LeBron James Gets His Ring: Long Live The KING!

His is a legacy for the duration…(read the piece first and get back to the links later)

I’ve written many pieces on LeBron James. The reactions to parties he’s thrown, before The Decision, what I thought he would do this year, the Ohio perspective while I was out there before his return with the Heat (one on that night is definitely coming), and asked others to chime in as well. So many pieces that I’m sure some will view me as a sycophantic hack. That is your choice. Nothing I can do about it and therefore none of my business. I’m a basketball fan, not a specific player fan and definitely not a drama fan. Can we watch basketball again please? Y’all turned the sport into something indurate, sick and twisted, missing and soulless but I guess that’s how y’all rock? After The Decision, America went hard on LBJ as if he was a killer of men. What was up with that? Why so much of a rabid response? He’s an athlete people. He’s no different than any top level professional in any genre. Their make up must be different because so many speak their names in love and hate. We should learn from them. Why did this one man get y’all so crazy eyed with mouths of foam? Peyton Manning ever get slammed, crushed…and with unmerciful reckless abandon poked and prodded of his postseason difficulties before he finally won? Hell no. This piece is for history. Can’t suck up to now. OK, let’s get to it then…

You almost broke him. He listened to you. You attempted earnestly to force him to your nadir. He heard it all. Deafening, demonic, racist, superficial jealousy starving for the infantile attention you tried to wish away from your person and cast in his direction with stolen magician gloves soiled and torn at the shaking fingertips. Insolent, convoluted, bullying, antiquated scrutiny he coolly shook off simply by removing his NBA championship headband. The headband so thick…

Encapsulated with the burden your sports life has become. You must have an antagonist to survive. It’s the only way you can relate to the NBA of today. Therapy made him your Public Enemy #1. When finally falling asleep that Miami Heat championship winning night angered and scorned, you had a dream. Curled up like like a toddler. Eyes blinking frantically. You were running from gold. Your own greatness never assumed. With every breath you felt his Herculean being from behind. He morphs into this illogical vision of a dark and demented hulking monstrosity, and your eyes get bigger. Scared out of your mind. What is he to rob you of that you haven’t already willingly given to him metaphorically? Then, right when you feel your heart is about to pop…poof…he’s gone. He gave up chasing your shook ass because finally he didn’t understand why he runs for you in the first damn place. Because we are interacting with one another bigger and faster and are probably more polarizing than any other time in our history, are we going to do this whenever a young thundercat comes along? Doesn’t that get boring?

Yeah so…but he’s there now isn’t he?

Outside of Cleveland (obvious), Boston (rivalry vs. CLE and now Miami), Chicago (LBJ not signing in CHI, playoff defeats and Rose injury), New York (LBJ signing in Miami and not NY), Detroit (remember that one time…), Washington, DC (three straight playoff defeats at the hands of LBJ and Cleveland) and maybe Los Angeles because of Kobe, why does the sports world hate LeBron so much? The Decision was nothing more than a signing day. As far as the “premature celebration” proclaiming not one, not two, not whatever…why not publicly state your goal to hype up a dysfunctional fan base and then prove it to those wanting fans, the hand rubbing league and most importantly, yourselves? The self proclaimed greatest country ever existing is angry because one of its own stated he wants to be the greatest basketball player he can be and win as many championships as possible with an elite business acumen in tow?

He’s living the dream. Let him rock. What if his dream comes true? See five years in the future and envision LeBron with 3 rings in that span. How will you view him? What would be that narrative?

Why is the world afraid of greatness? Why must everything be stuck in a humble box and then sprung on the world in the shock of a common sense fantasy painted exclusively in colors of the American way?

Why make everything about you? Did you create his talent? Is he a criminal? He’s a great father. Still, very few twenty something human beings respect an authority disrespectful of them and that’s how it should be. No one won a title alone so all this stuff about Mike not doing this or Magic not doing that doesn’t really apply does it? When it’s all said and done, his name will slide right alongside theirs. He will challenge Kareem’s record of 6 MVP awards despite maybe two of his awarded to others. He definitely could end up being a top 5 all time player. Stop frontin’. The era he plays in is the same one you live in. You’re smarter than this. Why must he not react to questions you would be pissed off for having to answer? You ever think that maybe specific athletes grow sick of how their personality is marginalized just for your ignorant ass consumption and irrelevant wanna be patriarchal understanding? No, he didn’t put himself in any position. How many times have I said change the narrative over the years strictly with the likes of The King in mind? LeBron James simply took control of his legacy in a way making you uncomfortable. It’s as if Dan Gilbert’s casinos are lining your pockets and feeding your family. Maybe you think that somewhere down the line Dan Gilbert is your family?

Think back to the jerseys you gave him so much hell over. The Hummer loan you chastised his family about. The Nike contract that made you say whoa before he shook David Stern’s draft day hand (as if that isn’t a bargain now). The great reason why he went to St. Vincent–St. Mary High School in Akron he mentions below (he also speaks on LRMR that I go into further later):

All of the money he’s generated for the game, NBA players, TV networks, the league, fantasy sports and whomever else has their hands in his pocket. LeBron could learn to do all of their jobs. None of them can learn to be him.

Since LeBron signed in South Beach, Mickey Arrison’s net worth has gone up a cool 111 million. The Miami Heat have increased 27% in value over that period, while the Cleveland Cavaliers have decreased 33% (New York Knicks continue to be the most prosperous franchise in the NBA).

