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« Will We Ever Know Who The Greatest Athlete of All Time Is | Main | The Sadness of No NFL Football Is Becoming Real To Me »

Sometimes Players Are Victims Of Their Own Success

The NBA finals are done and no one has received more scrutiny than Lebron James. James has become a target, simply because he is who he is. James’ success on the court had been charted and many think he has the talent to become the greatest to ever play the game. Whether he does or doesn’t isn’t really that important to me. As I look at how the man played in the finals, all I saw was a talented young man who trusted his teammates.

All my life I have witnessed players play selfish, uncontrolled basketball in pressure situations. We tell these kids over and over, trust your teammates, you are not out there by yourself, get your teammates involved. Never have I witnessed a superstar do more to set up his teammates than James did in the finals. Now everyone is chastising this man. Is it deserved? Maybe it is but let’s reflect on the game in general.

In the early years of my coaching experience, I didn't give individual awards (MVP, Most Improved Player, Best Defensive, etc) because I didn't think it was right to preach Team, Team, Team then on 1 night say “It is a team game but Lil’ Johnny is our best player.”

I always reserved awards for those players who came to practice every day and worked their a$$es off. Those players always received the “Team First” Award. They never failed to pull for their teammates. They, nor their parents, ever asked about playing time. I found myself looking for opportunities for them. They practiced and when the opportunity came to play, they played as hard as they could.

Now back to James. The man almost averaged a triple double. I think it was just a case of Miami just ran into a better TEAM. The Dallas Mavericks made their way to the playoffs and they did exactly what they needed to do. Look at how they got to the Finals. They started the second round by man handling the Los Angeles Lakers and prolific scorers Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. They chose to pack the paint and make Bryant beat them from the perimeter. That led to the Lakers getting swept. Yes that is the team who everyone thought was going to win it all. So you can say that they already had the formula to stop James since they had a practice run against a pretty darn good player in Bryant.

If that wasn’t enough, they got more practice in the Conference Finals against Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. They decided to take away the penetration. Westbrook was chastised and frustrated and every one kept saying that he should pass more. Naturally you have to have a scorer and a passer for a team to be successful and unfortunately for the Heat, the Thunder is a lot like them and the Mavericks got a lot of practice taking away Westbrook and Durant.

So what the Heat did to James in the Finals makes sense to me. Dwyane Wade took some wild shots in the finals and he made his share, but that isn’t James’ game. James plays under control He is a team first guy. He doesn’t force bad shots when someone is open. He does what we preach to every other player in the league should do. He puts the TEAM first.

Stay Breezy ~ I’m Out!

Reader Comments (5)

This is the first post i'm going to have to disagree with you Mr. Simmons. I respect the team first aspect, but in every team there is ALWAYS that one person you gotta fall on when the pressure is on. This is how it is for a championship caliber team. Even in a individual sport like GOLF, this is true when you play for a Division 1 team or High school team or a east vs west championship match. I agree with putting the TEAM first, but I disagree with not having a MVP. I see it as you don't always give the MVP out to whoever played the best that day or night, you give it to the person who did the most to help the team win. Whether that's he showed up to practice that week an hour earlier than everyone and when he got into game time he performed or he went around and helped all of his teammates get better by doing what he was suppose to do in the team. I also disagree with Lebron james just being a good TEAM PLAYER. He simply disappeared for someone of his athletic skills. I understand he almost avgeraged triple double, but that's because of the amount of time he touches the ball. Rebounding because he's atheletic and him n wade go for the boards hard since they don't have any good rebounders on the team. I think he could be the best, but not having college experience and the mentality of I wanna beat everyone instead of I wanna be friends with all the super stars in the league, hurt him a lot to the point that he will never be one of the top 5 players of all time (jordan, champberlin, bryant, olajuwon, bird, magic, shaq, Kareem, Duncan ( all the players thats ahead of james )).

June 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEric

Simmons, What goes without saying is that Lebron may have exhausted himself in the series before. Guarding Derrick Rose last series and then the Jet this series may have taken its toll on James. He outweighs each of them by about 100 lbs. Its ok to do for one night but in a seven game series it will wear you out.

Also like you mentioned, Nobody had anything to say when the Mavericks swept the Lakers and pounced on the Thunder. They made every one of the guys in the picture with Dirk look like they were novice players. That is why the NBA did away with the zone defense the first time. I wouldn't be surprised if they don't do away with it again.

June 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBaseline J

well my arguement with some of these games in the first round, second round and conference finals were due to the fact that some of them were bad refs making bogus calls. i can name several games in those rounds that refs flat out cheated by not calling fouls when they should have been called. i saw some games with dallas winning , or chicago, miami, lakers, boston, even the hawks series i saw alot of bogus calls. i cant say anything about the finals series cause i didnt watch it cause i was so pissed off with the refs. make no mistake, dallas might be the best team but they wouldnt have won some of those games without the refs. same goes for miami, chicago, okc, etc.....what my point is iz that refs dictate the game and they always have,..and the media has always been good at bandwagon jumping.......and im not going to dis dallas or miami, but those two wouldnt have made the finals without bogus calls from refs................and the MVP is always givin to the media favorite of that season, not to the player who deserves it,,,,,,,,,,,,,talent is not the key to winning the MVP , its the popularity and politics that win it.........

June 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwildcard

@ ERIC-----------sorry bro !!!! you cant put kobe infront of james......lebron might not have titles but he played his heart out for his team and he didnt destroy a dynasty like kobe did.....i dont care how many rings kobe has, he will never be in that class of players cause those guys had class for the team and game...kobe dosent have class....hes just a brat and you will see when the lakers start to take a downfall....and when that happens you will see kobe again start his crying and haten on his teammates like he did to shaq and co, and just a few years ago when he did it to gasol,odom,phil and me, kobe is not class at all, hes a brat just like iverson......he just dont show it alot cause hes on a team with alot of talent that wins........give it time, he will do it again......the others you mentioned had class to the highest level, but kobe is just a crying little brat............

June 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwildcard

I like all that team play and when a teammate is hot you feed them. However the best player when needed is suppose to cut their heads off. Lebron quit on cavs and he doesn't want to fall on sword. 100 million you don't pass the ball. Kobe is a jerk but I'll ball with him anyday.

June 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDa Franchize

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