Legacy is one of the most important aspects when looking back at the greatest players in professional sports history. All fans have these everlasting images in their heads about the all-time great players, that can be positive--Michael Jordan hitting the winning shot over Bryon Russell, John Elway winning back-to-back Super Bowls to finish his career-or negative--whatever has happened to Tiger Woods, Brett Favre’s last season in Minnesota. These images drastically affect how we remember legends of the game.
Legacies are not one great moment or season, but how exactly does their career shape up as a whole. In today’s world, these legacies have come down to one thing: championships won. LeBron James is at a crossroads for how he is going to be remembered right now. If LeBron retired immediately, he will still be thought of as one of the 10-15 greatest players of all-time, but to take that leap into the top 5, LeBron has to win a championship in Cleveland.
*Photo via StAgustine.com
It feels almost if LeBron’s time in Miami is now forgotten. We all did not forget that he did win two titles, but don’t those titles feel a little tainted? We all feel those were joint titles with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh--LeBron was the alpha dog but no way does he win those without those two--and it seems as if LeBron went to Miami just to win a title so he did not get polarized like Charles Barkley and Karl Malone, two superstars who never won a title.
In the 2016 NBA Finals, Cleveland looks overmatched, but isn’t this the team LeBron wanted? He has the influence where he has become the de facto General Manager for this team--trading for Kevin Love, JR Smith, re-signing Tristan Thompson, firing David Blatt and replacing him with Tyronn Lue--these were all moves of GM LeBron, and those are the moves that give this team little to no hope in beating Golden State. It’s almost as if LeBron the player needs to overcome LeBron the GM for the Cavs to have any sort of a chance in this series.
*Photo via Balldontstop
Things could change once they get back to Cleveland, but can anyone see the Cavs winning four out of five to win this series? Reminder: Golden State has lost fourteen games since OCTOBER. And you know what would absolutely diminish LeBron’s legacy? If the Cavs go down without a fight and get swept, which is looking very probable with how this series is going.
LeBron has been an incredible player ever since he stepped on the court in the NBA, but winning championships is what fans will always remember. For LeBron to get himself into the same stratosphere as the all-time legends (Jordan, Russell, Bird, Magic, Duncan) he must win more titles. Is this Cleveland team good enough? In the next few years, will they be good enough to beat Golden State, Oklahoma City, or San Antonio? Time will tell, but one thing is certain, it don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that ring…
Stats courtesy of Cheatsheet.com