In the broader context of the NBA and its sponsors, is there a correlation between the ascension of LeBron and low sponsor volatility? Appears to be the case as documented in this piece entitled NBA Sponsors Stellar Like LeBron James: Riskless Return on Bloomberg.com:

The NBA’s advertising partners had the highest return and the lowest risk for shareholders in the past five years among corporate partners backing the four major U.S. sports leagues, according to the BLOOMBERG RISKLESS RETURN RANKING. The NBA sponsor portfolio, which includes 14 public companies, had a risk-adjusted return of 2.5 percent, ahead of Major League Baseball’s second-best 1.4 percent and more than twice that of the National Football League.

There are those of us who cannot fathom why so much background noise becomes the screaming pen simply because an athlete chooses to handle his own business dealings. Why is this called greed? Selfishness? Ego? Maverick Carter and LRMR (LeBron’s management team), to their credit, have stuck together since launching the firm in 2006 despite mass criticism. Going the traditional route and hiring a stranger as an agent has caused pain to many an athlete left broke and frustrated because he trusted too much. Keeping control in the hands of those who have always been there for LeBron makes a huge amount of sense and global deals continue to be made expanding his reach. You like the HBO series Entourage don’t you? The concept with LRMR is similar. LeBron is Vincent Chase. LRMR is the real life building of a financial legacy based on friendship sans Turtle’s Yankees fitted.

(Photo: White House)

LRMR with President Barack Obama: Randy Mims (left), Maverick Carter (second from left) and Richard Paul (fourth from left) and LeBron James (far left)

LeBron’s management team made a great decision about The Decision. Everybody watched! More should have been publicized about the money raised for kids (that it wasn’t also says something admirable about LeBron doesn’t it?) only because of the ensuing vitriol. More images and genuine on camera interaction with the children could have helped, not as a photo op, but simply for the sake of lucidity. Maybe the cameras were present and someday we’ll be able to see the smiles of kids in attendance and the fun they surely had in everything memorable.

Ever wonder why the donation to Boys & Girls Club was seen as suspect? Seems like a genuine gesture to me considering how much the 3 million donated has impacted Boys & Girls Clubs in Northeast Ohio. Dig this breakdown by Mark Gillispie of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

A contribution of nearly $60,000 repaired a leaky roof, refurbished a dingy gymnasium and will pay for a new playground at the Mount Pleasant club on East 131st Street. And the Slavic Village club on Broadway received $70,000, which was used to install a new gym floor and purchase bleachers. The club also is waiting on delivery of 20 new computers.

Both clubs also received a video sports training system and $2,500 worth of sports gear.

In addition to the $2 million cash contribution, James arranged for the donation of $500,000 in computers from Hewlett-Packard and $500,000 in gear from Nike. Fifty-nine Boys & Girls Clubs across the country are receiving help from James.

Executive Director Teresa LeGrair said James has been a “man of his word.”

“It’s not the first thing he had done for this community and there will be many more to come,” LeGrair said. “LeBron loves kids and he’s proven that time and time again.”

Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan were very critical of LeBron. They simply played in another time. No way either of them could give a definitive answer of what they would have done if presented with LeBron’s free agent options in their prime no matter what they’ve said. Charles forced a trade out of Philadelphia, landed in Phoenix, lost in a very competitive Finals to Mike in 1993, and later bolted for Houston to play with Dream and Drexler. Mike made sure Chicago jacked Rodman despite Worm being a heated rival when he played for the Pistons. Mike had Scottie by his side…a top 50 player. What’s the difference? That Chuck and Mike in particular were asked over and over to comment on LeBron jetting to Miami is straight up typical, and that they both provided answers in the affirmative validates nothing in the grand scheme of things moving forward. How much sound did you hear of players siding with James? None, but best believe many would have done the same exact thing given the opportunity. Miami is a tropical paradise and that certainly is no diss to Cleveland.

Then there’s Gloria James. My Manager introduced me to LeBron’s Mom in Vegas covering the USA Basketball vs. Canada exhibition game before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She seemed cool and just like anybody’s Momma but America went hard on her without a cotdamn care. Y’all need to get over this no holds barred mentality simply because someone is a celebrity. It makes you look needy and stupid. Imagine your Mom being in the center of vicious rumors. You don’t think you would have been affected? All of the jokes, parodies and memes? She’s still standing though and after what went down vs. Boston way back when, she’ll always be a G to me.

So what will be now? Will the emasculation of LeBron James continue despite an inevitable 2011-2012 NBA triumph? Will folks stop the sophomoric banter now that he has won an NBA title or will it simply increase? LeBron catches wreck because he does stuff for the kids? This society seems to make a lot of hypocritical bullshit over dumb stuff but when real issues are at hand? Nah. After all, Michael Vick spent two years in jail for killing dogs and many considered that punishment just, but why did any opposition to George Zimmerman being brought to justice exist? He stuffed his coffers and remained free for 44 days while Trayvon Martin’s family suffered. Yet you hate LeBron for giving back to Akron (that’s essentially what it is)? If you don’t see the relevance and the hypocrisy, please explain but I think you may also need a doctor.

He’s on his way to becoming a legendary player and now must focus on shining his throne. Adding pieces dipped in the blood of past shoulder chips weighed down by general and irrational comparisons to Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. I don’t recall Larry Bird being ubiquitously challenged to surpass Bill Russell’s 11 rings. Was Steve Nash ever over the top criticized in a manner his personal life was affected because he has two MVP trophies (one should be LeBron’s) and no Finals appearances? Can’t have it both ways. You don’t know the personal lives of these people. They could be the biggest mess ups and you would never know it, merely because they put on a pretty face for the press and in public appearances with fans. A lot of it is fake. How does a lie make you feel better? C’mon people. Why was LeBron a target? I’ve personally encountered many athletes and entertainers that are nothing of how they’re perceived. Hate LeBron all you want, but respect the man for dealing with it all and still getting it done even if you maintain it was all through his own volition. He is 27, Jordan was 28 when Mike won his first title. There is nothing definitively proving LeBron James will be unable to enter the pantheon inhabited by the greatest players of all time in the sport. When did the GOAT discussions for Mike begin?

