LeBron, a throne and history

LeBron, the main standard-bearer for the restart, sniffs a new ring that will catapult him to the highest point of Olympus in the NBA.


LeBron smells the ring. He sniffs, and he knows that he is close, that no one better than him knows how difficult it is to win it and that it is impossible to predict if, in the future, he will have an opportunity like this again. LeBron smells that the occasion is unique and that if he wins the championship, the fourth of his career, he could teleport to the top of basketball Olympus and rub shoulders with Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and company, even reaching that point. consideration that everyone wants, to end up being the best player in history. The GOAT, as they say over there. Something that in his heart has always persecuted, fighting against everything and everyone, dynasties, stars and legends. Fighting even against his own ghosts and managing to overcome that wave of criticism that has haunted him throughout his career and that has increasingly surrendered more to evidence that is beginning to be objective and that prevents any excuse from what this has already achieved. Player.

Never a season has generated so much uncertainty, with months of pause before an eternally delayed resumption and a cancellation that has even been requested and with which it has been fooled (and something more) at all times. There has never been LeBron, who saw the Lakers top of the West with a 49-14 record and four consecutive wins just before a whimsical loss to the Nets and the final stoppage. The Angelenos had beaten the Pelicans, Sixers, Bucks and Clippers before that, confirming their upward dynamic and tying up their rivals in Los Angeles with a great match from a King who wants to regain the throne that occupies, at the moment, Kawhi Leonard. That opposite pole with a radically different idea (we do not know if it is wrong) to that of James, who has remained as the last redoubt of that basketball of before, in which all games were tried to be played, whatever the cost. There were Jordan and Kobe in the past, in contrast to Durant and Irving, who prefer not to risk their injuries. Or that Kawhi, of course, who played 60 games last year and was going the same way. And yes, we talk about load management.

LeBron saw an opportunity and was already sniffing in March what he is now looking forward to. Miami confirmed him as a legend, the 2016 ring allowed him to rub elbows with the best ever and almost without excuses for anyone, and those same pretexts ended with an ode to epic in the 2018 playoffs. That solo against the world that allowed him to leave Ohio with his homework done and as a heavenly being of a magnitude inversely proportional to what he represented in 2010 when, The Decision through, went out the back door and was the most hated being in the NBA until he confirmed that the Criticism was not so correct and that the flattery began to gather force. LeBron has been the maximum standard-bearer for the restart and, aware of the opportunity he has, he has taken his strength and power within the players (and almost the NBA itself) to the maximum, ignoring the cancellation requests and creating including the moral dilemma involved in asking for the return of sport in the country most affected by the coronavirus in the world. Even there, when things were getting worse and with the death of George Floyd and massive protests on the horizon, LeBron defended the resumption, relying on the bubble and considering that playing was the best possible tribute for racialized people, in particular the black community who lives (and lives, unfortunately) in the United States.

At almost 36 years old (he will be on December 30), winning the ring in Los Angeles would mean closing the loop in the most glamorous city in the United States and with the best franchise (with permission from the Celtics) in history. It is not the same to win in the largest market in the world (no matter how much in recent years the Lakers themselves have insisted on proving the opposite) than in Ohio, nor with a big three like the one they had in the Heat, where dominating the East was not as expensive as it was in the 90s. The West, as you discovered last year, is something else quite different, and the added pressure of being the benchmark for one of the few teams with a bigger shadow than yours. own, it magnifies a hypothetical victory in a year with more rivals than ever and a stratospheric competition. And that without counting the unknown of the reaction to the three-month hiatus and the cut that has had a positive dynamic such as that of the Lakers, in contrast to other entities that could have seen a stoppage like the one that has occurred. . The ring, whoever it is for, will have even more merit if possible now than before, due to the added difficulty of managing an unprecedented situation that nothing and no one has faced in the best league in the world. You know, that's why from the asterisks.

LeBron will fight history to regain his throne, but if everything goes normal, he will also have to do it against the aforementioned Clippers. As in everything, both they and their star have done the opposite of their nemesis during quarantine. Without positioning himself, without appearing almost in the media or without talking about resumes or asterisks, nobody has heard from Kawhi and little has been known about his team. The star, always away from the spotlight, will try a new assault on the ring to have won it with three different teams, something that James himself can also achieve. Apart from that coincidence, the two players are not alike at all, but they will have to face and match to fly to a hypothetical Finals. No one knows what the tie will bring (if it ever does) and there are hardly any references beyond a 2-1 record for the Clippers, who traced Christmas Day with Lakers demerit and fell in the last game with a LeBron. imperial (28 + 8 + 9) who handled the crash in an exceptional way in the last possessions, demonstrating his progression in the clutch time, that resolving capacity that some reproached him at the beginning of his career and that it is almost impossible to throw him in face

No one knows how much we have left of LeBron, but at the moment and on the way to 36 years, there is no glimpse of any downturn in such a prodigious physical wonder. This is demonstrated by his averages this season: 25.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 10.6 assists, leader for the first time in his NBA career in this section. And in 34.9 minutes of play, less than ever. A legitimate MVP candidate who can win (would be the fifth of his career), this year he has surpassed the longed for Kobe Bryant (hours before his death) to become the third highest scorer in history. And the break, among other things, can take away games to conquer the top of the scorers, who take a Jabbar that if he has no physical drop can overcome. Another reason to raise it to Olympus in which Jordan continues to maintain itself by consensus and in which some put Jabbar himself. And another ring, one only, could cripple a debate that the most staunch of His Airness see with some fear and others with excessive desire. Of course, between loves and fears there will always be a constant division and a continuous discussion inherent in the NBA, which has always lived a lot (and very well) of this type of circumstances.

No one knows what will happen, but the Lakers will be there. Aiming for everything, with an exceptional defense throughout the season that will have to be strengthened, without Avery Bradley, at Disney and with the additions of JR Smith and a Dion Waiters who did not make his debut after his signing. And nobody knows what will happen, but it is clear that LeBron has a mission: the ring. That prize for many elusive and that it has cost him blood, sweat and tears to get. In the promised land, the Lakers want to return to the light and be the benchmark of a League that has belonged to them, definitively emerging from the worst crisis in their history. And LeBron wants even more, to lead them to victory and to consecrate a race that seems to have no end, catapulting himself, who knows, to the top. Orlando will pass sentence. Or it will be dictated by James himself. Very good, you have to be the rival to win four of seven games in a shadow as long as yours. The King wants his crown. LeBron seeks his throne and his definitive place in an NBA that is impossible to understand without him and whose last pages can, why not, bear his signature. All or nothing. Now or never. LeBron, before history

Photos from as.com
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