondo a top 3 PG now?  I am.  And let's see, Garnett, Pierce, Allen - those guys (HOF or borderline, all) seem to have found their legs (thanks to Cleveland's plodding pace - a luxury Orlando won't give them) along with useful big men Perkins and Davis.

What did Cleveland feature?  Well, LeBron and a team that might win, what, 20-30 games in the East without him?  There are about 3 players worth much of anything on the roster - Varejao,  Hickson, and um...  The rest are cast-offs, odd lots, bargain binners or guys who aren't as good as their reps (hello Jamison and Fat Shaq) As an aside, I'm proposing we have Fat Shaq like we have Fat Elvis, so that everyone can distinguish between Fat Shaq, who is a problem to have on your team, and Shaq, who,like Young Elvis, was pretty awesome to have around playing basketball.  Well, it was good to have Elvis around singing and partying, and Shaq playing basketball.  Definitely NOT Shaq singing or acting.  Elvis was a better actor than Shaq, which is, which is, stunning, actually.

And let's not forget the coach, the guy who provided the blueprint for failure.  Brown is awful.  He got completely out-coached by Doc Rivers.  Let that sink in.  He basically neutralized every advantage he had in this series, and slowed the game down so much that Rondo wasn't "accidentally" heaving the ball around the court after made buckets so that his oldster teamates could huff and puff back down the court a little easier.

A better team, a better coach and no one would be questioning LeBron's seriousness or commitment. You don't have to be a complete A-hole to win everything, there are plenty of counterexamples. Lots of people are attracted to the notion that you have to be a bastard to get anywhere, though.

A-holes who don't find success are generally ignored, however, as are decent guys who do. Karl Malone and John Stockton were both utter bastards, with an utter bastard coach, and they haven't won anything. Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Hakeem, and Magic were decent guys and did win. Could they be tough, and serious? Sure, but thats not what people seem to be demanding of LeBron.

By the way, Bill Russell's Celtics won by being the equivalent of the Yankees playing very few teams in a very weak NBA overall with a considerable number of advantages. It's neat, but not determinative of much of anything. It's like saying the USA is the greatest football (American) playing nation on earth. Yes, and so what? No one else plays. Jordan is really the only example left, but no one has really been able to emulate him, though Kobe is prepared to die (embarrassingly obviously) trying. I think rather than looking for LeBron to "be like Mike" he needs to go with a team that will do what the Bulls did (finally, remember, after years of futility in Jordan's early career that look a lot like LeBron's) - get him some real teammates.

As for LeBron's contemporaries, people lionize Kobe, as having that killer instinct, but they forget his past futility and failures quite easily it seems.  They forget how he literally did quit on his team in the playoffs.  They forget that he's never won a damn thing without a top big man or three.  Does that make him less of a player?  Of course not, but it should provide a pretty good frame of reference when judging LeBron, who has never played with 1/4 of what Kobe had on his team the years he won rings.  

Or put it this way - could Jordan, Russell, Kobe, you name it, win a title with the Cavaliers as they are right now, in the modern NBA?  With that bench?  With that coach?  The only thing that comes close was Miami beating Dallas.  Anyone prepared to call Wade the greatest ever?

I enjoy schadenfreude as much as anyone, maybe more, but only when it's well-earned.  This just looks like a great player on a very average team that met a team of very good players.  Let's not turn that into a character flaw.  

If you're sure you have to be an asshole to succeed, the only thing you're sure to succeed at is being an asshole.

 

Bonus - Name the band whose song I used for the title.  No googling.  You could win a fabulous prize package consisting of... nothing.