He is the only other player than Oscar Robertson in 1963 to average 30 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists in a single postseason. He has accomplished this twice. 2012 and 2009. He shot 51% for the playoffs in ’09 and 50% this year.

LeBron James is the most criticized and devalued athlete of all time…this side of Wilt (athletes today know nothing of the scrutiny Chamberlain knew too well). Who on the list provided below besides LeBron guarded 1-5 and brought up the rock on offense?

The financial impact will be felt in Cleveland for years because James was the one that got away. Would Dan Gilbert have received city limit casino approval without LeBron? I have to ask you Cleveland…before LeBron was drafted by the Cavs, what gave the city a reason to go to see NBA basketball? Think of what you had before him and ask yourselves why you are holding on to the pain of something no longer there? I get the Browns stuff and the pride surrounding 1964, but shouldn’t the city hold professional franchise ownership more accountable than the players themselves? ’64 was a long time ago and I understand the city has suffered, but something just ain’t right and only competent deep pockets will give the Cleveland fans their fix. Not pandering comic sans. I am not from Cleveland and have only spent token time there since 2010. I defer to those in the know. The ones LeBron actually chose to give time to.

Spoke with Branson Wright of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Wright wrote a great piece on the 45th Anniversary of the Black Athlete Summit. Athletes have shied away from such a statement when focusing on their own brand development…like LeBron…is what they should be doing en masse. It’s why I wrote the NPA piece during the lockout. It was an education in empowerment based on the aforementioned Cleveland summit and continued by Spencer Haywood’s landmark case. Mayweather Promotions is a vertical business.  So is LRMR. These perceived as bold actions were hated in some way or another, but all should be applauded because it’s all about taking the reigns. LeBron is doing that and his future will capitalize.

Branson should be the journalist name most attached to LeBron because he was one of the few who had access during James’ time in Cleveland. Interesting that he is not. He speaks of how he viewed LeBron’s years as a member of the Cavaliers:

“I’ve criticized LeBron since he was in Cleveland. What I mean by my criticism, I ain’t saying 24/7 I was trying to kill him (as a writer). My criticism has always been about his unwillingness, refusal or inability to consistently step up in the postseason. To me, his lack of championship play was because of he took jump shots instead of going inside. Why shoot fadeaway jumpers over smaller players instead of going inside. I also got tired of his lack of championship success being blamed on who he was playing with. It was always someone else’s fault. The Cavaliers’ team that went to the Finals is the best Cavs’ team ever. There were better players in the Cavs history, but this was the best team. This is the Cavs’ team that beat the defending champs Detroit Pistons . . . The issue with me was when Cleveland won, it was only because of LeBron, but when they lost, it was on everyone else. LeBron led the Miami Heat to the title because of how he improved himself as a player, not because the Heat necessarily had to become better around him.”

That is professional analysis in the simplest form. Devoid of cynicism. No problem at all with what Branson said. There isn’t an objective behind his words. If Branson was able to be the voice out in front of LeBron, things might have been more clearer and perspective would have been had a lot sooner. LeBron, like Donovan McNabb staying in the pocket when seams were available to run in, listened to the background noise. He wanted to prove he could win shooting jumpers from Akron because he didn’t respect those knowing nothing of his talent telling him what to do like they knew. That was his error and he learned from it. He should have just did whatever it took to win on the floor and told everyone else to kiss his Black ass. After the Heat wrapped up the championship, LeBron stepped to the podium. He admitted making mistakes, was humble…even vulnerable and yes mature. Could you imagine the feeling of that weight gone from you? He was impressive and willing to open up more than I’ve seen him in a while.

There were many people hypothetically gathering around the radio, just as Black folk did when Joe Louis won the heavyweight title vs. Jim Braddock June 22, 1937. LeBron James is now a champion and kids worldwide will recognize him as such. 26 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists. An Oscar (what I call a triple double) in a closeout game. Bosh got healthy, was inserted in the starting five in Game 2 and the Heat won four straight to claim Finals victory. The three will get all the praise, but the Miami Heat unit came together as one and got it done. Ah, unity…loyalty…that true stuff. That’s how it should be. No one broke them down. Dwyane Wade wasn’t traded as some have suggested. LeBron had a career epiphany, the entire organization capitalized and ultimately so will fans. He was calm before Game 5. His teammates followed his lead. The very young and talented trio of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden will take note, become galvanized and move closer to the goal they fell short of this year. They personally know about the Miami Heat unified front. A front that learned and fine tuned its focus after losing to Dallas in the 2011 Finals. Stick together young fellas. The only way to get it done is to tune everything out and do it together. No one else matters. Kevin Durant worked out with LeBron over the summer and learned as much as he could. I couldn’t understand why many chose the Thunder despite a huge lack of career streamlining moments the Heat see in their sleep. It almost seemed that LeBron and crew were 10 even 15 years older than their Finals opposition. The young Thunder faltered in big spots but LeBron did not.

Lastly, it will be interesting to see what goes down in London. Dwyane Wade may miss the Olympics because of his knee. Look at the total picture before you judge him for asking for Olympic compensation. That’s a lot of wear on their bodies and though many will say “Well, that’s what they get paid for”, it’s a lot more deeper than that. Will LeBron and his teammates be celebrated when (not if) they do bring home the gold or will resentment win over? Judge yourselves accordingly and yo…wake up from that damn dream.






How LeBron stacks up in playoff career averages with the past and present (random list but broad simply to show scope). Notice the common 44% shooting:

LeBron James (115 games): 47%, 28.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists.

