Earned Not Given?
So this seems to be the new catchphrase for LeBron James now that he has finally succeeded in winning his first NBA Championship. While Lefty understands marketing and the need to sell t-shirts, did LeBron really earn his first championship?
There is already so much talk of LeBron being one of the greatest players of all time and comparing him to Michael Jordan. Many people point out that Michael Jordan didn’t win his first ring until the 1990-91 NBA season. That is a weak argument.
Jordan faced some of the toughest competition in the history of the game, matching up against the likes of the Celtics,76ers, and Pistons. All of these teams were spectacular teams of the 1980’s. Jordan didn’t leave the Chicago Bulls to play with Magic and the Lakers, Bird and the Boston Celtics, or Isiah and the Detroit Pistons. Jordan wanted to defeat his peers – not join them.
Jordan failed season after season constantly taking a beating from his arch nemesis – The Detroit Pistons. Jordan never gave up and inched one step closer each season. Eventually Jordan and the Chicago Bulls reached the top of the NBA.
So what if it took MJ until the 1990-91 season? This should mean that LeBron should be compared to Jordan?
Why, because LeBron was 27 and MJ was 28? Lefty hears that argument from young kids who don’t know what they are talking about. It’s hogwash. What logic would apply there anyway? Magic Johnson won in his first NBA season.
LeBron didn’t gut it out with Cleveland. Instead, he took his talents to South Beach. How sweet would it have finally been to earn a ring with the Cleveland Cavaliers? His first, their first.
The true greats of the game have multiple rings. Isiah has two. Larry has three. Magic has five and Jordan has six. Those guys earned their rings playing against one another, not by joining forces and crushing the league.
The fact that the Miami Heat didn’t win in their first season together is inexcusable and pathetic. LeBron is still far behind Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and even his teammate D. Wade. LeBron James has a long way to go. It remains to be seen if he will ever earn the nickname “King”
Lefty is a Featured NBA Writer of the Los Angeles Clippers for Rant Sports. Join me at Leftys Sports Debates