Every time LeBron James takes the court after ceremoniously throwing chalk dust into the air, he is the best player in the stadium. And as the game begins, that fact becomes increasingly evident with every possession, until inevitably collapsing on the very last one. Filled with an uncertainty as the final moments quickly unwind, the man who’s shoulder blades permanently boast the words, “Chosen One”, regularly falls short of his own billing.
Ever since James was first mockingly branded by the media as, “LeBrick”, he’s become more and more reluctant in those vital moments. And that dwindling confidence has, then, only translated into more and more failures from the otherwise star. With every missed game-winner, James would then in turn, be subjected to even more scrutiny and so the snowball would roll.
So, now as his reputation precedes him in those final seconds, LeBron has discovered a way to relieve the tension by simply giving the ball up. “If I don’t take the shot, then I can’t miss the shot” Is what appears to be LeBron’s new mantra and his way of hiding from the scrutiny. However, this approach has only turned up the spotlight on the “Chosen One” and his obvious weakness, making him even more ripe for parody. Because in the end, people can understand a “LeBrick”, and eventually they’ll forgive it, but nobody will accept a “LeCoward”.
Following his highly criticized performance in the All-Star Game, LeBron James had a chance to erase that memory with an opportunity for redemption against the Jazz. But after being driven straight passed by Devin Harris, for the go ahead basket, with just seconds remaining, James opted once again to merely defer. This time putting the ball into the hands of Udonis Haslem, of all people. He missed, the Heat lost, and James is likely to find himself under the microscope, once again. But his reluctance to take the final shot is not without good reason.
The all-dominant forward has been historically bad in the fourth quarter, and even worse in the final moments specifically. He simply is not a closer, of games or seasons. And if you combine the two, then he becomes truly “LeBysmal”. In last year’s NBA Finals, LeBron averaged a mere two points per fourth quarter, regularly letting his team down in the end. He’s also now played in 10 Finals games, throughout two appearances, and in none of which has the two-time MVP scored more then 25 points, which is three below his career average.
Whether it’s fatigue setting in, the pressure thrust upon him by the media, or perhaps the impossible standards that he has created for himself. Whatever the reason be, the fact remains, that come crunch time, LeBron James is certainly not the “Chosen One”.
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