LeBron James laughs at the rest of basketball (Mike Ehrmann/ Getty).
For several years, LeBron James has been the best player in the NBA, a phenomenally versatile talent capable of dominating a game in multiple ways simultaneously. Yes, last June's championship lent a certain legitimacy to LeBron's career that hadn't previously existed, but it was less a coronation than a validation of qualities we already knew to be present. Simply put, James had been the preeminent basketball talent in the world for several years. We have become accustomed to his greatness, because he reveals it regularly.
Nevertheless, there's a difference between greatness and what LeBron has done over the past six games, and what he might do again on Thursday night when the Miami Heat face the Oklahoma City Thunder in a Finals rematch. As our Dan Devine noted on Wednesday, James has been historically amazing over that stretch, making 66 of 92 shots (71.7 percent) for averages of 30.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg, and 6.5 apg. Beyond the stats, LeBron looks like a player not only with no discernible weaknesses, but nothing that is not a clear strength (except free throws, of course). He scores with an efficiency typically only seen in dominant post players, he rebounds, he throws pinpoint passes, he defends every position at a high level, he makes the proper defensive rotations, he doesn't turn the ball over, etc. ad infinitum.
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That's not to say that he's reached the height of basketball — history dictates that those achievements can only come in the postseason against the best competition the NBA has to offer. For that matter, I don't mean to suggest that James is now the greatest player ever (whatever that means), or that anyone who doesn't like him is a cretin. Instead, I want to focus on what it's like to watch an athlete whose utter dominance of the field makes the amazing look commonplace.
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