June 22, 2012 BY John Kim
Has there been a pro athlete in history that has been under the watchful eye of the public and his peers more than LeBron James has? Since Day 1, the entire NBA was going after the bulls-eye that was placed on his back; opposing coaches were doubting him, sports reporters spewed unbridled hate, and it seemed the world preferred to see this High School man-child wilt in the spotlight rather than spawn a next-gen legend that would eventually rival the ranks of the Jordans, Birds, and Magics. There was no middle-ground with LeBron, so when he re-routed his career in mid-2010 in a trajectory straight toward an NBA title rather than play the role of home-town hero in Cleveland, the balance was shifted heavily toward the side of detractors. LeBron’s desire to win was unfairly misconstrued as taking the ‘easy way out’, and last year, it seemed like more celebrated Miami’s loss than they did Dallas’ win.
LeBron, Wade, and Bosh adopted a different approach to the ’11-’12 NBA Season. Gone was the ‘we got this’ swagger and in came the disciplined game-plan in which Wade and Bosh conceded to LeBron by playing the positions of side-kick and max-contract role-player; although the Heat did run into some trouble in the Playoffs, they appeared to evolve and adjust rather quickly, winning the Conference Semi-Finals, Conference Finals, and NBA Finals in come-from-behind fashion (they were trailing in all three match-ups). LeBron sported a stoic and grimacing demeanor not often seen prior to this year, but he was all smiles when the white and red confetti poured down from the sky and he immediately reminded us why he’s worthy of being an NBA Champion in a post-game interview by stating “I made a difficult decision to leave Cleveland, but I understood what my future was about…that coming to Miami and being a part of this organization – I knew we had a bright future. This is a dream come true for me.”
So what happens now that LeBron James is an NBA Champion? You can count on critics clamoring for an *asterisk like Phil Jackson did in ’99 (in regards to San Antonio’s Championship in the shortened ’99 Season), or on fans blaming the officiating, but what’s done is done – hate it or love it, the King HAS a ring. LeBron, who already dominates the footwear game, will see his sky-high stock rise to new heights, Dwyane Wade will bask in the glory of being a multiple winner, and don’t forget Fab Five legend and 18-year veteran Juwan Howard, who can finally retire with some sort of Championship hardware. The Oklahoma City Thunder don’t have much to worry about either; they close out their season by giving the Thunder its first ever NBA Finals appearance, and it looks like KD and LeBron’s offseason workouts last Summer paid dividends – so don’t be surprised if the two meet again next June. It’s been a great run, so thanks for following Sneaker News on our NBA Feet journey this season and check out Game 5 below! Photos: yahoo