LeBron James is Winning Big Despite not Being in the NBA Playoffs

lebron james ipromise school springhill entertainment

For the first time since 2005, NBA fans are witnessing an NBA post-season without LeBron James. James started a new NBA chapter with the Los Angeles Lakers last summer. Lakers fans hoped that Lebron James would fill the void left by Kobe Bryant and lift the franchise to its rightful place as an NBA powerhouse. Unfortunately, that has not happened yet. In want many have characterized as a failed season, King James has managed to remain on top with his endeavors off the court. James has always held that he was about more than basketball. He is living up to that showing the world that he is “More Than an Athlete.” James and his business partner Maverick Carter made the Hollywood Reporter’s 50 Agents of Change Empowering Diverse Voices in Hollywood list. LeBron James is winning on so many levels.

The Hollywood Reporter praised James and Carter for their work on the Shut-Up and Dribble three-part docu-series that earned an NAACP Image Award nomination. The Hollywood Reporter also acknowledged James and Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment company for partnering with Octavia Spencer to produce a series about Madame C.J. Walker. With moves like these, King James has managed to remain one of the most talked about NBA players during the post-season despite not making the playoffs. This is due to the fact that King James keeps landing major wins off the court!

First Win- LeBron James’ I Promise School Exceeded Expectations

Last summer, LeBron James opened the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. James opened the school to help at-risk children overcome many of the same obstacles he faced at their age. Last month, it was reported that the school is off to a great start. The students have outpaced seventy percent of other students districtwide and have scored in the 99th growth percentile of the evaluation association’s school norms.

King James has much to be proud of. He deserves to be in headlines for this accomplishment. James even earned accolades from former President Obama.

King James is truly “More Than an Athlete” as he continues to demonstrate that he is about more than just basketball.

Second Win – James’ Investment in Liverpool FC is Paying Dividends

In 2011, James made a $6.5 million investment in Liverpool FC earning him a two percent stake in the club. As the club’s value has contiued to grow so has the value of James’ stake. In 2018, James’ investment was valued at apporximatley $32 million. It was recenty reported that James’ stake as grown to apporixmatley $35 million currently. Wow, what a win while sitting out this NBA post-season!

Third Win – James’ Hit HBO Series “The Shop” is the Platform Black Excellence Has Always Needed

Last summer, LeBron James and Maverick Carter debuted the HBO Series “The Shop.” The Shop is totally ingenious. The show highlights the role of barbershops and beauty salons in black culture. Barbershops and beauty salons are more than a place where African-Americans go to get a cut or a style. They are where African- Americans have traditionally come together to discuss sports, politics, or to simply hang out and play cards or chess. In Ice Cube’s 2002 film “The Barbershop,” Cedric the Entertainer’s character, Eddie, likened the barbershop to a country club for black people.

On The Shop, various athletes, musicians, actors, comedians, and others in the entertainment industry gather in a barbershop. Some get a cut while others sit and engage in stimulating conversation. The show is the perfect forum for black excellence to address political and social issues and to tell their side of stories free from unfounded criticisms.

In the latest episode, Seth Rogen, Pharrell Williams, Lonzo Ball, Don Cheadle, and a few others gathered at the shop. James shared his thoughts on Magic Johnson’s departure from the Lakers. Lonzo Ball discussed his lawsuit against family friend and co-founder of Big Baller Brand, Alan Foster. Foster alledgely stole $1.5 million from Ball. James and Ball were both able to tell their stories free from mainstream media criticism. They were able to give their thoughts and points of view without any spin being put on it. “The Shop” is a major win for sports, entertainment, and black culture.

King James has a lot to Smile About Despite not Making it to the Playoffs

LeBron James is definitely winning off the court. James is experiencing much success with the I Promise School and his ventures in Hollywood. It is no wonder that James is still one of the most talked about NBA players despite not making it to the playoffs.

Why Do Fans Wait Until Great Athletes Retire to Openly Appreciate Their Greatness?

great athletes kobe lebron brady not appreciated

Avid football fans tuned in to watch the NFL’s most exciting event, Super Bowl LIII. The New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams in a “defensive showdown”. It was the Patriots third consecutive Super Bowl appearance. It was also the franchises ninth Super Bowl appearance with head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady at the helm. Given that Brady was successful in his ninth Super Bowl appearance, the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) debate has been embedded in almost every conversation. The ultimate question is – does this Super Bowl win solidify Tom Brady’s position as the GOAT?

