By Sean Ferguson
Social media was abuzz over the weekend after LeBron James clinched his eighth straight trip to the NBA Finals. The topic at hand: where does LeBron rank in the greatest of all-time?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Jordan fans sneer at the thought of LeBron being the greatest of all-time. Laker fans clamor “five rings for Kobe outweigh LeBron’s three.” If championships are truly the end all be all criteria for being the G.O.A.T., why is Bill Russell not crowned as the greatest with 11 NBA championships?
It’s a lively debate that brings out thought-provoking opinions, but also takes us away from truly respecting and appreciating the final stops of LeBron’s historic career.
“Enjoy this.” Those are the two words I’ve echoed to Cavs fans that have crossed my path since the start of the season.
It started with the shocking news that point guard Kyrie Irving wanted to leave the franchise that made him the number one overall pick in 2011. That steamrolled into sending Irving to one of the Cavs’ biggest rivals, the Boston Celtics. At the time, I had optimism of that trade. Isaiah Thomas was an all-star caliber point guard. Jae Crowder was the 3 and D wing player desperately needed to back up LeBron. Center Ante Zizic was a throw-in but with a youthful bounce and potential. However, the whole trade was built around the coveted Brooklyn Nets first-round pick conveyed to Boston many years ago.
Now, as the Cavs’ fourth straight Finals appearance gets underway, the talk from national pundits revolves around things such as how quickly this series vs. Golden State will end, what the Cavs should do with the Brooklyn pick and what team will LeBron join next. Yet here in Northeast Ohio, we are looking past these distractions and marveling at the greatness of King James.
Once again, I’ll say it - let’s enjoy these next few games.
LeBron has shown throughout the 2018 postseason the ability to block out the noise and go to work the only way we know how in Northeast Ohio – with a blue-collar attitude and a drive to accomplish the goals set forth.
Are the odds stacked heavily against the Cavs in this series? Undoubtedly so. But, haven’t they been all year? From the failed Isaiah Thomas acquisition to the mid-season roster shakeup, this was supposed to be the year LeBron had the Eastern Conference crown snatched away.
The Pacers were the talk of many NBA circles after their Game One win in the first round of the playoffs. Many thought they might pull off the series win. It took seven games, but LeBron came out victorious.
This was supposed to be the year Toronto got revenge against the Cavs. Four wins and a broom later, the Cavs move on.
The youthful Boston Celtics and their feisty defense was sure to trip LeBron and Co. up. A back-and-forth series ended with a fourth straight trip to the Finals.
As we prepare for Game One, we should recall the beginning steps of LeBron’s career. Nike has driven nostalgia to the forefront with its new marketing campaign focused on a young LeBron entering a tattoo shop, folded piece of paper in hand. On the paper, “Chosen 1” is sketched out. The ad ends with “always believe.”
And that’s exactly what we as Cavs fans should do. Sit back and witness greatness as this once-in-a-lifetime talent battles in this once-in-a-generation rivalry.
The chips will fall where they may. No doubt there will be lively debates on Facebook and Twitter, along with fan photos filling Snapchat and Instagram.
Enjoy this amazing run, Cavs fans. When it’s all said and done, then we can worry about the future. It’s called Believeland for a reason.