Seems like every postseason series, NBA phenomenon Lebron James is playing another legacy defining game. A new obstacle or mountain to climb is always set in place to validate the greatness of King James.
Now another career-altering game is now set as the NBA Finals winds down. The San Antonio Spurs and Lebron's Miami Heat faceoff for the NBA championship in tonight's Game 7 finale.
If different teams were playing tonight, the headlines tomorrow would be recaping the winner and loser's seasons. Media outlets would discuss the details of the series.
But of course, we're not dealing with just a normal series. Anything relevant to Lebron has never been classified as "normal".
Whether the Heat win or lose tonight, the first topic of discussion will be based around the legacy of King James.
If Miami is triumphant, Lebron will be that much closer to the world crowning him the greatest of all time. But if the Heat leave South Beach ringless, Lebron will shoulder plenty of blame while other's question his legacy.
Very few professional athletes have had to deal with the scrutiny and anguish Lebron has dealt with since his debut in Cleveland. Plus fans and the media have been ready to anoint Lebron the next NBA "great" since gracing the cover of ESPN in high school.
Many would call both sides of hate and praise to be "unjust" and "unfair". The logic says it's too soon to label a talent like Lebron the greatest this soon in his career. And it's unfair to hold so much blame on Lebron when the NBA is a team game.
I'm here to simply tell you one thing, deal with it.
Lebron is a once-in-a-lifetime player in the NBA, as well as all of sports. The Akron-native is an athlete who deserves every bit of praise and criticism that comes his way. Either side of one's views of Lebron are justified no matter what.
Not even being a fan of the guy, it would be foolish to say he's anything but the best basketball player in the world. The NBA has never seen the combination of size, speed, and strength possessed by James.
Just about every season, the popular comparison of Lebron James vs. Michael Jordan is brought to the table. The common supporter of Lebron would say stop adding so much pressure to the young superstar and let him live in his own shadow.
However, why run away from the comparison? Jordan has been and always will be the standard set for any NBA superstar. The same way Kobe Bryant has dealt with it as a Los Angeles Laker, Lebron will face the same debate.
James' game is in very little ways similar to Jordan, but his success will always be measured to that standard. Six rings unquestionably lead by a dominant guard with a refuse to lose. Lebron's on his fourth championship series with only one ring. He's a four-time regular season MVP, which deserves it's applause. However, the legends create their story in the Finals.
The biggest difference between Jordan and Lebron is the setting of each player's legacies. Jordan's championship run in the 90s was run with the Chicago Bulls and only the Chicago Bulls. It took Lebron failing in Cleveland and leaving for Miami to earn his first ring.
Lebron is easily one of the hottest lightning rods in sports' media history. Due to the outbreak of social media, where everyone's opinion is heard, Lebron will always be under a tight microscope no matter what. So bad to a point where ESPN actually discusses if Lebron should play with or without his headband in Game 7.
The fact of the matter is just deal with the constant chatter circling King James. He's graded on a similar scale to NFL quarterbacks. When things go good for quarterbacks, they get all the praise and glory. When things go wrong, they'll get ridiculed no matter what. Lebron is at a point where he has to validate everything in everybody else's mind.
So whether the Heat win tonight or not, be ready for the celebration or heavy criticism coming Lebron's way. The NBA world belongs to Miami, and Lebron is the ruler. He'll always be the front topic of discussion, and he'll never be treated as just another superstar.