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While the GOAT debate can be fun, it can also be pretty contentious. The contentious nature of the debate can deflect from the true greatness that sports fans are witnessing at the moment. The debate can cause sports fans to completely miss what it is happening because fans are focused on finding flaws in great players’ performances to justify who they think should be regarded as the GOAT. Accordingly, fans have a tendency to snub athletes during their careers who are later regarded as greats. Why do sports fans wait until the end of an athlete’s career to show their true appreciation?

The Black Mamba – An NBA Legend

One of the best examples of fans failing to show true appreciation until the athlete retires can be seen in former Los Angeles Laker, Kobe Bryant. Bryant is without question one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Bryant’s greatness cannot be disputed. After all, he scored 81 points in one game in his prime. Bryant then showed everyone how to retire when he scored 60 points in his final game. However, Bryant did not receive all of his deserved accolades until he retired. For years Kobe Bryant was one of the most hated athletes in sports. People thought he was arrogant, not a team player, and completely self-interested.

However, when he announced his retirement those sentiments changed. Instead, people said he was confident, made his teammates better, and led his teammates to several victories and NBA Championships. Everyone was ready to embrace the “Mamba Mentality.” Why did fans wait until Bryant’s retirement to show true appreciation for his performance in the NBA?

Maybe it is the old adage of not truly being able to appreciate something until it is gone. Once an athlete retires, fans are left wishing they could re-live the athlete’s greatest moments. The failure to truly appreciate Bryant while he was playing robbed the sports world of the opportunity to truly bask in his greatness. It seems that the sports world may be on the same track in regards to LeBron James and Tom Brady.

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Fans are Failing to Acknowledge LeBron James’ and Tom Brady’s Greatness While They are Playing

LeBron James is undisputedly one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball. However, when he is talked about that fact seems to get lost. Fans often focus on the fact that he is 3-9 in the NBA Finals. However, when he retires the story will likely be re-framed to reflect the fact that James appeared in 8 consecutive NBA finals. Most recently, everyone talks of the fact that the Cavaliers were swept in the 2018 NBA Finals. Again when James retires the story will most likely reflect the fact that James took what was probably the most unlikely team ever to the NBA Finals.

Similarly, Tom Brady is and has been one of the most hated players in the NFL. Tom Brady’s ability to get his team to multiple playoffs, AFC Championships, and Super Bowls is truly remarkable. However, some sports critics find ways to poke holes in his performances. To be fair, in light of Spygate and Deflategate some of his criticism is earned. Critics use those instances to take away from his greatness. In spite of how some sports fans feel about those controversies, Brady’s innate ability to constantly have his team in a position to advance to the Super Bowl is nothing short of amazing. When Brady retires the talk will not be of Spygate and Deflategate, it will be about how Brady managed to advance to 9 Super Bowls.

If Fans Are Not Careful Other Great Moments are Going to Pass Them By

Sports fans should learn to appreciate James, Brady, and other greats while they are still playing. Fans should learn to stop looking at every player’s performance for what it is not and start to appreciate it for it is. In most cases, the players are doing something that has not been before and will probably never be done again. Just simply witnessing the longevity of James’ and Brady’s careers is remarkable.

The fact that James and Brady have been able to stay at the top of their games this late in their careers is remarkable as well. Their greatness should be admired now, not after they retire. If fans do not learn to stop being so critical, other great moments are going to pass them by. If fans are not careful, they will be left to wish they could re-live James’ and Brady’s and other players’ greatest moments.

Leave a comment with who do you believe are the most under appreciated athletes of all time?


HTH: Tiger Woods Masters Tears, LeBron Blame, Russell Wilson Contract

Hot takes house, tiger woods, james harden

The Hot Takes House is open for business. In this edition: why Tiger Woods win at The Masters is the greatest comeback in sports, why blaming LeBron James for everything is thoughtless, and why Russell Wilson’s contract demands make him the smartest man in the NFL. Do not read any further if you are easily triggered. Read. Share. Leave a Comment.

Tiger Woods is the Greatest Comeback Sports History

There has never been an athlete who was dead and buried by the sports media more than Tiger Woods. Not only did they say he ran out of talent, they demanded he quit to stop the embarrassment.

The greatness of Tiger Wood’s comeback was his motivation shift. For years, talked about getting back to his old form, the desire to be great again, and repairing his name. None of those things worked. He tried to outwork the pain and injuries like he had done all his life. But, it didn’t work.