Michael Jordan (179 games): 49%, 33.4 points, 6.4 boards,  5.7 dimes.

Kobe Bryant (220 games): 45%, 25.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists.

Larry Bird (164 games): 47%, 23.8 points, 10.3 boards and 6.5 dimes.

Wilt Chamberlain (160 games): 47%, 22.5 points, 24.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists.

Magic Johnson (190 games): 50%, 19.5 points, 7.7  boards and 12.3 dimes.

Bill Russell (165 games): 43%, 16.2 points, 24.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists.

Julius Erving (189 ABA and NBA games): 50%,  24.2 points, 8.5 boards, 4.4 dimes.

Oscar Robertson (86 games): 46%, 22.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 8.9 assists.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (237 games): 53%, 24.3 points, 10.5 boards, 3.2 dimes.

Shaquille O’Neal (216 games): 56%, 24.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists.

Hakeem Olajuwon (145 games): 53%, 25.9 points, 11.2 boards, 3.2 dimes.

Moses Malone (100 ABA and NBA games): 49%, 22.1 points, 14.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists.

Elgin Baylor (134 games): 44%, 27.0 points, 12.9 boards, 4.0 dimes.

Isiah Thomas (111 games): 44% 20.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 8.9 assists.

Jerry West: (153 games): 47%, 29.1 points, 5.6 boards, 6.3 dimes.

Rick Barry (105 ABA and NBA games): 45%, 27.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists.

Charles Barkley (123 games): 51%, 23.0 points, 12.9 boards, 3.9 dimes.

Gary Payton (154 games): 44%, 14.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists.

George Gervin (84 games): 50%, 26.5 points, 6.9 boards, 2.9 dimes.

Karl Malone (193 games): 46%, 24.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists.

John Stockton (182 games): 47%, 13.4 points, 3.3 boards, 10.1 dimes.

Elvin Hayes (96 games): 46%, 22.9 points, 13.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists.

Bob Pettit (88 games): 42%, 25.5 points, 14.8 boards, 2.7 dimes.

Clyde Drexler (145 games): 45%, 20.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists.

David Robinson (123 games): 48%, 18.1 points, 10.6  boards, 2.3 dimes.

Scottie Pippen (208): 44%, 17.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists.

Walt Frazier (93 games): 51%, 20.7 points, 7.2 boards, 6.4 dimes.

Dirk Nowitzki (128 games): 46%, 25.9 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists.

Kevin Durant (43 games): 47%, 28.1 points, 7.7 boards, 3.2 dimes.

Russell Westbrook (43 games): 42%, 23.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.1 assists.

James Harden (43 games): 45%, 13.8 points, 4.8 boards, 3.3 dimes.

Pau Gasol (101 games): 52%, 17.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists.

Metta World Peace (82 games): 39%, 14.2 points, 4.8  boards, 2.8 dimes.

Joe Johnson (62 games): 41%, 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists.

Josh Smith (46 games): 42%, 15.6 points, 8.6 boards, 2.9 dimes.

Dwight Howard (57 games): 60%, 19.9 points, 14.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists.

Mike Bibby (105 games): 41%, 12.6 points, 3.1 boards, 4.0 dimes.

Detlef Schrempf (114 games): 47%, 12.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists.

Tim Duncan (190 games): 50%, 22.3 points, 12.1 boards, 3.4 dimes.

Kevin Garnett (125 games): 48%, 19.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists.

Paul Pierce (130 games): 42%,  21.0 points, 6.4 boards, 3.9 dimes.

Ray Allen (128 games): 45%, 18.2 points, 4.0  rebounds, 3.0 assists.

Sidney Moncrief (93 games): 47%, 16.0 points, 5.0 boards, 3.4 dimes.

Allen Iverson (71 games): 40%, 29.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists.

Reggie Miller (144 games): 45%, 20.6 points, 2.9 boards, 2.5 dimes.

Marques Johnson (54 games): 49%, 21.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists.

James Worthy (143 games): 54%, 21.1 points 5.2 boards, 3.2 dimes.

Earl The Pearl Monroe (82 games): 44%, 17.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists.

Alex English (68 games): 50%, 24.4 points, 5.5 boards, 4.3 dimes.

Dan Issel (133 NBA and ABA games): 49%, 22.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists.

Jack Sikma (102 games): 45%, 14.3 points, 9.3 boards, 2.4 dimes.

Bill Laimbeer (113 games): 47%. 12.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists.

Arvydas Sabonis (despite his low stats here, he should be in the discussion of the top centers of all time. 51 games): 45%, 12.1 points, 7.4  boards, 1.9 dimes.

Bill Walton (49 games huh?): 53%, 10.8 points (huh?), 9.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists (this cat is in the HOF just because of UCLA?)

Dominique Wilkins (56 games): 43%, 25.4 points, 6.7  boards, 2.6 dimes.

Sam Jones (154 games): 45%, 18.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists.

Bob Cousy (109 games): 34%, 18.5 points, 5.0 boards, 8.6 dimes.

Dennis Johnson (180 games): 44%, 17.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists.

Patrick Ewing (139 games): 47%, 20.2 points, 10.3 boards, 2.0 dimes.

Pete Maravich (26 games): 42%, 18.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists.

Dave Cowens (89 games): 45%, 18.9 points 14.4 boards, 3.7 dimes.

John Havlicek (189 games): 44%, 22.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists.

Kevin McHale (169 games): 56%, 18.8 points, 7.4 boards,  1.6 dimes.

George Mikan (70 BAA and NBA games): 40%, 24.0 points, 13.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists.

