I figured it out. I know what happened.
I over-reacted the other night. I blamed Bron’s performance on him quitting on the team because he wants to leave for NY. Now, I do happen to believe Bron quit inside his heart (just a bit) because he does want to go to NY, but that’s not entirely to blame for his performances, or the Cavs not winning the NBA title (which they were, by far, favored to do).
Here are the reasons*, in ascending order (from least responsible to most responsible):
*LeBron’s elbow did not make the cut. Nash and Kobe wouldn’t allow me to list it.
10.) LeBron wants to leave Cleveland for NY so he can literally make a billion dollars, and join Jordan, Ali and Babe Ruth in the top rung of sports legends. Can you blame him? No other athlete alive has a shot at making that money or joining that group. He quit caring 100% because he’s half-way out the door.
9.) LeBron James held this free agency over the heads of his teammates, his coach, his team and the city of Cleveland like a total jerk. Listen, you can tell everyone on the planet you want to stay a Cav and the Knicks would STILL give you everything they have. What’s the harm in then at least saying, “I love Cleveland. I love this team. I want to be back here next year. We’ll see how it goes.” His teammates were scared because of it. Like they had been given a death sentence.
8.) This Cavs team doesn’t deserve it. If you cower because LeBron had a tough game, you don’t deserve to win a championship. Those guys hung LeBron out to dry. Nobody stepped up. Cowards. Chickens. They fed off LBJ’s brilliance all year, and when a team shut down LeBron, they were helpless. Basketball is a team game. They were afraid.
7.) Antawn Jamison. Wait a minute, you mean the guy that’s never been a part of a meaningful basketball team (in part, because he’s not a meaningful basketball player) wasn’t the missing piece of the puzzle? Jamison is not the #2 on a championship team, and neither is…
6.) Mo Williams. Mo Williams dies in the spotlight. He dies. This guy isn’t even close to being a #2. Williams isn’t HALF the player Byron Scott or Dennis Johnson was. Note to NBA GM’s: if Mo Williams is your prospective #2, grab your rod and reel, because you’ll set sail every May.
5.) Rajon Rondo. That boy put it on you every game, and you never adjusted. He ate you alive. The Cavs put this guy in the “best point guard” debate, and he isn’t exactly at steady jump shooter. Cleveland made him look like Oscar Robertson.
4.) The Celtic Defense. Those old dogs want another championship because they KNOW, this is it. I hate every last one of them, but I respect that.
3.) Mike Brown. Mike Brown is a miserable coach, and the worst thing about this Cavs v. Celtics series is that people are being lead to believe Doc Rivers isn’t a miserable coach too. Back to Brown - he walked that sideline, wiping his face, with no clue whatsoever. Clueless. He looked like a kid who never went to class, staring at the final exam.
2.) You hired the wrong guy.
Shaquille O’Neal was the WORST person you could have brought onto this squad. From the moment I heard about the trade, I was elated. I knew Cleveland would blow it. Why? Because LeBron James is Shaquille O’Neal.
Shaquille O’Neal was a force the likes of which the League had never seen. Shaq was so physically dominant, but moreso than that, he had game. His feet were so quick. He had touch. Shaq was going to revolutionize basketball.
But Shaq made rap albums. Shaq made genie movies. The Rockets folded up the Magic in 4 games to win the title, and Shaq didn’t seem to care. Even when Shaq was on top of the world, he argued with Kobe, he lazily played the regular season, and he ate food like a dinosaur. As great as Shaq is, he could have been the greatest center ever. But he’s not. And it’s because he doesn’t care. There’s nothing wrong with that. He just doesn’t want to be the greatest.
And you go ahead and bring this guy in to mentor LeBron, who has all the same trappings? Shaq is an absolute mirror for LeBron. The Cavs needed a Robert Horry. A PJ Brown. A Joe Dumars. They paid Shaq, and Shaq didn’t exactly point this team in the right direction.
1.) The Chalk Bullshit.
Listen to me, LeBron. Knock off all the bullshit. Stop throwing rosin in the air. Stop with the cute little 3pt. hand signals. Stop the dancing. Stop posing for fake photos, and stop rapping on the sidelines. Stop all the dumb shit.
Have you ever seen Bill Russell pull this garbage? What about Larry Bird? Joe Montana? Walter Payton? Kobe Bryant, by all accounts, is a phony jerk. But as a sports fan, you couldn’t ask for more. Kobe wants to win every game, as did Jordan, and you can’t appreciate that enough. LeBron james is a 25 year-old kid who, right now, doesn’t care enough to win it all. There’s nothing wrong with that. He just doens’t want it.
At 25, I slept on a pool raft for a bed. I get it. 25 year-olds are idiots.
I went to watch the Cavs play the Nets at the Izod Center this year. I always get to games early so I can watch players warm up. If you’ve seen the Cavs, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, it’s amazing.
LeBron James comes out, immediately runs to half court and starts heaving up half court shots. The entire team is under the basket cheering for him. Watching his shots. Afterwards, they put on a dunk contest in layup lines, bouncing the ball off the backboard, and off the deck, to slam home make-shift alley-oops.
His teammates were grabbing rebounds and dancing. DANCING. They were dancing over to the sidelines with the goddamn ball. When most teams start a free shooting, LeBron and his teammates started joking and playing around with each other. Then they danced some more.
When the game started, LeBron loafed, and picked his spots to perform. He made deep, incredibly difficult shots, and then preened. He flaunted himself like a peacock. In the second half, he started dunking basketballs and waving to Jay-Z on the sidelines. Do you understand? During gameplay, this guy is waving hello to a rapper who paid money to watch him play.
You can only blame your teammates, coaches, city, elbow, Celtic defense so much. It ain’t easy being a team’s #1. Nobody said it was. It’s on LeBron. They lost because of him, and he should own up to it.
Good news, though. If you want to win, LeBron, I have advice. You should stop rapping on the sidelines, and stop the fake photos. Listen to me and Joakim Noah. Stop the dancing, and stop with the cutesy 3pt. hand signals.
And please, for all that you should be - and you should be the greatest basketball player ever in the history of the sport - stop throwing up that goddamn chalk.