Only a father’s desire for his children to see him do something great was able to shift the tides. Tiger said he didn’t want his kids to believe he was just a “YouTube golfer.” As a father and former professional athlete whose kids were either young or unborn during my career, I understand why Tiger wanted his kids to see him be great. They had only seen injuries, scandal, and a father in severe physical pain over the last 11 years.

Seeing him accomplish his dreams with his children in attendance while 99% of people not named George Wrighster quit on him was amazing. I still don’t know who was cutting onions in my house after Tiger won.

Get Off the ‘Blame LeBron’ Train

When everyone in sports media jumps on a hot topic bandwagon, it is time to jump off. They will inevitably be wrong. Just like all those people who said Tiger Woods career was over.

The lowest hanging fruit in sports is to blame LeBron. It doesn’t matter whether it makes sense, is plausible, or fair, just blame LeBron

There was an article in Sporting News that blamed LeBron for NBA ratings being down. Is it LeBron’s job or in his control to carry interest in the entire NBA even though he only plays for one team?

Magic Johnson quit as Lakers President of Basketball operations this week; all sports media fingers started pointing to LeBron James. They said he pushed Magic out and is really in full control of the Lakers. I did not buy it for one second. I’m supposed to believe that Magic Johnson survived the NBA in the 80s, HIV, became a real estate mogul but got bullied by LeBron. LOL.

Sports media personalities would have you believe that the Lakers are a dumpster fire that cannot be fixed and it’s LeBron’s fault. Did they miss the previous 3 years before LeBron got there? Jeanie Buss and her siblings fought a legal battle over team control. They had scouting and general manager problems. The team had no direction and plan for the future. Was all that supposed to be solved by signing LeBron?

Get off the “Blame LeBron James Train” before it crashes and you end up on Cold Takes Exposed.

Russell Wilson is the Smartest Man in the NFL

Russell Wilson gave the Seahawks until end of day April 15th to get his new contract finalized. If they do not, he won’t be resigning and will become a free agent at the end of this season. The genius part of this is that Wilson wants his long term financial security tied to the escalation of the NFL salary cap.

Gambling on sports is now legal in many states, and the NFL will inevitably get in on the deal. That will trigger another salary cap spike, which will increase player salaries. Wilson knows he is one of the few elite quarterbacks in the game, and always wants to be paid like it. Most players would take huge money to become the NFL’s highest paid player without regard for future cap spikes.

Seahawks fans, don’t be upset with Russell Wilson if he can’t finish his career with the team. Owners started this disloyalty, and they aim to keep as much money in their pocket and not the players pocket. Russell Wilson won’t be another victim of one-sided NFL contracts.

Listen to the Podcast, there is even more on Tiger Woods Masters Win, Luke Walton and Kliff Kingsbury Failing Up, and LeBron James Blame.

NBA loves Hip-Hop: 2 Chainz’s Album with LeBron James is the Latest Example

2 Chainz LeBron Album

Whether it is a professional, college, or high school basketball game, walk into any gym during the warm-ups and you will undoubtedly hear hip-hop music. The relationship between hip-hop and sports has been present for years. From the days of NWA sporting Raiders gear on their rise to fame to Allen Iverson having Jadakiss appear […]

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LeBron James Impact Review 2018-2019: The Cleveland Cavaliers Fallout and the Los Angeles Lakers Future

LeBron James Impact Review 2018-2019: The Cleveland Cavaliers Fallout and the Los Angeles Lakers Future

With LeBron James, Four Straight NBA Finals. Without LeBron James, Nothing

The fallout from LeBron James’ departure from Cleveland is massive. After advancing to the NBA Finals four years in a row, the Cleveland Cavaliers are at the bottom of the league. It is no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers have been in turmoil without James. After his departure, their 2018-2019 season has been nothing short of a disappointment. The 2018-2019 Cavaliers lowlights include:

A question remains: Just how different are the Cleveland Cavaliers with and without LeBron?

Strictly Looking at Wins and Losses

After compiling win/loss records from the last 20 seasons, there is a stark difference between the Cavaliers with and without LeBron James. The following two tables illustrate this chasm. In the first table, the Cleveland Cavaliers season are split into different eras to depict LeBron’s impact historically. Then, the second table looks strictly at the overall record of the Cavaliers during James’ NBA career, in seasons with and without him.

