Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The boy who was to be King.

Don't mind me while I relish the perpetual decline of the once vaunted—and unjustifiably so—Cavaliers of Cleveland. Going into this year’s All-Star break, fawning stories about the transformation of the Cavs, helped by the young uber-star Lebron James, abounded. I'm not one for Shaundenfreud—though I’m always up for some good gloating—but during the Cavaliers distorted success many of my friends were heaping encomiums on the untested Lebron James. They marveled at his incredible maturity, his keen basketball intellect, and his superior statically production. I, however, only saw merit in his physical prowess—something he was blessed with; a “type-fact”, as Nietzsche would say.

It then occurred to me that this is all people really admire in the young man. All the hype, all the adulation seems to be predicated on his physicality—and, likewise, his youth. It’s like being captivated by a baby because it’s so young, or, more, topically, by Shaq for being extremely large, physically.

So, what then is the difference between Shaq and Lebron, you ask? Well, for one—actually, for three—Shaq has an NBA championship ring; three of them, to be exact. Lebron has none, and isn’t likely to win one until Shaq retires.

Thus, my particular problem with Lebron—the concept, not the person—is that expectations have already exceed what, unfortunately, he’ll ever accomplish. While Kobe still tries to create his own legendary mythology (slightly tarnished now, for obvious reasons) Lebron has yet to grope his way into the playoff and pay his dues. People should give this kid a chance to prove himself before anointing him or conferring on him any title fitting for a King.

The Cavs have been riding a six-game losing streak and appear to be discordant organizationally. Tonight, they play the Orlando Magic and will be hard pressed to prove whether or not they’re going to break out of the funk, or slip further into Eastern Conference obscurity.

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