The Cleveland Cavaliers were in this situation before. The sad part is, the last time this happened, LeBron James left for the Miami Heat. There was a time when James was considered the best in the NBA. There was a time when James was in the discussion of GOAT. There was also a time when the NBA tried their best to place his teams next to Kobe Bryant’s, only to see him fail each season. Now we know the truth. LeBron James will go down in history as the greatest sidekick ever.
Yes, you read that correctly. LeBron James is nothing more than a glorified sidekick. If you want further proof, look no further than the 2017 season.
Kyrie Irving is gone which left James and Kevin Love to show the NBA and Irving they didn’t need him. Whoops, that hasn’t gone so well. The Boston Celtics own the best record in the Eastern Conference and the Cavaliers have won only three of their last 10 games. Think back to last season when James went straight kindergarten-mode and complained to anyone who would listen that he needed help. How does a team with James, Love, and Irving need help? Is that not a Big 3 or what?
So what happened? The Cavaliers brass granted LeBron his wish and they still went out and lost another NBA Finals. With that loss, James’ record in the Finals dropped to 3-8. Yes, even with that record, many still find ways to place him in the GOAT conversation with Kobe, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and others. Just sad.
Granted, he did win three. But let’s look at those three and how they came to be.
It began in 2006 when LeBron led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals with a team, many still believe he had no help on. That statement may hold true as the Cavs would go on to be swept by Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs. Over the next three seasons, he would go on to lose twice in the Semi’s and once more in the Conference Finals, never leading Cleveland back to the NBA Finals.
Some will blame his lack of help, but why? All that does is provide further proof why he’s just a sidekick.
In 2010, James had enough of falling short and sought help elsewhere. Instead of finding a way to bring help to his hometown team, he took his talents to Miami to ride the coattails of someone else. It’s okay to admit that one can’t do it alone, however, what James did was build his very own fantasy team with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Before the season started, you could see the confidence James had. “Not one, not two, not three…” you get the point. James could talk like this. He had two of the top players at their position by his side and he knew they couldn’t fail. But where was that confidence when he was leading? That’s what great players do. They believe well before anyone else does. James had it in Miami, but only when he knew he wasn’t the leader of the team.
It was the media who tried to take the team from Wade and hand it over to LeBron. But it was LeBron who said this is Wade’s team and not his. He was comfortable being Wade’s sidekick. How did that turn out for him? The Heat would go in to win two championships in their four years together. However, to be fair, if not for the heroics of Ray Allen, it would’ve only been one. See, with the game on the line, it was never LeBron with the season in his hands. He always passed it to the next man. Sidekicks don’t take big shots, those who lead do.
LeBron saw that the Heat days were over as Wade’s body was breaking down. LeBron had to find a new coattail to latch onto. There was Kyrie Irving back in Cleveland just waiting for help. But there was a catch. James needed more help. He wanted Love who at the time was coming off a 26/12 season. With Irving and Love by his side, James now had a younger version of himself, Wade, and Bosh. He was ready.
One championship later in three attempts and the writing is on the wall again. Will James stay or will he go? Irving is gone and with him was his big shot making ability that helped the Cavaliers win their lone title against the Golden State Warriors. It wasn’t LeBron who hit that tough shot over Stephen Curry, hell, he didn’t even want the ball in the closing seconds. It was Irving who wanted to be the leader. He had to show his sidekick how things get done.
Now with James back at the helm as a leader, the Cavaliers are failing. So what did James do? He brings in his old friend Wade to try to relive some of that magic but it hasn’t worked. Irving is out so the Cavs gifted him another MVP candidate from last season in Isaiah Thomas, and still nothing. When all this failed, the Cavaliers began to panic. Now they’re involved in every trade rumor possible to try to save their season, but why? Do they not have the best player on the planet? It’s so bad in Cleveland at the moment that their own fans are showing their frustration as reported by USA Today.
LeBron James is good, hell, he’s a great player but he will never be more than a Hall of Fame sidekick. He’s Scottie Pippen to Wade’s and Irving’s Michael Jordan.