Nonfiction Pop Culture The Word 4 minute read

Is We Finished or Is We Done: Lebron Ends the Debate

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Shut up.  Just shut up.  All of you Lebron haters now need to shut the hell up.  He unequivocally reasserted himself as the best basketball player in the world – and simultaneously brought Cleveland its first professional sports championship in 52 years.  He eviscerated the two time reigning MVP – Steph Curry – both physically and mentally, taking Curry’s swagger and heart in the process.

via GIPHY

Lebron did not just outperform Curry – he demolished him.  He outperformed him in every statistical category, and took pleasure in repeatedly blocking his shot into the sixth row.  While Lebron finished the Finals for the second consecutive year damn near averaging a triple double, Steph finished the Finals averaging more turnovers than assists.  Let.  There. Be. No. Doubt.  Lebron  has been, AND REMAINS, the best baller in the league until further notice.

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In light of his physical dominance I don’t understand the hate and vitriol directed Lebron’s way.  His performance ON the court establishes him as an all time top 10 (if not top 5) talent.  OFF the court, you have never heard boo about LeBron.  Not a single DUI, strip-club incident or night club outburst.  Sure – “The Decision” was a bad decision – but how many of us has a perfect record of decision making at the age of 25 (let alone those 25 year olds with a nine-figure net worth)?  Bottom line – Lebron has been an exemplary player notwithstanding this hate.

I also think there is a double standard geared against LeBron.  Much like during Michael Jordan’s career – when he should have won the MVP every single year (and the Steve Nash and Karl Malone MVPs are still a joke) – LeBron is the MVP of the NBA every year, year over year, until further notice.  He plays at a MVP level on both ends of the floor (did you see the repeated blocks on Iguadola and Curry?).  Curry was a downright liability on the defensive end – as the Cavs targeted his substandard defense possession, after possession, after possession.

And while we are on the subject of Curry – does anyone else see the glaring double standard in play?  Because Curry is light-skinned, short (by NBA standards), looks 14 years old and has a frail build – he is a more acceptable and comfortable “Black” for mainstream America.  Accordingly, his chest bumps, shoulder shimmies and even the throwing of his mouthguard are met with enthusiasm and embrace by mainstream society.  Juxtapose that with Lebron – a dark skinned, six foot eight, 270 pound ball of fury, intellect and elite athleticism.  He is not familiar.  He is not comfortable and accordingly people attack him.

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Do you think that the narrative would be any different if it had been Lebron that had thrown the mouthpiece?  Be honest – as I think we all know the answer.  Curry with his light skin, boyish looks and blue eyes gets a pass for things that they would kill Lebron over.  Curry’s poor performance in the Finals is an ancillary story – not the main story – because people like him.  Lebron would never catch such a break.  Even before game seven was played people were on Lebron about his play, his finals record and his “legacy.”  At the same time the public and the mass media were all too eager to anoint Curry as the new “best player in basketball” and the face of the NBA.  It’s a telling indictment on the impact of “colorism” in today’s society.  And then these finals happened.  Lebron reasserted his dominance, took the Warrior’s heart, and reestablished the proper pecking order.

While sports provide huge drama and great storylines, they are also cruelly objective.  73-9 “don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that ring.”  The best player and the better team won.  I hope those facts will allow more people to recognize the basketball genius we are watching.

A writer noted of Michael Jordan that “he is better at playing basketball than anyone else is at doing anything.”  That is true of LeBron as well.  Sit back, be amazed by his excellence, enjoy the most transcendent talent of the last twenty years – and check your bias against him (whether racial, social or otherwise) at the door.

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