Firstly, I would like to extend my near-meaningless congratulations to the Golden State Warriors franchise for winning their second NBA title in three seasons. They were certainly a team for the record books in 2016-17.
At the conclusion of the finals Monday night, my initial reaction to Kevin Durant winning his first ring with the Warriors left sort of a ‘bad taste’ if you will in my mouth and I will gladly explain why in more than 140 characters. How has Twitter not addressed this fully yet?
Monday’s loss makes Lebron James 3-5 career in NBA Finals series’. There is no doubt that King James is the best player in the league; hell, you can argue that he is the most talented basketball player and physical specimen of all-time, but the side-show antics, the whining, the attention-begging behavior, the flopping and whatever else he does obviously leaves me in the realm of Lebron ‘haters’ as the internet so affectionately labels people, everything has to be so cut and dry, black and white it seems.
When it was all said and done and the Warriors had won, James played 47 minutes last night and averaged a triple-double for the series.
Like I said before, as the Warriors were wrapping the series last night, I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated by the way Durant earned his first ring. He couldn’t win with Westbrook and company in Oklahoma City (obviously their playing styles clash and a championship probably was not in the cards), but it’s the fact that the Golden State won the championship in 2015 and of course blew it last year. The 2015-16 Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals WITHOUT Durant.
My thinking was that I wanted Durant to do it the old-fashioned way, like a hero amongst the villain in Cleveland. That’s why I was bitter at Durant, I didn’t want him to do it with a super team like we’ve seen since 2007-08 with original ‘Big-3’ of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. But a day later, I’m just the opposite.
I always thought Durant could do it in OKC with Russ. They just need a few more pieces, as they were so clearly exposed without Westbrook on the court in this years' playoffs. There's always going to be the 'purists' who want to keep things standardized, but if you want to win in the NBA, you need a "super-team" to beat Lebron. No fault to KD there, had he stayed on the Thunder or gone anywhere else in the Western Conference, he's still ringless.
Lebron did this to basketball. Granted, Boston was the first team to assemble a super team like this, but when Lebron made the decision he literally changed the way general managers approached building a winning team. It’s apples to oranges. Dwyane Wade, James and Chris Bosh all together in Miami were not only miles ahead of that Celtics team, but they paved the way for the future of basketball as we’ve seen in the last handful of years.
During Lebron’s early years in Cleveland, the front office tried to build a winning team around him. In 2006-07, Cleveland was swept by San Antonio in the Finals. In 2008, Lebron and co. were taken down by the Orlando Magic, who were led by a young and promising big man by the name of Dwight Howard, also a prima donna.
All while this was happening, he saw the Big-3 form and die, winning championships in 2007-08 and 09-10.
After James jumped ship, “taking his talents to South Beach” and ultimately making an enemy out of at least one U.S. state, he spent four years in Miami, defeating the Thunder and Spurs one time each in the Finals. All while this was going on, the Cavaliers basketball franchise was slowly but surely rebuilding in the interim. I told you, Lebron planned this. He’s an egotistical sociopath what do you expect?
James left the Cavaliers franchise in ruins, a very strategic move. This will come full circle I promise.
After Lebron was unable to win a championship with what he had in Cleveland, he no longer believed the front office had what it took to build a championship club. So instead, of leading the Cavs to mediocrity year in and year out, he left. Not only did he leave, he held a television special, followed by the most questionably-heterosexually “not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4…” concert/speech deal.
The Cavaliers were in shambles. Their beloved superstar and homegrown hero broke their hearts. Fans were burning jerseys in the streets. You’ve seen videos.
After a couple years of just being ass, key members like Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson were drafted and started to become up and coming household names like they are now. All while Lebron was soaking it up in Miami.
So, finally, the Cavs are on the upswing. Lebron has the option to opt out and return to Cleveland after the 2014 Finals disappoint in which the Spurs handled the Heat in five. What does Lebron do when the going gets tough? He leaves. And how convenient was it that now that Lebron was a free agent, the Cavaliers were literally a superstar from being a playoff team.
And just like that, the city of Cleveland loved Lebron James again. It took less than 24 hours…
That fall, the former #1 overall pick from Akron returned home to the Cavaliers after a four-season hiatus in Miami and brought the city its’ first championship in 2016 after the Dubs all too famously blew a 3-1 lead. It’s ok, the Indians did the same thing.
So yeah, forget about the decision. Forget about ‘The Decision’. Forget about the Falcons blowing a 28-3 lead with two minutes left in the Super Bowl. This was all one giant, egotistical plan for Lebron James.
Lebron James had a stellar playoff run, he couldn’t do it by himself. JR Smith was there, a great player. Kyrie Irving is a top-3 point guard in the league, but the 2016-17 Golden State Warriors were specifically formed to take down Lebron James and they did just that. They didn’t ‘win the Finals’, they simply did what they were supposed to do.