By: Kevin Traynor
He is more than a basketball player. He has transcended greatness, and ushered the NBA back into the forefront in the post-Jordan era. He has taken a pedestrian and a generally unsuccessful Cleveland Cavaliers franchise, and transformed them into a beast in the east. He is LeBron James, and we are all witnesses.
“Chosen one, huh?” uttered Stuart Scott in an ESPN commercial that featured a young James attempting to fix a copy machine at the ESPN headquarters. James has followed the mold set by Jordan: a mold that garners international recognition. LeBron is the next number 23.
This season, LeBron has entered an echelon all to himself. He steered a Cavaliers team to the best record in the NBA, home court advantage throughout the playoffs and as of today, the league’s MVP. He even entered his name into next year’s Slam Dunk Contest.
Most. Valuable. Player. This award is not given to the most outstanding player, although James arguably might be both.
Averaging 28 points, 7 boards and 7 assists per game, the league has been on notice since the opening whistle. Names like Kobe, and D-Wade were on James’ coat tails through the duration of the season, but on Monday, LeBron emerged from the pack as the league’s third youngest MVP.
The first round of the playoffs has provided the same dominance that America has grown accustom to seeing from James. His Cavaliers swept the aging Pistons in dominating fashion. During the series LeBron averaged 32 points, 11 boards and 7 assists per game.
The 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward has done something that many athletes fail to do. He has become more than a baller, and has emerged as a
personality. He and his teammates began a pre-game ritual this spring in which they created an air band, imaginary team photo-opp’s with a variety of poses and bowling pins with LeBron rolling in the ball. The Cavs have an unrivaled loose feel that has translated to success.
That’s the image LeBron has created. He’s entertaining both on and off the court. Have you ever seen a man that big that graceful? LeBron carving through the lane en route to the rack is a thing of a beauty.
However, don’t be mistaken, things for LeBron are not as easy as they look. After falling to the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last year, a game in which James’ scored a pedestrian 45 points, LeBron took a week off and headed back into the gym.
LeBron’s work ethic inspires his team’s play, and his attitude is so infectious that it has overhauled an otherwise dull NBA since Jordan. He is the answer we were all looking for. He is the next 23, and we are all witnesses.