Shawn Kemp (88 games): 50%, 17.3 points, 9.7 boards, 1.8 dimes.

Manu Ginobili (136 games): 44%, 16.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists.

Tony Parker (152 games): 46%, 18.9 points, 3.2 boards, 5.1 dimes.

Jason Kidd (146 games): 39%, 13.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 8.5 assists.

Chris Bosh (46 games): 47%, 17.6 points, 8.4 boards, 1.4 dimes.

Chris Webber (80 games): 46%, 18.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists.

Rasheed Wallace (177 games): 44%, 13.5 points, 6.2  boards, 1.5 dimes.

Chauncey Billups (140 games): 41%, 17.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists.

Richard Hamilton (126 games): 44%, 20.2 points, 4.0 boards, 3.7 dimes.

Dwyane Wade (110 games): 48%, 25.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists.

Derrick Rose (29 games): 43%, 25.1 points, 4.8 boards, 7.3 dimes.

Chris Paul (34 games): 47%, 20.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 10.1 assists.

Andre Iguodala (35 games): 40%, 13.8 points, 5.7 boards, 4.8 dimes.

Elton Brand (30 games): 53%, 16.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists.

Doug Collins (32 games): 53%, 21.5 points, 4.1 boards, 3.5 dimes.

Lenny Wilkens (64 games): 40%, 16.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists.

Andre Miller (46 games): 45%, 15.7 points, 4.5 boards, 5.2 dimes.

Nate Tiny Archibald (his early career was ridiculous. 47 games): 42%, 14.2 points, 1.6  rebounds, 6.5 assists.

Billy Cunningham (54 NBA and ABA games): 44%, 19.6 points 9.5 boards, 3.6 dimes.

Wes Unseld (119 games): 49%, 10.6 points, 14.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists.

Bob McAdoo (94 games): 49%, 18.3 points, 7.6 boards, 1.4 dimes.

Bob Dandridge (98 games): 48%, 20.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists.

Spencer Haywood (numbers with Denver are incredible. 45 NBA and ABA games): 48%, 19.6 points, 9.4 boards, 1.8 dimes.

Mark Aguirre (102 games): 49%, 17.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists.

Adrian Dantley (73 games): 53%, 21.3 points, 5.4 boards, 2.3 dimes.

Dave Bing (31 games): 42%, 15.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists.

Kiki Vandeweghe (68 games): 51%, 16.1 points, 2.8 boards, 2.0 assists.

Rajon Rondo (92 games): 45%, 14.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 9.2 assists.

Kevin Johnson (105 games): 47%, 19.3 points, 3.3 boards, 8.9 dimes.

Steve Nash (118 games): 47%,  17.3 points, 3.5  rebounds, 8.9 assists.


Just for kicks, my top all time, all around team:

Magic Johnson point guard

Michael Jordan shooting guard

LeBron James small forward

Charles Barkley power forward

Hakeem Olajuwon center

South Beach Soultron did it the only way they could…their way…

Oklahoma City
Player Pos Min FGM-FGA FTM-FTA 3PM-3PA +/- OR Reb A Blk Stl TO PF Pts
K. Durant F 43:16 13-24 3-3 3-6 -23 2 11 3 1 2 7 5 32
S. Ibaka F 25:47 3-9 3-4 0-0 -26 4 4 0 2 0 0 3 9
K. Perkins C 19:45 1-4 0-0 0-0 -14 0 4 0 0 1 1 5 2
R. Westbrook G 43:16 4-20 11-13 0-5 -23 0 4 6 0 2 2 3 19
T. Sefolosha G 9:19 0-2 0-0 0-1 -5 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
J. Harden 35:40 5-11 6-6 3-8 -17 1 4 5 0 2 3 2 19
D. Fisher 28:48 4-7 0-0 3-6 -1 1 4 3 0 0 0 4 11
N. Collison 16:56 1-3 0-0 0-0 +3 2 4 1 0 0 0 3 2
C. Aldrich 4:44 1-1 0-0 0-0 +8 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2
D. Cook 4:44 1-2 0-0 0-0 +8 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2
L. Hayward 4:44 1-2 0-0 0-0 +8 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 2
R. Ivey 3:01 2-2 0-0 2-2 +7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
R. Jackson  DNP — INACTIVE
Totals 240 36-87
10 38 19 3 7 13 29 106
Player Pos Min FGM-FGA FTM-FTA 3PM-3PA +/- OR Reb A Blk Stl TO PF Pts
L. James F 44:09 9-19 8-9 0-3 +20 4 11 13 2 1 6 2 26
S. Battier F 28:42 4-8 0-0 3-7 +8 0 4 1 0 1 1 4 11
C. Bosh C 34:25 9-14 5-5 1-1 +29 0 7 0 2 1 0 1 24
D. Wade G 34:40 7-12 6-9 0-0 +25 2 8 3 3 2 1 4 20
M. Chalmers G 33:56 3-6 2-2 2-4 +25 1 2 7 0 2 4 3 10
M. Miller 23:14 7-11 2-2 7-8 +14 0 5 0 0 1 0 4 23
N. Cole 16:40 1-4 0-0 1-2 -12 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 3
U. Haslem 10:34 0-1 1-2 0-0 -7 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 1
J. Jones 4:37 0-1 0-0 0-1 -6 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
T. Harris 3:01 0-0 3-4 0-0 -7 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
J. Howard 3:01 0-1 0-0 0-0 -7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
R. Turiaf 3:01 0-0 0-0 0-0 -7 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Pittman  DNP — INACTIVE
Totals 240 40-77
8 41 25 7 8 13 21 121
Officials: Dan Crawford, Monty McCutchen, Derrick Stafford
Attendance: 20,003
Time of Game: 2:41

Oh…and congratulations Juwan Howard for getting that Fab Five ring. See you on the sideline coach!