RecordWin Percentage
Pre-LeBron (1999-2002)108-22033%
First LeBron (2003-2009)349-22561%
Post LeBron (2010-2013)97-21531%
Second-Coming (2014-2017)211-11764%
Post LeBron II (2018)19-6323%
RecordWin Percentage
w/o LeBron (2003-2018) 116-27829%
w/ LeBron (2003-2018 )560-34262%

Following a look at those records, LeBron’s effect on the Cavalier’s is even larger than expected. In seasons with James on the roster, their win-percentage more than doubled. What other star’s departure can be seen in such a resounding way? Then, looking past regular season records illuminates LeBron’s Hand of Midas in playoff pushes. In 11 seasons with the Cavaliers, he led them to 9 playoff appearances, 5 NBA Finals and 1 NBA title over the prolific Golden State Warriors. With LeBron, the Cavaliers were a team of legend. Without him, they have been nothing but bottom-feeders.

Did the Los Angeles Lakers see the same LeBron bump?

Well, no. Here’s why:

Lack of an Efficient Supporting Cast

However, there are a few reasons to explain this. First off, the players surrounding LeBron James in Los Angeles did not have an efficient season. According to numberFire’s nERD Score, which measures a player’s efficiency and contribution to team wins, only LeBron James and JaVale McGee ranked in the top-100. The next closest was Johnathan Williams, who ranked 144th. The team around him needs further development and building.

LeBron is, in Fact, Human

Granted, LeBron has taken seemingly-untalented teams to the playoffs before. But this year was different. LeBron was plagued with injuries. Perhaps it was all of his extra playoff minutes that caused him to break down. In terms of playoffs, LeBron played the most minutes of any player in the NBA since 2010. Recently, in his four Cavalier seasons from 2014-2018, James played a total of 81 playoff games. He basically played an additional season. To top it all off, he averaged 41.1 minutes per game in those appearances. All of those extra minutes had to contribute to this poor outing.

Because of the nagging groin injury, James played just 55 games. Late in the season, the Lakers and LeBron reached an agreement to limit his minutes, with no more back to back games. Then, when playoff chances were infinitesimal, the team decided to sit James out the final six games of the season. This first year with LeBron was not pretty.

Hope for Lakers Fans To Cling To

Nonetheless, there still is hope of the Los Angeles Lakers return to glory. Obviously, the Lakers still have LeBron James, one of the greatest players of all time. That definitely helps. Even in his injury-riddled season, he still averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game. Additionally, the Lakers record with James in the lineup was actually 28-27. Therefore, James still has yet to experience a losing record since his rookie season.

Furthermore, the disappointing season of the Lakers has a few benefits. The first comes with a lottery chance. Their overall record gives them a 2-percent chance to win the first pick and a 9.4-percent chance to win a top-four pick. The lowest spot the Lakers can pick in the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft is spot 14. They have a chance to reload the roster with some young, fresh talent. The 27 games sans-LeBron also gave the other players on the Lakers a chance to develop more. Without LeBron being the focal point of the offense, the rest of the cast could gain vital experience. Magic Johnson also stepped down as team president. His tenure with the Lakers has been a failed dream for a Lakers legend. But, stepping down was the right thing to do and allows a genuine executive to step forth. Last, LeBron’s 2018-2019 campaign gave him rest. In the playoffs, his off-season is essentially extended. 2019-2020 LeBron James can start the season revived.

Rebuilding LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers

At the end of their seasons, both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers are in need of a better team. Fortunately for the Lakers, they have LeBron James for at least three more seasons. Their losing record also granted them a higher chance to hit in the 2019 NBA Draft. Lakers fans can have high hopes for playoffs next season.

On the other hand, the Cleveland Cavaliers are far behind. According to an article early in the NBA season by Scott Davis of Business Insider, the Cavaliers have severe, systemic issues.

“Issues within the organization were only thinly veiled in recent years, even with James on the roster. The Cavs went all-in to build around him, and the aftermath was always going to be ugly. But at least in recent years, the winning masked some issues.”

Building a team around LeBron with big contracts and again veterans was highly criticized. “GM LeBron” was a nickname offered up by many and both the Cavaliers and James were given negative reviews on cap spending. It worked well and didn’t matter as much when LeBron was on the team. Advancing a team to the NBA Finals four years in a row offset the penalties. But, those problems became maximized the second James left. As Davis put it, “Salary-cap relief could finally come in 2020, but that would essentially be the start of the rebuild”.

Last, we all need to reflect on the rarity of this LeBron James/Cavaliers relationship. It is absolutely incredible that one player can impact an entire franchise so significantly. The sudden quick uplifts and sudden drop-offs the Cavaliers experienced were very easy to see. How much credit/blame goes to LeBron or the Cavaliers organization is up for debate. Regardless, this story has been remarkable to witness. From NBA fanatic to a fan of mild interest, LeBron James made the Cleveland Cavaliers interesting. Let’s just hope that we can see an equally compelling storyline in the next two decades.

