After the Miami Heat defeated the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals; their All-Star forward LeBron James praised his team while taking a swipe at his former club the Cleveland Cavaliers at the same time. James said to reporters “I wanted to team up with some guys that would never die down in the moment. The opportunity presented itself with this great organization and we made it happen.”
The statement outraged at least one of his former teammates; Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson who said he thought the former Cavaliers star was out of line with what he said. Gibson said “The way it’s said, you can’t help but take it personal. I would prefer to talk to him personally and say, ”Exactly what did you mean when you said this comment? What point were you trying to make?”…I take comments like that and when you speak out and you feel the need for everybody to hear what you are saying, it’s kind of like admission. By you saying that, I don’t think great players should feel the need to say this about a team or say that about a team. I think what it all boils down to if you’re great, you go play great, be great and everybody will realize you’re great. And you wouldn’t have to let it be known that everybody else was less great. Great players shouldn’t have to do that. So I feel like it’s kind of an admission. He might have needed some help. He might have needed to go somewhere and find someone who is a little greater so maybe he wouldn’t die down in those moments.”
Tuesday night James may have gotten bit in the butt by Karma as he was the one to “die down in the moment” as the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks 86-83 knotting up the NBA Finals at 2-2. In a game that could have given Miami a commanding 3-1 lead in the best of seven match-up, James scored just eight points in the contest. Only two players from the Heat scored in double-figures in the game with Dwyane Wade knocking down 32 points while Chris Bosh added another 24 points in the loss. If there was ever a game that the team needed James to rise to the occasion it was Tuesday night’s affair. James however was unable to meet the challenge as he has many times in the Playoffs throughout his eight-year career in the Association.
There was only one reason that LeBron James chose to take his talents to South Beach rather than signing an extension last summer with Cleveland. He believed that he did not have what it takes to be the dominant player on a team that could win the NBA Finals. So he chose to sign with Miami and play Robin to D-Wade’s Batman. Unfortunately for Miami James disappeared in game four as he could not answer the bell when his team needed him.
I had started to respect James again after his standout series against the Boston Celtics and the Bulls, but after his statement and his less than stellar performance so far in the Finals that respect has dissipated. Bottom line is that in eight years playing in the Association James has shown time and again that he is not a “Money Player.” He has yet to rise to the occasion when his team has needed him the most through six seasons in the Playoffs. Perhaps he was correct last summer when he came to the conclusion he did not possess the right stuff to lead a team to an NBA Championship.