Spoke to Juwan this time last year and he told me how great it would be to win a ring for his brothers. He also told me this when I asked of his responsibility to give back:

“During the 60’s athletes sacrificed during the era. They made a lot of sacrifices for my colleagues and I but more importantly, a lot of the Black youth that are growing up in the community today…including my kids.

I want to continue to be a positive role model and to be a good example for Black youth. Not just in this country but all across the world. I’ve taken trips to Africa. I wanted to see what it was like and how the culture raises their children. I’ve made great contributions, not only from a financial but also spiritual level, for our American youth but all across the world as well.

The negative stuff about the Fab Five doc is disheartening but it’s over. That stuff is the past. I’m pretty sure the documentary shed some positive light and I’ve personally received a lot of positive feedback from folk who watched it. I really appreciate and admire how it was done.”

Well said Juwan. That’s what it’s all about. Creating soul models in an unfortunate straw dog world.

32 Responses to “LeBron James Gets His Ring: Long Live The KING!”

  1. Destiny d.n. says:

    Knocked it out of the park with this one. Why aren’t you on ESPN tv?!! I don’t agree with ALL the sentiment (Hey, I’m a Laker fan) but I know about the double grind for a young Black man and hated all that went down for LeBron (and yeah some of it he brought on himself).

    So well written Miz. Worth the wait.

    P.S. He and Eddy Curry both have one more ring than Charles Barkley now.

  2. GrandNubian says:

    Great piece Mizz. This has to rank up there among your best works. You killed it, bruh and I agree with every point made.

    In regards to Lebron (I told T3 this the other day), i’ve never in all my years been happier and more proud of a professional athlete as I am for Lebron. He really is a special player and I really think that we’ve yet to see the best from him. Peace.

  3. Thanks Dez. Thanks GrandNubian. It was the only way this piece could be done on TSF. Still much more to be written and soon I will drop the return to Cleveland piece just for perspective. A lot of those folk in Cleveland were cool. All races. I appreciated their honesty.

  4. Celeste says:

    I remember being afraid for him the first time he returned to Cleveland and how ridiculous that was that even our own were pushing the venom. I gave him the benefit on that “decision” of poor mgmt. (LOTS of players give lots of their time and bucks to children and other charities without a national announcement like that one which was a bad choice). Once that racist disgusting letter was published I cheered him more for leaving Dan Gilbert’s team. The truth is – they dished that venom to Kobe and still do no matter what he does. I’m so glad you wrote this. Love how you write, your vocab, the poetry of it and earnest truth of it.

  5. Celeste thanks. 🙂 Folks need to realize and respect that this perspective exists. It’s reality and until these men have the ability to understand worth and keeping it close to the vest, I have to write it. The sacrifice isn’t about me. I could have gone the pandering way and surely this would have received more attention, but I feel much better that I stuck to my stance. It’s deeper than The Decision. No longer will I write not to offend people whom offend to offend folks they think are offensive. 😉

  6. Ron Glover says:

    This is definitely ranks up there with your best stuff. What angers me is the problem so many of our people have with him. There was a time where we would be like, “Go ahead and make that money youngblood.” Now there more crabs in the barrel just to say they took a shot at downing him be it for the Decision or just being someone that they don’t have anything on. What frustrates these crabs the most is that they can’t touch him under any circumstances.

  7. sankofa says:


    It was a nice piece and even keeled. I am one person, though, that never ever thought this t.v special anything but away to raise money for the boys and girls through advertisement, and thus there was no arrogance about it. In my estimation there is no way he could have done it any different to please everybody, so in his place I would never apologize nor would I say I would do it different. The ends justifies the means and the fall out is more about Cleveland fans and that racist owner, as well as the media, that took advantage of the anger to make it a lynch Lebron charade.

    At a time when we ask…beg our entertainers to act right, this cat has is shit together much more than I when I was his age…and that’s with the spotlight on him since jump. We can talk about his mental makeup till that African Jesus come home, but to be able to hold up to me shows a MAN, strong in mind but more important never losing sight of his goals.

    Now assholes are bending over backwards to find fault with the Miami victories, from putting an asterisk on the season, to he doesn’t have six rings, to the decision, to he is an ass hole, he is not Michael Jordon etc, etc….I am surprise Lebron wasn’t accused of American public fool system’s education going down the toilet.

    For the record if Michael Jordon is the goat, what is Bill Russell? What his Wilt chamberlain? And don’t get me started on this six ring business.

  8. Brother Sankofa you kick that knowledge sir and thank you. That you won’t see a piece in the mainstream like this says everything. I was talking to someone and they had the nerve to ask me “We’re still supposed to hate LeBron right?”…so yeah.

    The kid has been unselfish his entire basketball career. Even when he talked to me about wanting to be a receiver instead of a quarterback I tried to find fault with it. He is what he is and I know we won’t be the ones saying he can’t accomplish every basketball goal possible. It’s stupid to even find fault with him at this stage in his career and trust if things were different and everything was balanced as he should, he might have won rings by now. I will not be the one to shovel dirt on him at any stage because he went out and took the championship this year. He made it no doubt. Props LeBron.

  9. mattie says:

    Great piece.

    I don’t understand why your top 5 all around team has Dream when you consider Wilt the GOAT? (Just curious..)

    I still stand by my statement that OKC was the most talented of the two Final’s teams. I think experience and another all world performance by LBJ won out.

    So proud of LBJ. This entire playoffs has been one of the greatest performances I’ve seen by any player ever.

