LeBron James is an underdog heading into his seventh Finals against the Warriors. It’s nothing new. He’s been an underdog in all but one of the six Finals that he’s played. He’s been severely criticized for his 2-4 record in the Finals. He’s often compared unfavorably to Michael Jordan, who was undefeated in his Finals appearances.
In his opening rant today, Colin said comparisons of LeBron’s Finals record to Jordan’s are unfair. Jordan’s Bulls were favored in every Finals they played. He had a legitimate supporting cast, including Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, and arguably the greatest coach ever, Phil Jackson.
LeBron hasn’t won as many titles as Jordan, but his teams weren’t nearly as talented. LeBron’s accomplishment of getting to seven Finals with less talented teams is as impressive as Jordan winning in the Finals as a favorite.
“It’s about what you do with what you have. A single mom, four boys, go to college, all graduate. Far more impressive than six boys graduating from the rich dad, solid family, traditional hierarchy.”
In every instance, except when the Heat lost to Dallas in the 2011 Finals, LeBron has been beaten by superior teams. In his first Finals with Cleveland in 2007, his supporting cast included afterthoughts Larry Hughes, Sasha Pavlovic, Ira Newble, and Boobie Gibson. They lost to a loaded Spurs team led by Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, all in their prime.
LeBron faces unparalleled scrutiny because he’s a polarizing figure
Colin argues that LeBron faces unparalleled scrutiny because he’s a polarizing figure. In sports, and other professions, perceived greatness isn’t affected by losing.
Alabama’s Nick Saban, regarded by many as college football’s best coach, is 10 – 8 in 18 bowl games, often losing as a favorite. Legendary NFL coach Bill Parcells has an 11 – 8 record in the playoffs. Peyton Manning is .500 in the playoffs. All are considered historically great.
“Meryl Streep has been nominated for an Oscar 19 times. She’s 3 – 16. Should I dock her because she lost to better director and better movies? Or people were offered better roles?”