Thursday, May 13, 2010
I thought about waiting until AFTER tonite's game to write this post. Hell, LeBron might just go for 70 in a triple-overtime win to force a game 7.
Then I realized that now is actually the perfect time.
Shhh. Can you hear the stillness of the air right now? This is like the calm before a big, big storm.
If James and the Cavs win to stay alive, the storm will weaken, even perhaps dissapate if they win Game 7 to advance to the Eastern Finals.
If they lose, batten down the hatches.
The sports media shit storm that will rain down on King James will be nothing short of a Cat5 SuperStorm.
LeBron will be labeled by many, a bum.
It will be hard to argue with that.
Even harder if he bolts Cleveland for New York. You know who loses playoff series you are supposed to sweep, and then bolts for a bigger market just for the attention?
A bum does that. That's right. A bum.
His career will hardly be over. The next chapters in it will still be written. And I'm not saying a title in a new city - or two, or more - won't do plenty to hard-erase this incredible collapse.
But a loss here is going to leave a mark. A big one. One that will likely be on the record, for good. There will be the "yeah, but..." of what was not accomplished in Cleveland.
I have heard the renewed complaints that his "supporting cast" is still - STILL! - not good enough. I know Jamison can't guard an orange cone with 2-3 zone help. I am well aware of Shaq's advanced age and girth.
But I wasn't hearing any of that too loudly until this series tilted in Boston's favor.
Look, I have never been either a huge James fanatic, nor a detractor. Yet there are plenty of both out there. I never drank the Kool-Aid on this guy, I just stood amazed at how large the pitcher of it was. Call me, "curiously awed" by the guy.
The guy is a human freak-a-zoid. He prowls the court like a big ol' leopard. His hi-lite reel, un-deniable un-guardability, and numbers are otherwordly.
Yet, the LeBron James legacy hangs in the balance tonite.
Can you feel the eerie still air?
James has to deliver tonite. HAS TO! Period.
When asked if he was disappointed in his, or the team's performance in Game 5's boot-eating loss at home, James coolly said: "Me? Personally? Nah, I'm not disappointed. I'm never disappointed in my play. I feel like I could do more, but I'm not disappointed at all."
As for why Clevelanders should feel confident about a Game 6 win?
"They got me," he said.
And there you have it. From a guy who said he just wants to be "a global icon" and someone who wears his own MVP t-shirt, and from a guy who wears a "#6" shootaround jersey before tonite's game just to remind people: "Hey, remember I changed my number for next year, and I might just change teams"....
Well, suffice to say, there are a whole lot of chips sitting in the middle of the table right now.
I haven't salivated over an NBA game like this, since Kings-Lakers years ago.
To quote Bob Costas in the movie Baseketball: "You're excited? Feel these nipples!"