  10. D.N. says:

    Another reason that the fallout from the night of that “decision” raced like wildfire is obviously the Internet. Throw negative out there TODAY about anybody that did that tv drama, and the hate would happen again.Chicken Little would have been a hero within 24 hours on Facebook [filed: Falling, the Sky is]

  11. […] Lebron James Gets His Ring: Long Live the King, Michael Tillery, The Starting Five “Can we watch basketball again please? Y’all turned the sport into something indurate, sick and twisted, missing and soulless but I guess that’s how y’all rock? After The Decision, America went hard on LBJ as if he was a killer of men. What was up with that? Why so much of a rabid response? He’s an athlete people. He’s no different than any top level professional in any genre. Their make up must be different because so many speak their names in love and hate. We should learn from them. Why did this one man get y’all so crazy eyed with mouths of foam? Peyton Manning ever get slammed, crushed…and with unmerciful reckless abandon poked and prodded of his postseason difficulties before he finally won? Hell no. This piece is for history.” […]

  12. Dream all around. Could shoot the three but didn’t have to. Could guard all over the floor. Sure Wilt could as well, but I didn’t see him. Wilt is my GOAT because I cannot let his legend die in a social media age and I suspect his total scope was diminished in an age where Blacks never got their due respect…

  13. Temple3 says:


    There is no question that LeBron James is approaching the height of his powers. He is headed to the stratosphere, but for the sake of an apples to apples comparison, I suggest looking (for example) at the playoff averages of Kareem, Shaq, and MJ through 9 seasons.

    Kareem and Shaq played forever. MJ also had a long career. So, in the numbers presented up top, the long arc of their respective careers bends back sharply below their standards during the definitive years of their careers.

    At year 9, Kareem’s averages were 30.3 ppg, 16.8 rpg, 4.0 apg.
    Shaq averaged 28.2, 12.7, and 3.2.
    MJ averaged 34.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, and 6.6 apg.
    And all of them shot over 50%.

    And, one could argue that Kareem, Shaq, and Jordan all improved after their 9th seasons, just as we expect LeBron to improve.

    The stats, as they’re presented in your post, give LeBron a two-stat category advantage over every elite player in league history. He leads in either pts and boards or boards and assists, or some combination of 2 stats. When we adjust for the years that advantage disappears.

    Given that, I suspect that when his career concludes he’ll still be a top 10-5 player, but he won’t be the GOAT…and you know I don’t think MJ is the GOAT either, but that’s a story for another time. For me, his cracking that elite pantheon requires winning 5 titles. Russell, Wilt, Kareem, MJ, Kobe, Elgin, Oscar, Magic, etc… That’s a tough group, and getting by Elgin or Oscar will require lots of jewelry. Not one, not two, not three…

    I hope he gets it done. I’m ready to testify if he can deliver.

  14. Temple3 says:

    He should have just did whatever it took to win on the floor and told everyone else to kiss his Black ass. After the Heat wrapped up the championship, LeBron stepped to the podium. He admitted making mistakes, was humble…even vulnerable and yes mature. Could you imagine the feeling of that weight gone from you? He was impressive and willing to open up more than I’ve seen him in a while.

    You don’t miss a beat.

  15. Kobe has played almost 3 years of games in the playoffs. Amazing he still has a semblance of athleticism after all that burn and that’s not counting Olympic play. I think to get a true sense of all time teams, the eras must be broken down more than I did above. For instance, what type of advantage or disadvantage did the best of 5 first round series present for elite teams re: rest? Jet lag is a monster on athletes in this era. Can’t imagine how much it will affect future years overseas. The following via Wiki.

    From the first season, 1947, of the NBA (called the BAA until the merger with the NBL in 1949) the top three teams from the Eastern and Western divisions were invited to the playoffs. The two division champions played a Semifinal best-of-seven series for entry into the finals. The other four teams played two rounds of best-of-three playoffs to face the winner of the Semifinal match. That year, the Philadelphia Warriors defeated the Chicago Stags four games to one in the first ever BAA Championship.

    In the 1949 playoffs, an additional team from each Division was added, eliminating the byes, and two rounds of best-of-three series were played, followed by a best-of-seven championship. In 1950 the Minneapolis Lakers became the first champions of the newly named NBA, knocking off the Syracuse Nationals in six games.

    The 1951 through 1953 playoffs changed the Division Finals into a best-of-five playoff. In 1954, the year the Indianapolis Olympians folded, the NBA Playoffs used a Round Robin for the only time in its history. Then, from 1955 to 1966 year, the league returned to the original six-team format, expanding the Division Finals to a best-of-seven in 1958 and the Semifinals to a best-of-five in 1961.

    In 1967 the field was again expanded to eight teams, filling out the three-round bracket. A year later, the Division Semifinals were changed to best-of-seven playoff. Then, in 1975 and 1977, respectively, a fifth and sixth team were added to each Division, necessitating an additional First Round of best-of-three series.

    Finally in 1984, the tournament expanded to its present 16-team format and the now-complete First Round was changed to a best-of-five playoff. In 2003 the first round was changed to also be best-of-seven.

    Beginning with the 2004 season, with the addition of the thirtieth NBA franchise, the Charlotte Bobcats, the NBA realigned its divisions. The result was that each conference would have three divisions of five teams each, and the winner of each division was guaranteed a top-three playoff seed. This would change slightly after the 2005-06 season; while division winners still receive automatic playoff berths, they are guaranteed a top-four seed, as described above.
    2006 NBA Playoffs controversy

    The previous playoff format, in place for the 2004–05 and 2005–06 NBA Playoffs, after the NBA was re-aligned into six divisions, created controversy during the 2005–06 season and playoffs, and would be changed prior to the 2006–07 NBA season.[1]

    NBA division winners were seeded higher than any other playoff participants, regardless of their record. Prior to 2004, when the NBA was aligned into two conferences with two divisions each, the top two seeds in each conference were reserved for the division winners. This meant that top two teams in a conference (by record) would be seeded either first and second (if they were in opposite divisions) or first and third (if they were in the same division). Because of the NBA playoffs’ preset matchups in the second round, this meant that the top two teams in a conference could never meet until the Conference Finals, assuming they both made it to that round.