Who Is The Greatest Athlete Of Your Lifetime?

greatest athlete Brady Jordan LeBron Serena

Tom Brady won his record sixth Super Bowl, which is the most of any player in NFL history. Brady passed linebacker Charles Haley, who won five Super Bowls during his tenures with the 49ers and Cowboys. But is he the greatest athlete of your lifetime and generation? Do Serena Williams, Tom Brady, LeBron, Michael Jordan, Jimmy Johnson, and Michael Phelps make your list?

Brady stands alone on the mountain as winningest NFL quarterback to ever play the game. Over the years, as the wins, records, and Super Bowls began to accumulate, Brady has started to earn the nickname of the “Goat,” which stands for greatest of all-time. For what it’s worth, I do believe Brady is the greatest of all-time in football, but I understand there are many sides to the argument. I did not see Jim Brown play and many believe he is the greatest football player of all-time. I also did not see Joe Montana play in the NFL and many also believe he is the greatest quarterback of all-time. These are all fair points.

However, I’m going to specify the question. Who is the greatest athlete of your lifetime? The answers will all differ depending on what year you were born, but I believe it’s a fair way of determining “Goat-status.” These are the athletes you have watched the most during your time on Earth so it will be easier to narrow down finalists for your selection as opposed to encompassing the entire history of sports.

I was born in 1993 and I have narrowed my list down to four athletes. You can call it my Mount Rushmore of “Greatest Athletes of my Lifetime.” Here are selections (in no particular order).

Tom Brady

Tom Brady / Getty

Am I a prisoner of the moment for including Brady on this list? Absolutely not. Brady has earned the right to be called one of the greatest athletes of all-time. Brady has 207 wins and 60 losses in the regular season, which is a .775 winning percentage. The next closest percentage is Brett Favre at .618. Brady completely separates himself from the pack due to his postseason dominance. Brady has an unprecedented 30 wins in the postseason. Joe Montana is second with 16. Brady is the Goat quarterback in my book.

LeBron James

LeBron James Injury Lakers
LeBron James / Via USA Today Sports

“You bro. Who is the Goat, Michael or LeBron?” Every time I hear this question, I want to gauge my eyes out. It’s unfair to both players because LeBron James is still playing. When his career is over, then start the debate. Anyways, LeBron is currently the greatest living and breathing basketball player on the planet. LeBron is a 3x NBA champion with 3x Finals MVP in nine appearances (eight straight trips to the finals and counting). The 15x All-star and 12x All-NBA First Team player is fifth all-time in scoring with 32,008 points. LeBron easily cements his place on my Mount Rushmore.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams / AP Photo

If I had to describe Serena Williams in one word, I would use “dominant.” Serena has dominated her competition ever since she turned pro as a 14-year-old in 1995. Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, which is most in the Open Era and second on the all-time list behind Margaret Court. Between singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, Williams has won 39 major titles, which is second in the Open Era. Williams has been the world’s No.1 ranked player eight times and has been the No.1 ranked player for 319 weeks total. Perhaps the word “dominant” is undervaluing Serena’s legacy. Serena is a Goat in my eyes.

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps / Getty

Unlike the three previous athletes, Michael Phelps might have the best case for Goat-status. Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all-time, having won a total of 28 medals in both individual and team events. Now you might think to yourself that because of Phelps’s silver and bronze medal totals, that is the reason why he has the most medals. If that was your belief, you would be wrong. Phelps has 23 gold medals, which is obviously first on the list. The second most decorated athlete in the Olympics is Larisa Latynina, a Russian gymnast, who accumulated 18 total medals. Phelps has more gold medals than any other Olympian’s total amount of medals. Phelps rarely lost in the Olympics and when he did, he’d usually walk away with a silver or bronze. Don’t expect any athlete to break Phelps’s record any time soon.

After laying out all of their cases, who is the greatest athlete of my lifetime?

I may need some more time to think…

Let me know who your greatest athlete selection is in the comments below!

*Disclaimer: I’m not selecting Michael Jordan because I was too young to watch and appreciate his greatness. Michael walked away from the game twice: once when I was five-years-old and then when I was ten-years-old. I simply did not see him play enough even though he is one of the greatest athletes of all-time.

How Kyrie Irving is Learning to Be a Leader: LeBron James Helped

Kyrie Irving boston celtics

“There are leaders, and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or influence. Those who lead inspire us. We follow those who lead not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead not for them, but for ourselves.”

