The making of a Most Valuable Player in the NBA (by whose standards?)
Time and time again, we've heard that King James is the game's best all-around player. As a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, two-time NBA Finals MVP, nine-time NBA All-Star and five-time member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team, it's hard to make the argument against that claim.
The most vexing part of the argument by those who question his legitimacy as a marquee player is how lopsided it is. It reminds me of how politicians disagree along party lines and call the sun the moon and the moon the sun … just because.
The irony is, even with this short -- but robust -- list of accolades, it's fair to say a number of naysayers stop short of buying into the declaration for one reason or another.
Turn to the NFL for a moment.
Days ago, I read a sports article about Qadry Ismail publicly saying that former teammate and new Hall of Fame inductee Cris Carter was selfish and should have done more to elevate players around him.
"To be perfectly honest with you, Cris was a bona fide diva. … You knew that he had a selfishness to him that was an extreme selfishness," Ismail said during a SiriusXM interview.
He attempts to bolster his argument by saying that Carter never won a Super Bowl ring.
If his argument has any weight, does that mean that former Miami Dolphins great Dan Marino shouldn't have been enshrined in the HOF? He, too, failed to win a single ring but is enshrined in the Hall.
And deservedly so.
On the NBA side, Elgin Baylor, Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins, Reggie Miller, Patrick Ewing and Lenny Wilkins (as a player) came up short in winning championships.
Should they have not been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame?
The Cleveland Cavaliers fallout lingers
LeBron James-haters and the media establishment were forecasting a null and void career about the Miami Heat star before he began collecting finger-bling.
In fact, some compared him to the Dominique Wilkins of the '80s. Like the "Human Highlight," James was known for his dazzling aerial ability, but couldn't win at the big dance during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After defecting to South Beach, his game began to change. Moreover, players around him elevated their games on the court.
Even now that he's proven himself a two-time NBA champion, there are those who point to some conspiracy theory or media-induced aura surrounding LeBron James.
I'll go out on a limb and say that a contingency of Cavaliers fans will denounce LeBron's MVP status as media fodder even if he fills both hands -- and feet -- with rings, does a tomahawk dunk with one shoe on in a "come-from-behind-victory" and walks on water.
You decide, but here's my take: The Miami Heat's LeBron James is the Most Valuable Player in the NBA today.
It's that simple.
Bradley is a professional writer and journalist, sportswriter, and avid fan of the NBA, NFL, NCAA, PGA and all things tennis. He keeps a watchful eye on Miami Heat developments.
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