    After the NBA realigned its two conferences into three divisions each, the seeding rules remained largely unchanged. The top three seeds would now be reserved for division winners. This meant that if the top two teams (by record) in a conference were in the same division, they would be ranked first and fourth, and would face each other in the Conference Semifinals, instead of the Conference Finals, if both teams won their first round series.

    In the second year of this format, the 2005–06 NBA season, the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks of the Southwest Division did just that. This turn of events led to the playoff format being criticized by many. Critics claimed the matchup was not only unfair to the team that would lose earlier in the playoffs than it deserved, but also created an unfair advantage for teams in the 2-7/3-6 half of the Western Conference playoff bracket, which could advance to the conference finals without playing either of the two best teams in the conference.[2]

    The Phoenix Suns, winners of the Pacific Division and possessors of the third best record, were seeded second, and the Denver Nuggets, winners of the Northwest Division and tied for only the seventh-best record in the conference, were seeded third.

    The Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers met in the second-to-last game of the regular season, after the top four seeds had been clinched. The two teams were already determined to be the fifth and sixth seeds, and had only to determine which rank higher. The fifth seed would likely need to defeat the best two teams in the conference without home-court advantage to advance to the conference finals, as it would face fourth seeded Dallas, and likely face first-seeded San Antonio if it managed to defeat Dallas. The sixth seed would play Denver in the first round and would have home-court advantage, and only have to play, at most, one of Dallas or San Antonio—in the conference finals.

    This led to speculation about whether the Grizzlies or the Clippers would have much commitment to winning their match-up in the second-to-last game of the season, since it was clearly most advantageous to lose the game in order to obtain the 6th seed. The Clippers eventually lost to Memphis without much evidence to refute the speculation that the Clippers had lost intentionally.[3] In the first round of the playoffs, the Clippers defeated the Nuggets in five games, and Memphis was swept by Dallas. Ultimately, Dallas and San Antonio did meet in the second round, with Dallas winning in seven games, and advancing all the way to the NBA Finals.

    LeBron will have a physical advantage over the league for quite some time barring injury so his numbers could increase. Why I saw this series clearly swaying in Miami’s corner as well as an obvious Finals experience edge. We also have to remember the Clippers, Grizzlies, Spurs, of course the Lakers and maybe the Nuggets as well…will be serious obstacles for the talented Thunder. I see them doing whatever it takes to sign James Harden, so the team will be intact but it appears the East is in flux and until the Knicks get it together and the uncertainty surrounding Derrick Rose’s recovery is cleared up, the Heat are going to be there like the Pistons were last decade. I see Miami getting even stronger next season despite not having the dough because cats will want that shine on their career and living in South Beach presents many “privileges”. I’m an optimistic realist, if that makes sense, so I don’t see a reason why multiple Finals appearances in the very least won’t be had by the Heat.

  16. […] The Starting Five Bangin’ and Scorin’ Every Trip Down the Floor « LeBron James Gets His Ring: Long Live The KING! […]

  17. ch555x says:

    Nice breakdown! There’s not much I can add, since ya’ll are breaking out the stat books. I will say that time will tell on LeBron’s elite status in comparisons to the greats, though he’s making a good case so far. I think the obvious next step is following the likes of Magic and Jordan in some form of ownership (if that hasn’t happened already in some form).

  18. ROIISeven says:

    Great article! I feel like Charles and MJ are lying about the teaming up. You telling me if there was anyway the bulls could have acquire Barkley, MJ would say no.

  19. AXG. says:

    Job well done. You captured the epic journey of this young man and his dream, and I especially like the tribute to the Fab Five at the end. This pushed me to write something about LeBron. Thanks for the example Mike!

  20. You were there with me fam. Those times were memorable. Had to do the Fab Five right. More to come by us brother!

  21. michelle says:

    LONG KIVE THE KING!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. michelle says:


  23. michelle says:


  24. […] is like travel? What travel. Trade? Let’s get it. Now he’s a Cuban missile. 2 months younger than that other James. His story is his. Sui generis. Not an indictment on other professional whisperers of sport. They […]

  25. TheLastPoet says:

    Maaan.. f*ck Lebron..

    I’M KIDDING LOL!!! 🙂

    The man had a magnificent playoff run doing things I’ve never seen on a basketball court (pinpoint crosscourt passes FROM THE LOW BLOCK, etc).

    He’s the best player in the world, hands down … until next season 😉

  26. Poet you are the shit sir…

  27. […] the end for LeBron James, Miami being the last NBA team standing is the only thing that matters (A definitive LeBron piece after winning the […]

  28. […] the case of our dear King James, it’s well-documented that the former high school phenom left under dubious conditions which stained his reputation. Like […]

  29. […] and in case you forgot or didn’t see my piece on LeBron…it’s something that had to be […]

  30. […] Now does the United States have a, frankly, stunning collection of perimeter talent? Yes they do. LeBron, Kobe, Durant, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, and a few more. But if there was one flaw, one fly in […]

  31. LaVerne Winston says:

    “Congratulations and Much Love LeBron” from The Mamma In Cleveland, O., Who Takes Almost As Much Abuse for Continuing to Love and Wish You Well As You Receive From These Ignorant Cleveland Fools/fans. You Were The First That I Was a Fanatic Fan For, and You Will Always Be My Fav!