|LeBron James and Kevin Durant|
Whatever the results, I'm going to be satisfied with that. I'm going to be happy with it because I know I'm going to give it my all."
- From LeBron James, as he and his Miami Heat teammates prepare to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals.
LeBron James is arguably the most individually talented basketball player in the NBA. Sure, you can make a legit case for Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant, both of whom are serious game-changers, but LeBron is the guy we've all been measuring against Michael Jordan for the last decade. And yet, after his first eight years in the NBA, LeBron's giant hands sport no championship rings.
Here's the problem. LeBron James is willing to put the championship hopes of an entire franchise squarely on his shoulders, because he genuinely believes his singular presence on the court makes that much difference. And truth be told, LeBron is a beast, a monster, an absolute stud, or whatever other cliched athletic superlative you can think of, but he is still just one guy. One of five starters, one of twelve guys on the roster. One guy.
In the NBA, championships are won by those squads where the five starting players, and the half-dozen or so other guys who come off the bench to support them, work well together as a unit on offense and defense toward the shared goal of ensuring they score more points than the opposition. It's simple - teamwork wins titles.
I respect and believe in LeBron's commitment and work ethic, but in the two-sentence statement at the top of this post, he uses the words "I" and "my" seven times. Basketball is a "we" and "our" sport, and until LeBron genuinely believes that it will take not his personal best, but the collective and coordinated bests of five starters and a group of talented role players, he and his teammates are not likely to win a seven-game NBA Finals series.