Words. Chantay Jordan
After LeBron sent the Bulls fishing last week, he finds himself in the middle of many storylines. Aside from bricking a left-handed free throw in a critical part of Game 5, Elbow-Gate and his lethargic play in Game 2 against the Celtics, James seems to be facing another familiar criticism: “He’s too unselfish.”
But why? LeBron only averaged a Jordan-esqe 31.8 points and 8.2 assists per game in the first round, which was better than the 23.5 points for Kobe and the 30.7 points for ’Melo. What more could you ask for?
Following Cleveland’s loss to Chicago in Game 3, LeBron received flack for not taking over in the fourth quarter. Forget the fact that the Cavs erased an 11-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, they still fell short of the victory. But isn’t the fourth quarter where superstars set themselves apart from the rest; where true champions rise to the occasion. If this is indeed the case, then LeBron haters may have a point. Or do they?
In case you didn’t know, LeBron led the league in fourth quarter scoring and total efficiency – in both the regular season and playoffs. Not to mention, during the 2007-08 season, he had the highest fourth quarter scoring average (9.1) of the previous 10 years.
Men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t. The numbers are indeed there, but one thing that we haven’t seen to date is LeBron consistently putting the nail in the coffin in dramatic fashion. Without a doubt, we have seen many buzzer beaters by Kobe and ’Melo. In fact, LeBron got a taste up close and personal to ’Melo’s killer instinct when he sunk the game-winner right in his mug in a matchup with the Nuggets this past February.
Let’s be real though. LeBron’s had his moments getting it done down the stretch. There was Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals when he hit the game-winner at the buzzer, and Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals when he tortured Detroit for 25 straight points. While those two games stand out, more often than not LeBron is just LeBron. You know, the pass-first type of guy. In Game 6 of their 2006 first round matchup against the Wizards, he opted to pass the hero responsibilities to Damon Jones. Crazy thing is, he made it.
But let’s get back to 2010. When it comes to “where amazing happens,” passing it off to your teammates just isn’t cutting it for fans, writers or critics. There’s a reason the playoffs are on TNT, we want drama. We want the King to be the King, if not for just the fear of Skip Bayless calling him the Prince.
At the end of the day we’ve come to know this: LeBron James is a superstar, and one that will live or die trusting his teammates. Whether that means he’s too unselfish is up to you. When you average 7.0 assists per game for your career though, passing the rock is not something that’s going to go away – even in the fourth quarter. So for those of you that don’t like it, you better get used to hating it. But remember this: How unselfish can a player really be when they average almost 30 points a game? Just a thought.
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