gigantes wrote:Nice points all around, and I'd argue that LeBron carried a team that arguably had no business being in the finals not just once, but twice (his first and last finals with the Cavs).
He also took a Cavs team (2014-15) without the #2 and #3 players and made a legit series of it, winning two games with a pretty mediocre cast against a dynasty-level team.
He also used an underwhelming (even bratty) performance in the 2010-2011 finals to reinvent himself upon being a better leader and playoff performer. That's not just impressive to see sports-wise, but also a cool storyline that makes him all the more interesting and relatable.
So the guy still gets ragged on for his team losing six finals, but he was a monster in five of them, and I think really only deserves a harsh critique for his first MIA finals. It's ridiculous, and to me just indicates how many people place personal belief over facts & reality.
Also, going back to the OP, the tendency for people to compare Bill Russell's finals record to Jordan and Lebron's is beyond disingenuous. Russell was a great player for his day and the consistent MVP of his team IMO, but he played in a microscopic league with team after team of HOFers built by Auerbach's genius for talent and willingness to give plenty of African-American players opportunities.
The sheer numbers are nice, but the comparison with Jordan and LeBron's situations never made much sense to me.
Uber-fans always want to apply context to their favorite player in order to frame the argument in their favor.
For example the common arguments against Bill Russell:
- small eight team league
- level of athleticism is lower i.e. "too many short, slow white guys"
- the Celtics were stacked
These may be legitimate arguments against Russell, but you never hear the other side of the argument:
- player movement was controlled by the owners...you could not do what Lebron is doing now
- the level of nutrition, player development, training development was still in its infancy
- the level of racism Russell, Chamberlain, Oscar had to deal with are levels above anything experienced now
- the shoes, the ball, the rims, the arenas, the transportation, the uniforms are all far better now than in Russell's day
Does anyone remember this?
Then let's talk about Lebron's finals appearances...the biggest narrative that his stans tend leave out is the level of competition. If you want to complain that the competition was lower in Russell's era, then you must acknowledge that the East has been the JV league for the last 20 years. The only way Lebron could have gone to so many finals is the lack of competition.
If you want to make the argument against Russell playing with a stacked team in a sub-par league, you can make the same argument against Lebron playing on stacked teams in Miami and Cleveland in a sub-par conference.
Who was Lebron's competition from 2007 to 2018?
I can tell you the competition in the West:
Then the great teams that you had to go through in the Spurs, Lakers, Warriors...these are ATG level teams...who did Lebron ever have to beat to get to the finals? Then Lebron's record is indicative of just how good his teams are:
If you have a losing record at the highest level, then maybe your competition was not that good.
The difference is when Michael was at his best, his teams were at their best. There is no doubt that when the Bulls were winning they were the best team. Michael is known for stopping some of the best players of all time from getting rings:
Who did Lebron ever stop from winning rings in his time? They are handing rings out like candy in the Lebron-era.
Kawhi got two
Durant got two
Curry got three
All directly against Lebron...so when we talk about context, fans only want to show one side...which is typical of people that want to suppress ideas, they don't want to hear the other side...it hurts their feelings.....
I'm so tired of the typical......