Originally written June 20, 2013 on Helmet and Pads Required:
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ― Shannon L. Alder At 9pm Est tonight when the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs tip-off game seven of the 2013 NBA Finals. Everyone who is involved in tonight’s game, will see their legacy affected someway, somehow whether they like it or not. It’s just how life goes in the world of professional sports. Unfortunately for two people in particular, LeBron James and Tim Duncan, their legacy will be affected the most as they’re the “cornerstone pieces/superstars” for not only their respective franchises, but also the NBA. Many, including myself, who truly know the game of basketball will tell you, “In the history of the NBA Finals. Superstars dominate and win game 7s.” The spotlight will be on Bron and Duncan before, during and after tonight’s game ends. The NBA seems to be the only pro sports league in which MULTIPLE rings are what separate the all-time greats from the “just greats”. Whereas in other pro sports leagues, one ring is good enough to cement you as an all-time great. With that kind of ideology fueled by sports radio, fans, columnists and bloggers. The amount of rings, or in LeBron’s case, ring, and accomplishments that Timmy and LBJ have, will almost be forgotten or down played when the outcome of tonight’s game is decided. To many people, the loser of tonight’s game will be looked at as not good enough to make it happen in the biggest game of the season when they needed to do so the most. Especially if that person coming up short tonight is LeBron. People love to hate them some LeBron. Why? …….. Because in today’s sports world, people tend to live in the moment. Tim Duncan: For years, many people have put an imaginary asterisk next to the Spurs 1999 championship as it came during the strike shortened season where there was only a 50 game schedule. Then you have the 2007 championship against the Cleveland Cavaliers which was LeBron and 14 guys Cavs GM, Danny Ferry found off Craigslist. Many look at the 2007 NBA title as being won against maybe the worst team to make it to the Finals in NBA history. Then you have the fact that unlike other top 10/15 NBA all-time greats. Timmy has never won back to back titles. If Timmy can get number 5 tonight. It would make the “yeah but” people shut up, as Timmy would be in exclusive company with an NBA championship ring for each finger on one of his hands. That said, if Timmy doesn’t capture his 5th ring tonight. He will face criticism from naysayers. But not as bad as what LeBron will. It’s sad to say this, but its true. LeBron James: Everyone remembers LeBron in the 2011 NBA Finals where he basically looked as if he didn’t even want to be in the game at times during that series after dominating the first three rounds of the playoffs that year. Prior to the 2011 Finals, you had the 2007 Finals in which he was outmatched and out manned by the Spurs. People have given him a pass on being swept by the Spurs. In fact, LeBron has gotten major props for just getting that 2007 Cavs team to the Finals because everyone realizes that the 2007 Cavs were straight trash. Then you have last year, the 2012 NBA Finals, where LeBron dominated and carried the Heat to that championship. To many, that’s cool and all. Nevertheless, if LeBron is truly one of the all-time greats, many feel that he must win back to back titles and come through in the clutch. If he doesn’t make that happen tonight, not only will he not have done so, but he will be 1-3 in the NBA Finals during his career. Now the funny thing is, people are making it (LeBron being 1-3 in the Finals if he loses tonight) to be such a big deal. But many seem to forget that other NBA all-greats have lost multiple NBA Finals too. Well…..I don’t know if its because people forget, or they just don’t know. In addition to LeBron’s NBA Finals résumé. In this year’s Finals, he has played very, very hesitant at times. LeBron has not looked like the player that he has been over the past two years. For someone who is considered to be the best player on the planet and has played like it anytime he steps on the court. LeBron not playing like the best player on the planet during this series will be thrown at his face everyday until he gets back to the Finals and redeems himself, especially if the Heat lose tonight. One could say, when you’re being mentioned in the same sentence with Michael Jordan on a daily basis as LeBron is, your legacy is scrutinized daily. Any and every time you step on the court, you’re putting your legacy at stake of not being good enough to Jordan or other all-time greats. Some would say, “LeBron brought this on himself.” I would have to say the media did it more so than LeBron. Since LeBron was a sophomore in high school, the media, mainly ESPN and Sports Illustrated, has been hyping him as the “The Chosen One” and the next all-time great. The expectation of greatness that would rival MJ was there way before LeBron left high school. Luckily for Timmy, he doesn’t face the scrutiny LeBron does and never has which is why I said earlier, even if Timmy loses, he won’t get the same type of “shade” that LeBron will. All in all, tonight is all about “Legacy” and how one’s legacy will be perceived by people globally. Question is, how will Timmy’s and LeBron’s be perceived after tonight? Only time will tell…..It will be interesting to see how things unfold.
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