The above statement is from Simon Sinek’s Logistics of Leadership, and the quote could not be more applicable to the situation between Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics. The Boston Celtics defeated the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night, 117-108, in what could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. Irving leads the Celtics with 27 points, but the top story was not found in the box score. In fact, the biggest story involved Irving’s words, not his play on the court. Irving dropped a bombshell when he revealed to reporters that he sought advice from the unlikeliest of sources. Irving asked for guidance from the same teammate he did not want to play with anymore and forced ownership to trade him away. Not only did Irving request direction from said teammate, but he apologized for his actions.

If you haven’t guessed by now, the teammate that gave Irving advice was LeBron James. 

Irving’s comments stem from the tumultuous past couple of days the Celtics have experienced in the media. After losing to the Orlando Magic this past Saturday night, Irving publicly called out his younger teammates, citing that they have no idea what it takes to win a championship. “The young guys don’t know what it takes to be a championship level team,” Irving said, via Keith Smith of Real GM. “What it takes every day. And if they think it is hard now, what do they think it will be like when we’re trying to get to the Finals?”

Calling out teammates in front of the media is not a trait of a leader and Irving’s teammate, Jaylen Brown, made sure to reinforce that issue. Brown fired back at Irving, saying “It’s not one guy’s fault, it’s not young guys old guys fault, it’s everybody we all have to be accountable and turn this thing around… We can’t point fingers; we just have to continue to empower each other.”

It seems to me that Irving has not figured out how to be a leader, which is why he sought advice from one of the best leaders in the NBA, LeBron James. It’s ironic because the same issues that Irving brings up (lack of experience from young guys, don’t know what it takes to win, etc.) are the same issues that LeBron had when trying to groom Irving into the league’s next best superstar. It seems as if Irving may have learned his lesson (for now).

“I’ll tell you one thing. Obviously it was something that was a big deal for me because I had to call ’Bron and tell him I apologize for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips and I wanted everything to be at my threshold,” said Irving after the victory over the Raptors. “ ’Bron was one of the guys who came to Cleveland and tried to really show us what it’s like to win a championship. It was hard for him. Sometimes getting the most out of the group is not the easiest thing in the world. Like I said, only few are meant for it or chosen for it, and I felt like the best person to call was him because he’s in this situation.”

Because of Irving’s call to James, the sports world is breaking down Irving’s comments like it’s the Zapruder film. Both sides have fair arguments. Irving realized that he was the main issue behind Cleveland’s chemistry problems, not James. Maybe Irving has learned his lesson and his apology is sincere and heartfelt. Athletes are people and just like people tend to do, they mature with age. Irving may have realized that LeBron’s leadership and constant push to be better would only benefit the team in the long run.

However, there is the other side of this debate. Irving once again opened his mouth to the public when he could have remained silent. It’s not like any member of the media had word of this phone call between Irving and James. Irving mentioned it unprovoked. Irving’s message may be heartfelt, but one can translate what he said as “Yes, I play with young and immature players that remind me of myself.” That’s kind of a backhand insult, no? Did he need to share that with the public? Did he need to use LeBron James to support his agenda of growing as a leader? Sometimes, the best way to lead is by saying nothing at all, at least to the media and to his teammates on the court. Behind closed doors is when issues over a lack of leadership should be addressed.

For all we know, Kyrie Irving could have meant every word of that apology and that he’s learned from mistakes. The fact of the matter is that the time to talk about leadership is over. Will Irving be a leader or be someone who leads? The choice is his, and the fate of the season depends on it.

Should We Say LeBron is the GOAT or Greatest Player of This Era?

Jordan Lebron GOAT

King James has fans up in arms once again. In the latest episode of the docu-series “More Than An Athlete,” LeBron James made comments proclaiming himself to be the Greatest Player of All Time (GOAT). The “More Than An Athlete” docu-series, which airs on ESPN+, tells the story of James and his three friends and business partners Maverick Carter, Rich Paul, and Randy Mims.  As can be seen in the clip below, James stated that winning the 2016 NBA Championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers made him the Greatest Player Of All Time. James’ comments have added even more fuel to the GOAT debate.[yotuwp type=”videos” id=”87AIZBYuIXY” pagination=”off” title=”off” description=”off” player=”modestbranding=0&showinfo=0&rel=0″]

Fans and critics have been debating whether James or Jordan is the GOAT?  Fans and critics have been debating whether a great player should proclaim himself to be the GOAT? Perhaps these are the wrong questions. The question should be whether there can truly be a Greatest Player of All Time? Or should the debate focus on the greatest player of each era?

