The Finals



Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    Here’s what I tweeted earlier:

    “Great for LBJ to have a dual role [scorer or facilitator] on this dream team — until he doesn’t know who or what to be or do & neutralizes himself. Not Jordanian.”

    Perhaps that should have been “Jordanesque.” In any case, MJ absolutely was both those things, and more. His greatness, though, lay in the way his instinct told him what mix of each of the parts of his game he need to put on the floor minute-by-minute. James, by contrast, seems to have internalized the formal division between his two roles that the media seem to have reduced their analysis of him to, and it’s paralyzed him. That’s my take, anyway. In LBJ’s defense one can point to his, well, defense, which is certainly on the level of Jordan’s. Not quite enough to rest a comparison on, though, is it?Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to Michael Drew says:

      And another thing. For all the hype over LeBron’s move to Miami, at this point Chris Bosh looks like a bigger deal to me. If Chicago had gotten him (in lieu of Boozer of course), I think it’s fair to say they’d be looking at multiple championships.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    LeBron is not MJ. To his credit, he isn’t trying to be MJ anymore. Your problem here is, he isn’t Magic, either. Lebron is Lebron, and his book is still partly unwritten.

    In fact, Jason Kidd’s book isn’t done yet, either. A little less hype for that one but still plenty to talk about, including that game.Report

  3. Avatar Will says:

    Let’s bracket the Jordan discussion. They’re different players, and comparing career arcs won’t make much sense until LeBron is finished, anyway. I’m just wondering why LeBron couldn’t muster even a mediocre effort against some overwhelmingly favorable matchups. It’s truly baffling.Report

    • Avatar RTod in reply to Will says:

      I’ll give it a shot:

      LeBron is a great player. But he is not the (yet) the player that he was marketed as (by ESPN especially) since before he was even in the League.

      And I don’t mean that as a knock on the guy – he is fabulously talented. But I think his lack of constant superhero performance only feels odd if you granted him that champion superhero status to begin with.

      He seems a nice kid and I’d like to see him get a ring, but every year we hear the same thing: now that he has Shaq/Wade/Antione Jamison/Mo Williams, its a question of how many rings will he win in a row. Maybe we should wait to see if he wins one first.Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to Will says:

      I’m not getting the “next Jordan” thing. We’ve already seen the next Jordan, it’s Kobe. I’m not a huge fan of Kobe even, but I watched Jordan in is prime and he’s got nothin’ on Kobe for me.Report

      • Avatar BSK in reply to Koz says:

        I didn’t hear the piece itself, but during the Michael Kay show (ESPNRadio New York), Kay referred to an earlier segment with Stephen A. Smith in which Smith intimated but couldn’t confirm that there was something personal going on with LeBron. Take that for what it’s worth. A similar rumor plagued the Boston series last year, when it supposedly came out that a teammate (Delonte West) had been sleeping with LeBron’s mom. I could certainly see such a revelation making a guy shaky on the court or, more likely, just not care about killing himself for a “team” like that.

        Anyway, more to the point, I think you underestimate Stevenson’s defensive abilities. Stevenson does three things well: shoot wide open 3’s; play defense; scare the everliving bejesus out of white people (face tattoos will do that). He is a strong, rangey, physical on-the-ball defender so LeBron doesn’t have an “overwhelmingly favorable matchup” there. He certainly does against kid, but I’m not surprised that LeBron has had some fits with DeShawn. Now, I don’t think that explains just how poorly LeBron played, but we should give credit where credit is due.

        More to the point, maybe LeBron does lack the “killer instinct” or “it” or whatever psychological intangible it is that limits his potential. So what. He has never represented himself in such a way that he purported to have that “gene”. We projected it on to him because that is what we want of him. He might just be a super-athletic freak who loves to play basketball but isn’t one to kill himself to be the GOAT. Can we really fault him for that? How many of us kill ourselves to be the best at our jobs? I sure don’t. And I love what I do and take pride in my work. But I don’t kill myself over it and agonize over every mistake. And I do mail some lessons/days (I’m a teacher) in from time to time. It happens. He’s human. He might not be what we want him to be. But that is our fault; not his. If he is meeting his own goals and expectations, I see no reason to judge his character. We can judge his play, his successes, etc, etc, etc. But so often these conversations venture into character judgments/assassinations, which takes us down another road fraught with heteronormative thinking (e.g., questioning his ‘manhood’), I’d really just rather not go down that way.Report

  4. Avatar Koz says:

    This is an odd angle, but I think JJ Barea is a huge story in the finals, even though I never heard of him till the playoffs.

    He handles really well and makes great decisions, but he can’t finish a shot to save his life. If he had any luck at all from the field, he’d have ~15 ppg and Dallas would have waltzed away in games 3 and 4.Report

    • Avatar Will in reply to Koz says:

      Agreed! I can’t help thinking Barea would be one of the best point guards in the league if he was 6’3. Although he may not have developed his ball-handling skills if he didn’t have to compensate for a tremendous size disadvantage . . .Report