How Should We Define a King?
LeBron James has now been on the losing side of four NBA Finals.
That puts his overall NBA Finals record at 2-4.
This time around, remove the injuries to Kyrie Irving, a perennial All-Star and one of the most productive players at the point guard position when healthy.
As well, remove Kevin Love, a viable third option who hasn't really found his role within the Cleveland Cavaliers but, nevertheless, still provides double digits per contest in scoring and rebounding.
What are you left with?
OK, that was a rhetorical question.
You've got a depleted NBA roster with tons of talent sitting on the sidelines and a exhausted 'King' with several adequate footmen who can't consistently maintain a performance level required for championships.
The bottom line for most observers, though, is ultimately this: how much jewelry do you own?
James currently has two shiny rings but could possess a few more if fortune had fallen his way.
We witnessed something amazing in the Finals. Lebron dictated it. He was seemingly on or around almost everything positive that happened for Cleveland. The Cavs were undermanned and physically spent, but there they were, at Quicken Loans Arena, with the opportunity to send the Finals back to Golden State for a Game 7.
You can't argue with LeBron's effort. His final result wasn't as appealing or glamorous as Michael Jordan and his unblemished, 6-0 record in the Finals. However had running mates like Scottie Pippin and -- guess who? -- a future NBA championship coach in Steve Kerr.
LeBron's first go-round in Cleveland had him leading a team that was just as dreadful as what we watched this spring. Those Cavs were embarrassed by a phenomenal Spurs squadron with unmatchable team chemistry and -- not to mention -- a Hall of Fame coach in Greg Popovich.
LeBron's four-year tenure in Miami ended with four NBA Final appearances, yielding two championships. The Heat should've beaten the Mavericks, but that wasn't their time. Some may argue James needed to absorb that loss in order to blossom into who he is today. Two championships followed; keep in mind one was courtesy of Ray Allen, and then, the pesky Spurs once again dominated LeBron & Co last year.
Regardless, perception is everything. Those who view James as a loser most likely perceive people as chalk and cheese. As knowledgeable basketball fans, you can't discount what we saw in these Finals. He carried a team that wouldn't have been there if it wasn't for him. They overachieved and, ultmately, ran out of energy in the process.
No one questions King James's heart anymore. We know just how motivated he is to get another ring.
Even if you dislike him, as basketball fans, you have to respect what he's done. James is by far the best basketball player in the world right now and has enough confidence to openly say it.
That won't guarantee any more rings, because as we saw, teams still trump individuals. But with a little more help, don't bet against him.