8 in a Row and Silencing the Haters

LeBron continues to astonish….

So how great an accomplishment is this for LeBron James, his eighth straight NBA Finals appearance? No one has managed that since the Celtics dynasty. Has he silenced his haters?

C.J. Hampshire: LeBron is iconic. When you think of all the great players in this league, it is truly impressive what he has managed to do with different teammates. This year, it is with weak teammates. That says something about who the man is. The haters are going to point to his Finals record. 3-5. Most likely 3-6 in ten days.

Mallory Stith-Wheat:  His legacy will never be what people want it to be and that’s what the haters hold on to. He is not Jordan and he is not Magic and he is not Kobe. But 8 straight NBA Finals appearances solidifies him as the greatest player of his generation and a top 5 of all time if he can seal it off with a Finals win and up his Finals record to 4-5. He’s already been to 9 NBA Finals. Jordan was in 6. Kobe was in 7. Magic was in 9.

Julian Billick: I look at the accomplishment as winning the entire thing. We are celebrating a player who was expected to do what he did. It’s a great moment in time but he has to win, otherwise he’ll be 3-6. It’s not Jerry West but close. I’m not a hater if I say the most gifted player to walk the planet has to prove it by holding up the trophy.

Brendan Gillespie: It says everything about who LeBron James is in his era. He dominated. He made players better. He carried them. He set the tone. But if he doesn’t win it with this cast of whatevers, it will say nothing about him.

If he loses to the Warriors again, some have said his legacy will be tainted. Isn’t that being a prisoner of the moment?

Mallory: Yes. LeBron has about four years left. He can reel off about two more titles max. But here is something too. Steph may end up with more titles.

Brendan: LeBron will be done when his body says he is done. You can never count him out. His legacy is fluid.

C.J.: He’ll never be past tense. He is too talented, too explosive, too old school NBA with all those dunks and shaking the rim. He still can’t be guarded. LeBron guards LeBron by taking ridiculous shots he shouldn’t take. Unless he tears an Achilles, he will be relevant.

Julian: LeBron’s been around a long time. We know everything there is to know about him. Pencil him in the NBA Finals 2019. What we don’t know is what happens next.

Hasn’t LeBron already won by dragging this cast of misfits to the NBA Finals?

C.J.: He’s a brilliant basketball mind. No other player in the league right now could take this Cavs team and do what he has done. Part of it is his fault for not creating a better relationship for Kyrie to want to stay but in the aftermath he has gone hard 24-7.

Brendan: It’s a shame he’s going to get obliterated in the Finals. Well, not LeBron. He’s a 36, 9 and 8 player but when you need George Hill to score 20, it’s a tough uphill climb. The thing is he won’t get any credit because he set these expectations up. He wore Jordan’s number. He tossed the chalk. He told us to be witnesses to his greatness. No fair calling BS now.

Mallory: We need a fair fight. Last year wasn’t fair. This year isn’t fair. Four Hall of Famers vs. the King. The Cavs needed 7 games to beat a young and underdeveloped Boston team. The Cavs can’t stop the three. Once the Finals start, it’s all about right now. He won’t get a pass for the holy.

Julian: He has won until the ball is tipped. Then the questions. Can Durant drag LeBron into NBA Finals purgatory? Can he and Steph wear out the nets? Will someone from the Dubs bench do something? Will someone on the Cavs do something? It’s intriguing in the sub plots despite knowing how it’s going to end. Sorry Cleveland.