Bill Simmons Loves Him Some LeBron
After watching LeBron James hold court against the Los Angeles Clippers last Saturday, Bill Simmons delivered a 3000-word thesis declaring his unconditional love for all things King. While there was some criticism of James’ desire to win, overall, the article was one long lovefest for the current “King” of the NBA. While Kobe’s fourth ring might disagree with this claim, the ease at which James performs his devastating basketball acts of greatness has made Simmons a believer.
An example of said belief:
Look, if that was the only fun moment of the game, I would have left happy. But LeBron has those “HOLY S—!!!!!!” moments once a quarter. Late in the fourth, Gordon drove past Delonte West and tried to get to the rim, only West timed it and elevated to meet him at the backboard. And I’m watching the play thinking, “Damn, Delonte might get that,” when out of nowhere, the smoke monster from “Lost” came gusting in at warp speed, jumped five feet in the air, soared over both Gordon and West and somehow blocked West’s block. The smoke monster? LeBron. A blocked shot of a blocked shot!!! Have you ever seen that one before?
All of that hyperbole for a blocked shot. But see, there’s a method to Simmons’ madness. LeBron makes these acts being described with reverence seem commonplace, if not outright easy to do; and has a long admirer of professional basketball, Simmons sees how easy the game comes to James and he can’t help himself by unleashing a verbal onslaught rivaling verbal fellatio.
However, this is not a criticism of Simmons.
When you see an otherworldly player dominate a sport you’ve loved your entire life so effortlessly, it’s hard not to get giddy. While I don’t necessarily share the same level of love for James, I too find some of his game-by-game exploits head-shaking — that is, I have no choice but to shake my head when I see him pull off yet another act that should defy normal basketball physics. Conversely, at some point, a player with that much drool-worthy talent has to do more than just move the crowd.
He has to win; and that’s something Simmons doesn’t know if LeBron will ever aspire to.
Right now, he doesn’t want it as badly as Jordan did or Kobe does. There’s more than a hint of Shaqitis with him, a feeling that LeBron wants to win but isn’t obsessed with winning. And you have to be both. Just look at what happened last summer: Kobe distinguished himself by perfecting the footwork for a startlingly effective low-post game; LeBron distinguished himself by promoting a documentary and a book. Does he want this or not?
So what happens if LeBron never develops that “win-or-else” killer instinct that drove the Michael Jordans, Larry Birds and Kareem Abdul-Jabbars of the world? What happens to his legacy? Is he doomed to being another Dominique “Human Highlight Film” Wilkins for the modern era? Of course, where LeBron lands after the 2010 season will go a long way when it comes to determining his place in NBA history.