One is near the end.
The other is in his prime.
One’s legacy is secure.
The other’s legacy is limitless.
Tim Duncan and LeBron James. They met once before when Duncan was at his peak and LeBron was still harnessing his extraordinary gifts. The Spurs swept the Cavs, but at the time no one saw what would be in The Future of the King. Many thought he would be a lifer in Cleveland.
The 2007 Finals and the later Cavs playoff failures led LeBron to take his talents elsewhere. No matter what you personally think about “The Decision” it was the right one. Three finals in three years are factual evidence that LeBron did the right thing in leaving Cleveland.
The ultimate goal is to win and the Heat win a lot. The Spurs have been contenders since the day Tim Duncan was drafted.
Everyone knows that Tim Duncan is great, but he hasn’t been getting the publicity for being great like Shaq and Kobe, the two players of his generation that you think about when you think about championships. Part of that is because of Shaq and Kobe’s personalities and the fact they played in LA, but you ask a casual fan who has been the best player in the last 15 years, most will say Kobe.
Ask them who has been the best big man, most will say Shaq.
That’s why these Finals is important for Tim Duncan. In my opinion, a 5th ring pushes him past Shaq on the All-Time greatest players list and you have a strong case that he was the best player of this generation, including Kobe. I have praised Kobe for playing at such a high level for so many years, but the same can be said for Duncan.
In the past, big men routinely played 15 years in the league. In this current generation you are lucky if you get a good five years out of them. Look at Dwight Howard, he is breaking down before the age of 30. What Duncan has done at a consistently high level is something that should be marveled.
A 5th ring at 37 years old while still playing at a high level will be something they will talk about for years to come. Is Duncan the greatest combination Power Forward/Center of all time? That would be on the table as well. Duncan doesn’t care about any of these discussion, he just wants the ring, but that is what is on the line for him.
LeBron’s situation is a bit more complicated. We don’t know what his future holds and he is in the middle of this career. His book isn’t close to being finished, but one thing is clear. It doesn’t matter how many MVPs, awards, records or regular season accomplishments LeBron has, he will only be measured by NBA Titles.
That is a good thing in my opinion. It means you are on an elite level. Carmelo Anthony wins one playoff series people think that is progress, if LeBron loses in Game 7 of the Finals it would be seen as a complete and utter failure.
That’s a compliment and a testament of how good LeBron is really is. Just like Floyd Mayweather is the undisputed best pound for pound fighter in the world, LeBron is the undisputed best player in the world. People don’t just pay to watch Mayweather’s brilliance but also to secretly hope he loses.
LeBron is no different, people who are praying that he fails so they can jump on him like an #askdraya hashtag (just check that hashtag to see what I mean). LeBron is already down 1-2 in NBA Finals, going down 1-3 and people will start comparing him to Peyton Manning. Great stats, bunch of MVPs, but comes up short when it matters most. That is a lot of pressure, but uneasy the head that wears the crown.
There is something else that is going that people should be aware of. LeBron can opt of his contract in 2014 (so can D Wade and Chris Bosh), 2 out of 3 NBA Finals losses as well as D Wade and Bosh struggling, might have LeBron thinking about his next destination. The Heat beat up on a weak Eastern Conference, but next year the Bulls get Rose back, Brooklyn will be better, Knicks trying to take another step and Pacers will still be strong. A loss to the Spurs and LeBron’s prediction of……..
Won’t be looking to hot, so there is a lot at stake. Not just for LeBron, but for South Beach NWO as a whole.
The Spurs are a better team than the Pacers, but I said this in 2007 after LeBron’s first loss in the Finals.
“One day LeBron is going to put it all together and figured things out. When the light switch goes off the NBA better watch out. If he is allowed to win one championship and get over that hump, trust me when I tell he will run off multiple titles in a row. Just a matter of when, not if.”
I meant that in 2007 and still believe that in 2013. It will be tough, but I think Bosh, Wade, Jayhawk Chalmers, Jesus, Birdman and the others will give LeBron just enough support for the Miami Heat to go back to back and beat the Spurs in 7.