Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I Am a Witness

By now we've all seen Nike's latest campaign for phenom Lebron James in which the entire world professes to be a witness to his extradordinary abilities. I must admit I thought it was kind of corny at first. Come on does this guy really believe the hype? He's not that nice...

I was wrong. King James is poised to go down in history as the greatest basetball player of all time. Yes even greater than Michael. In fact he may be the best player in the history of team sports...

Okay, I'm exagerrating ever so slightly. I started writing this blog after game 4 and I have resumed after game 5. Lebron and the Cavs have the best team in the NBA, the Detroit Pistons on the verge of elimination. We're in uncharted waters here. Odds on favorites to win the NBA championship aren't supposed to be knocked out in the second round by an average team led by a 21 year old in his inauguaral postseason. The maturity and poise we have seen from the King continues to boggle the mind.

We knew about his physical talent. He's bigger and faster than 99% of the people assigned to guard him. We knew about his drive to become better as evidenced by his increasingly deadly outside shot that was a glaring weakness in his rookie year. The only question was wether he had the mental makeup to compete at the highest level in the most pressure filled situations. Several gamewinning shots later we know the answer to that as well. He's done everything expected of him and more and he still hasn't come close to reaching his ceiling, if it exists.

Throughout the playoffs he's dominated games without scoring 50 points, simply by controlling the game and elevating the level of play of everyone around him. Late in Game 5 against Detroit he threaded a laser between defenders to Drew Gooden underneath the basket who scored the go ahead basket. Lebron already understands that he doesn't need to score every basket for his team to compete.

And he's doing all of this without the Cav's starting shooting guard, marquee free agent pick up Larry Hughes. Regardless of what happens the rest of the way in this playoffs, the foundation has been set. We are truly witnessing the birth of a legend and there is no telling where he will take us.