Jun 18, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) reacts during the fourth quarter of game six in the 2013 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
LeBron James is widely considered by many to be one of the greatest to ever play the game. While not in the same class (yet) as Michael, Magic, or Bird, LeBron still has done some pretty incredible things on the basketball court and he’s only 28. But even after a triple-double in Game 6 and a miracle victory for the Miami Heat, LeBron still faces the most pressure in the series finale.
This season may be his best chance to win that second NBA title. Most of his rival teams were injury plagued when The King had to face them. The Indiana Pacers played without two-time All-Star Danny Granger, who is also the team’s best scorer. The Chicago Bulls were without former MVP Derrick Rose and solid breakout player Luol Deng. When these players return, their respective teams will only get better and LeBron’s path back to the finals gets much more difficult.
Remember when LeBron promised Not 1, Not 2, Not 3 Championships and so on? If not, here’s the clip.
So you can see the predicament. When teams in the East only getting better, and more and more superstars slowly moving out to Western Conference teams, LeBron’s path to that “Not 7” number is going to be very challenging. You can make an argument that a loss to the San Antonio Spurs will eliminate LeBron from being considered the best ever, which of course is his goal. Michael Jordan has six NBA titles and never lost in the NBA finals. If LeBron fell to 1-3 in the NBA Finals, that may just be a point of no return.
He would still potentially be in the Magic Johnson category however. Magic had nine NBA Finals appearances, finishing with a 5-4 record. LeBrons has to catch Magic before he can get to Jordan, and of course, somehow match the record of Kobe Bryant, who we often seem to not mention when considering the greatest ever. Kobe doesn’t have the statistical playoff numbers LeBron has, but his 5-1 NBA Finals record is something LeBron will always be envious of. Kobe will be considered the closest to Jordan until LeBron finds a way to a few more championships.
Dr. J is who LeBron’s career will most parallel if he loses to the Spurs in Game 7. The Doctor was finished 1-3 in the NBA Finals, which is right where The King would be with a loss as well. However, with another title on Thursday, LeBron will jump Mr. Erving in the “Greatest Player of All-Time” ranks.
LeBron James is an incredible basketball player, the best of his generation. He wants to be considered the “Greatest Player Ever.” In order achieve this feat and shed the “Greatest Player At This Moment” title, he needs another NBA Title and he needs it now.