Please tell me all you ignorant LeBron James haters caught this one. Sorry it took me a while to get 'round to it. I am up to my eyeballs in NFL Draft prep.
I find it fascinating. Ja Morant is out here waving a gun around at a strip club, wilding out, and letting his team trail 35-9 to a seventh seed after the opening quarter in the first round of a playoff game. Somehow, everybody wants to give Ja a pass and crown him. Not helping his general vibes is the fact that his teammate Dillon Brooks is a certified dumbass who should probably just shut the ever-loving fuck up once in a while.
*NARRATOR* It indeed did not end well for Dillon Brooks. Related: Brooks was unavailable to speak to reporters afterwards. Check out Greenie's linked piece there.
Clown show circus attraction carnival character whatever "c" word you want to label Brooks with is fine by me.
STILL, LeBron took the high road. A private little conversation prior to Game 3 that didn't look heated at all was about the extent of it. He could've bashed Brooks in the media prior to tip-off. The King opted not to do that either. Truly regal energy.
So forgive LeBron for carrying himself in exemplary fashion — as he's done for 20 fucking years of a GOAT-caliber NBA career — and managing not to snap at the media other than a micro, subtle dig at them as they lionized Ja Morant in the wake of the Grizzlies' national depantsing. The quote? In case you don't want to watch the suspense-filled video above before LeBron drops the mic?
"When great players get it going there's nothing that you can do. You can run off 20. You can run off 30. You can run off, you know…I don't know…29 out of 30?"
Yeah Ja, nice 45 piece in a double-digit loss. Good for you gutting through a hand injury. And deciding to wake up when the outcome was all but decided. But no seriously, well done.
Since anything legendary in the career of LeBron James seems to be lost to history at the expense of blasting the shit out of him for whatever trivial reason there is to be had in the present moment, I assume some of you don't even know what "29 out of 30" is an allusion to. Let me remind you.
Rewind to the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals. LeBron's Cleveland Cavaliers lost in the semis the year before to a Detroit Pistons squad whose core had won the NBA Finals, made it to another and was coming off a third straight division title. Series tied 2-2. Game 5. In Detroit.
Pass-first NBA All-Time Leading Scorer LeBron James plays out of his skull with 48 of the Cavs' 109 points, powers through two overtimes against a fucking nails Pistons defense, and scores 29 of Cleveland's last 30 points, including the final 25 and the winning field goal. Oh by the way, throw in nine boards, two steals and seven assists to only two turnovers in a 109-107 win.
You might say, "BUT THE PISTONS DIDN'T HAVE BEN WALLACE THAT TIME." Hmm yeah. Still had the NBA's No. 2 scoring defense and led the league in blocks. Go nuts on that point, though. Please. ANYTHING to discredit LeBron.
You know who Detroit did have that night? Some NBA Finals MVP bum named Chauncey Billups. Uber-smart veterans like Rasheed Wallace and Chris Webber. Even this version of late-career C-Webb was good enough to hang 20 points in that contest. One of the best wing defenders of his era in Tayshaun Prince. Ever heard of Rip Hamilton? His Pistons No. 32 is retired in the rafters.
Now uhh…who was LeBron working with?
A starting five featuring Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas (no offense to you, Big Z, love you), declining Larry Hughes and Sasha Pavlovic.
LeBron dragged that crew to the NBA Finals. Got swept by Prime Duncan-Parker-Ginobili-Popovich Spurs who also had all-world defender Bruce Bowen to stick on a 22-year-old LeBron. Cleveland lost the last two games by three and one point respectively. Lost in San Antonio by nine and 11. With that team. Turned TWENTY-TWO in December 2006.
The next postseason, LeBron's 45 points in Game 7 of the conference semis against the eventual NBA champion Celtics — yeah, Paul Pierce, KG, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo — wasn't enough to advance. All you'd hear was how Bron should've played more defense on "The Truth" as Pierce was called.
…Or maybe the Cavs could've put a better squad up than declining Ben Wallace (30 minutes, three points, one block, five fouls in Game 7 vs. the Celts), Big Z (again, love you man), Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak (LOVE AND HONOR TO MIAAAAAAMI), and Pavlovic as the go-to sixth man.
Not to get too didactic or history lesson-ish on y'all. But my goodness. I know LeBron faces a certain level of scrutiny because he's been held to a higher standard than anyone who's ever stepped foot on a basketball court. Just try to have a little bit of mature perspective when you're looking at the bigger picture of his career.
It's not even my knowledge technically. Just an apropos GIF. These facts are out there. Nobody seems willing to pay attention to them. It has to be the extreme of: "LeBron sucks, is a baby, is the worst, and can't get any possible credit for anything he's ever accomplished. There was always something that he benefited from that detracts from all of his accolades."
Damn I'm good at roping in Star Wars whenever possible.
…And NBA media: Stop gassing up Ja for what he did in a losing effort right to LeBron's face when this kind of history is fully accessible to anyone out there with a critically thinking brain and a Google Machine. I get being infatuated with the brightest, shiniest new object, but it makes you look like you don't know how to do your jobs.