Should a Great Player Proclaim Himself the GOAT?

Many fans and critics do not think so. After James’ comments, fans, critics, and the media went into a frenzy. While most acknowledged that James is a great player, many felt his comments were inappropriate.  Critics argued that no one should proclaim themselves as the GOAT because it is disrespectful to other greats who came before.[yotuwp type=”videos” id=”56pTyJKcqKY” pagination=”off” title=”off” description=”off” player=”modestbranding=0&showinfo=0&rel=0″]

Of course, it would not be a GOAT debate involving LeBron James if Michael Jordan was not mentioned. Critics of James’ comments referred to a  2009 interview of Michael Jordan when he was questioned about being the GOAT. Jordan stated that he would never say that he was the greatest player because he never had the chance to play other great players that proceeded him like Wilt Chamberlin and Jerry West. This statement, essentially proves that there can never be a true greatest player of all time. 

Can There Ever be a True GOAT? Or Should the Debate be Focused on the Greatest Player of Each Era?

There can never truly be a GOAT because there are too many players who were regarded as the greatest during their era. Great players have stood above the rest throughout basketball history. Given the number of great players to play at various times within the sport, it is very difficult if not impossible to single out one person to be the true GOAT. How does one choose between Bill Russell, Oscar Roberston, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, just to name a few? Bill Russel played during the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s.  He became a player-coach and went on to win 11 NBA championships. Oscar Robertson was the first basketball player to average a triple-double. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar still holds the NBA all-time leading scorer record.

The answer is that one cannot choose because they were all great in their own right. One could argue that they were the greatest players of their eras. However, it would be difficult to designate one of them the true GOAT because they all made invaluable contributions to the game.

Furthermore, the game has evolved over the years. The style of play has changed and continues to change, which makes it very difficult to designate a true GOAT. Plays that are thought of as great today were not before. For example, the game today has largely shifted to three-point shooting.  This is largely due to the dominance of the “Splash Brothers,” Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Before their unprecedented three-point shooting, stopping to shoot a three instead of going for the “easier” bucket was unheard of. Due to their unprecedented three-point shooting, Curry and Thompson will also go down as two of the greatest players of their era.

The 2016 Finals Did Not Make James the GOAT, Because it is not Possible to Designate a True GOAT

First, let us acknowledge that James was correct in some of his comments. He did do something special that had never been done when he led the Cavaliers to defeat Golden State. In 2016, Golden State was arguably unstoppable.  The Warriors beat the Chicago Bulls’ record for most wins in a season finishing at 73-9. The Cavilers came back from being down 3-1 in the series and defeated the Warriors for the Championship.  No team had ever come back to win after being down 3-1.

King James was already a phenomenal basketball player and his accomplishments in the 2016 NBA Finals solidified his greatness that much more. However, does that performance make King James the GOAT? No, it does not make him the Greatest Player of All Time simply because there are too many great players who dominated at different times to have a true GOAT.  However, it may make him the greatest player of his era.

King James’ Performance May Have Solidified his Position as the Greatest of his Era

King James’ performance in the 2016 NBA Finals certainly makes him the greatest player of his era because they beat a team no one thought they could beat against all the odds.  The Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit and beat what is the best team in NBA history, as far as the record goes. The Cavaliers cemented their win with a pivotal moment that was offered by none other than King James.  James ran an almost full 94 feet to block Andre Iguodala’s shot to keep the game tied in game seven. At that moment, the momentum officially shifted to the Cavaliers.

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The Cavaliers rode that wave all the way to victory. With beating the team with the best NBA record, ending a 52-year championship drought, and making the big play to push the team to the win, it is likely that the 2016 NBA Finals may have made James the greatest of his era.  However, King James is still playing. He surely has many great moments to come that could rise to or even exceed the 2016 NBA Finals.  We will see.

We cannot forget that LeBron James is winning in ways no other NBA player has. He has helped start a school, send over 1100 kids to college, won’t “Shut Up and Dribble“, and produced a documentary highlighting the NCAA hypocrisy.

Four Takeaways From LeBron James’ Injury And How It Will Impact The Lakers

LeBron James Injury Lakers

Down goes the King. For the first time since April 12, 2017, LeBron James will miss a basketball game. After suffering an injury to his groin on Christmas Day against the Warriors, the Lakers’ star is listed as day-to-day and is expected to miss a few games, according to ESPN.

