Before the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first title, LeBron James, for all his accomplishments, was still the much-maligned superstar. He had a 2-and-4 finals record. His team has been schooled by Golden State up until the 4th game of the series against the Warriors.
Perhaps it comes with the territory. Being so good and well-above his peers is sure to elicit hate from other stars’ fans. But James has been primed to endure all those unwanted attention. Ever since coming straight out of high-school, there were doubters. When he took his talents to South Beach, there were torches and pitchforks.
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His most recent revelation, as reported by Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins, on what his next goal is, will surely be met with the harshest of criticisms.
“My motivation is this ghost I’m chasing. The ghost played in Chicago.”
“My career is totally different than Michael Jordan’s. What I’ve gone through is totally different than what he went through. What he did was unbelievable, and I watched it unfold. I looked up to him so much. I think it’s cool to put myself in position to be one of those great players, but if I can ever put myself in position to be the greatest player, that would be something extraordinary.”
He could not have picked a more haunting ghost. But for LeBron James, it means that he is looking to take everything to a whole new level.
All the hate thrown at him for his past actions have been crushed by his virtuoso performance in the Cavaliers’ historic title run. Some may say that Kyrie Irving saved him this time, but those could be the same people that still could not move on from the infamous decision of 2010.
The critics could keep on yapping about those things, but they don’t matter anymore. James redeemed himself by staying true to his promise to Northeast Ohio and every Wine and Gold hopefuls all over.
With his next mission, he just opened another Pandora’s Box. He has elected to take on the greatest basketball player that the world has seen, and a new phalanx of haters are already waiting for his next missed shot at the buzzer or the next cryptic tweet.
If LeBron James is to surpass Michael Jordan, he needs to stay away from the parallels. A new story must be written, and it has to be more epic, more significant, and the magnitude has to be resounding.
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How is he going to do that? We’ll never know until he’s done it; akin to how he pulled of the previously unimaginable task of overcoming a 1-3 deficit against the 73-win defending champion led by a back-to-back MVP.
The odds are heavily against LeBron James’ favor on his new goal, let’s face it. But if the historic finals achievement is his starting point, then everyone must start paying attention.