The 2013 NBA Finals come down to Thursday night’s Game 7. There are only two ultimate outcomes: either the Miami Heat become back-to-back NBA Champions or the San Antonio Spurs will capture their fourth title in the Tim Duncan era.
However, we all know that there are repercussions of Game 7 that stretch way beyond winners, losers and who holds the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of the night. There are several other things that will be determined, the most prominent of which is this chapter in the legacy of Heat star LeBron James.
We are at a unique place with the self-proclaimed King. There’s not really anyone that can deny the fact the LeBron is the best basketball player in the world right now. However, that doesn’t stop his detractors from picking apart every single thing that he does on the court.
In the insane drama-fest that was Game 6 of these Finals, people were eviscerating James for his play through three quarters as well as him missing a three and for making two turnovers late in the fourth quarter. However, those same critics choose to ignore the fact that LeBron’s 16 points, two rebounds and two assists on 7-11 shooting allowed them to even be in the game in the first place.
Though it’s hard to gauge because of how different the prominence of social media makes things these days, it’s hard to imagine an athlete at the height of his powers in his respective sport being as blindly hated for every minute detail of his game. The critics are so busy looking for ways to detract from what he does that they fail to realize any of the incredible things that he does on the court.
In Game 7, LeBron will have the chance to silence the “haters” just like he did last year.
One of the comments that James gave the media after Game 6 was along the lines of saying that if the Heat were going down, they were going to fall on his terms. That’s when he became aggressive and took over in the fourth quarter and also what caused him to make those two late turnovers.
There’s no way to be certain, but that’s the same type of mentality we should expect from James in Game 7 for the full 48 minutes. Not just because he’s not messing around and is ready to put the Heat on his back, but because he’s delivered in Game 7s before.
In four prior Game 7s for James, two with Miami and two with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he’s averaged 33.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game on 46.2 percent shooting. When the series has come to a do-or-die situation, he’s risen to the occasion.
If James goes out on Thursday night, plays aggressively, and once again delivers the goods and a championship for the Heat, the critics will have to take a sabbatical from their slander. A second straight title would make LeBron only the third player in NBA history to win back-to-back championships and MVPs, joining Michael Jordan and Bill Russell. It’s awfully hard for anyone to deny someone being in that company.
Ultimately next season will begin and the detractors from LeBron will return, like they always seem to do. However, if James delivers like he’s fully capable of in Game 7, the critics will have to hold their tongues, if only for one night, while LeBron clutches the trophy once again.