What does this mean for LeBron James and his future? More importantly, how will the Los Angeles Lakers handle the injury to their star player? Keep in mind that the Lakers are currently 5th in the Western Conference. Because the race is so tight, a few losses in a row could knock them back in the standings and possibly out of playoff contention.

Here are four takeaways from LeBron James’ injury and how it will impact the rest of the team.

1. The King is Mortal

Contrary to popular belief, LeBron James is a human being after all. One of the most underrated aspects of LeBron’s legacy is his ability to stay on the court. The best ability is availability and no one is more available for his team than LeBron. LeBron has played in 94% of possible games in his career and has never missed a playoff game. LeBron has suffered small injuries to his back and ankles, but this is the first time that he has injured his groin. Although the injury could have been much worse, it’s still a strain to his groin so the Lakers are expected to take his rehab very seriously. The worst thing that they could do is rush him back to the court and put his health in jeopardy.

2. It’s Time for the Kids to Grow Up

LeBron’s importance to the Lakers cannot be understated. In his 16h season at age 33, LeBron is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 7.1 assists. Those are MVP level numbers. There is no debate that LeBron is the leader and catalyst of the Lakers. However, James is set to miss a few games, so it’s time for the young guns to grow up and step up. The Lakers passed their first test on Christmas Day as the team not only held on to beat the Warriors without LeBron in the second half, but they blew out the defending champs in their own building. Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Rajon Rondo, and Lance Stephenson all scored in double digits to propel the Lakers to a 127-101 victory. Going forward, it’s now or never for Kuzma, Ingram, Hart, and Lonzo Ball. This is their chance to show the rest of the NBA that they can carry the load for Los Angeles while the King is out.

3. Playoff Position Could Take a Hit

Although listed as day-to-day, the Lakers are going to be cautious and patient with LeBron. There is no reason to rush him back since it’s only December and the season is 82 games long. That being said, the Western Conference playoff race is extremely tight. The difference in wins between the first place team and the fifteenth place team is five. The saying “every game matters” is as relevant as ever in the West. As of December 28, the Lakers are fifth in the Western Conference with a record of 20-15. The Lakers passed their first test by beating Golden State, but test two did not go so well as the Sacramento Kings knocked off the Lakers 117-116 on a buzzer beater from Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Despite the heartbreaking loss, the Lakers were one missed shot away from winning on the road against a tough Sacramento team. The trio of Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball combined for 75 points. Things will not become any easier for the Lakers as their next three opponents – Clippers, Kings, and Thunder – are all in playoff contention. If the Lakers go 0-3, it’s very probable that the team will fall out of the top 8. There’s still a lot of games left, but winning without LeBron is of the utmost importance.

4. Time to Show Off the Lakers’ Assets

Imagine you own a car dealership, and you’re trying to sell one of your cars. What are you going to do? You’re going to vacuum it out and make the inside spotless. You’re going to wash and wax the car so that it’s super shiny. You want to show it off to the public, you put it in the front of your dealership for everyone to see. Now, imagine that car was the Lakers roster. It’s no secret that the Lakers want to acquire a superstar to pair with LeBron James. Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant are the first names that come to mind as they are both free agents this summer. However, just because the duo are free agents does not mean they will sign with LA. The player that is generating the most noise to LA is Anthony Davis.

The recruitment for the rights to Davis has begun as LeBron had dinner with AD after the Lakers faced the Pelicans game in Los Angeles last week. If you were to start a team today from scratch, Anthony Davis might be the number one pick. The 6-10 forward is averaging 28.1 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 4.6 assists this season. His ability to handle the ball and make plays for his size is so unique that he’s a matchup nightmare. Pair him with LeBron James and the Lakers are cooking with gas. However, Davis is under contract until 2020. Davis is going nowhere this season, but the dominos are ready to fall if Davis denies the supermax extension this summer. If that happens, trade talks for Davis will intensify, and the Lakers will be chomping at the bit to acquire the superstar.

Back to the car dealership. If a trade is the only way to bring Davis to Los Angeles, then the Lakers have to show off their cars aka their young talent. Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Lonzo Ball are all young, rising players with star potential. Without LeBron James in the lineup, it’s time to showcase what these four players can do and see if they are capable of leading a franchise. Against the Kings, Kuzma, Ingram, and Ball combined for 75 of the Lakers 116 points, so they’re off to a solid start. If the Lakers can package 2 of those 4 players along with a few draft picks, then it might be enough for New Orleans to send Davis to Los Angeles. A good showing from this core, while LeBron is out, can go a long way when trade talks begin this summer.