After finally winning the NBA title and putting all the “not-clutch” theories and labels behind him, what is there left for LeBron James? More. More NBA title rings, more MVP awards, more scoring, more of everything, of anything that at the end of his career will make he be known as the greatest player of all time.
A mighty big hill to climb? A gigantic hill to climb. Just look at Kobe Bryant – Five NBA titles, one MVP award, two Finals’ MVPs, two scoring titles. Still, few are willing to place him above Michael Jordan. That’s how far LeBron James needs to go in order to get that acclaim, as Jordan remains untouchable regarding his status as a basketball player.
Entering his 10th NBA season, James is pretty much where MJ was at this point. Jordan won his first NBA title on his 8th season in the league, a few years after establishing that he’s the best player at the moment in the NBA. Seven years later, after making that shot against the Utah Jazz to end the Chicago chapter of his career, and there was no doubt who was the best of all-time.
I want to be the best of all time. It’s that simple. One championship doesn’t change that. I haven’t had much time to really just think about what actually happened. At the end of the day, there’s still going to be people that say, well, he’s not going to be able to win two. He’s not going to be able to do it again.
If the summer of 2011 pushed James to search within himself and find the strength and drive to improve the parts that were lacking in his game and more importantly, as the season and the playoffs advanced, make the right kind of switch, along with his head coach and teammates, to finally put himself in the best position possible to win an NBA title, it’s interesting what a post-championship offseason does to the ambition mind.
Erik Spoelstra: He has great perspective on this game and what it takes to be a champion. He’s one of the most self-motivated players I’ve ever been around. But yes, he also needs to be stimulated from time to time. It’s a joy for our franchise to have this opportunity to be able to work with him.
After the Heat won the title in 2012, Dwyane Wade said something that was interesting, shedding a bit of light on the mindset of players. He talked about how after winning the first NBA championship in 2006, he thought he had all the time in the world and that more titles will come, there’s no need to sweat it. He didn’t figure it’ll take six more years to get another one, and the roads they had to go through to get there.
A lesson to be learned? Seize the moment. The Miami Heat are built for a dynasty kind of run. Multiple finals, multiple titles. Forgetting about the fact that James’ contract runs out in 2014, and who knows what’ll happen next. This is a group that is concerned about its legacy, James more than all. In terms of talent and the ability to do everything on the floor, including defense, James might already be the best ever.
Career averages of 27.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game. Three MVP awards. Ranked 47th on the all-time scoring list, with a good chance to reach 30 if he’ll stay healthy all season and keep up his usual numbers. Ninth among active players, while the top 8 have all been at least 14 seasons in the league. It’s not these numbers that will make a difference. It’ll be the rings on his fingers, the Finals’ MVP awards at his house. He’s been on this path since his high school days. Always more than just another star entering the league. A star destined for greatness, eternal and legendary. He just needs to stay on the right course, and pull the wagon along with him.