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Ball Don't Lie

LeBron James throws an alley-oop off the backboard to himself, no big deal

Miami Heat uber-star LeBron James is currently finishing off one of the best regular season's in the history of the NBA. It's been the sort of year that recasts not just his place in history, but the details of his own career. An amazing play is no longer just an amazing play — it also has to be something only LeBron could do.

This highlight from Tuesday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks is a useful example. A little more than five minutes into the contest, LeBron helped turn a Mario Chalmers steal into a 2-on-1 break with his decidedly less athletic teammate Mike Miller. Instead of passing to Miller for what would presumably be an open lay-up, LeBron went with the more conservative option: a mid-air pass off the backboard to himself for the rare self-oop. A perfectly normal play!

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The pass was even flashier than it appears from the initial angle, because James also changed hands in the air to make the pass with his left hand.

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So, for those keeping track, LeBron opted against the simple 2-on-1 pass to jump in the air, change hands, throw the ball off the backboard, leap for a second time, catch the ball, and finish with a one-handed dunk. It sounds pretty impressive when it's all written out like that.

Yet the clip somehow doesn't register as one of LeBron's most amazing plays, in part because it seems like something he could on virtually any fast break if pressed. It's also a little less smooth than we're used to seeing from James — the various interlocking parts make it seem a little more labored than a special moment of inspiration.

That's nit-picking, of course, but it's also a sign of just how high the LeBron standard is these days. He has turned the incredible into the commonplace.

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