Thursday, June 1st, 2006


Basketball picksJune 1, 2006

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Player Spotlight: Lebron James

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The Cleveland Cavaliers could very well lose the series to the Washington Wizards. Yes, the series is tied at 2-2 but win or lose there is something more important that should not be missed in this series. The fact is, Cleveland is already a winner regardless of the outcome of this series.

For a young man so hyped coming right out of high school, James has performed exceedingly well. Think about it. The Cavaliers before Lebron arrived were 35-47. In young Lebron’s first year with the team, the Cavs had a reason to celebrate as they finished above .500 at 42-40. This year, they took the next step and finished the season 50-32. To be fair, part of this success is credited to the addition of a core around Lebron but James has been there throughout the season for his team. From his toughness (nearly playing every game), to picking up the slack when both Larry Hughes and Zydrunas Iglauskas were injured, this team has relied on Lebron and he has delivered.

In this playoff series, his first, he hit the clutch game winning shot in Washington in an important game three, and delivered career and record high performances throughout the series as well as to the games leading up the playoffs. The “kid” has played like a veteran. He is truly an example of a franchise player as he has come in and rejuvenated Cleveland basketball and brought a sense or pride and swagger back to the team and city which has not had that since the days of Mark Price.

LeBron has brought just the lift needed to a city in need as the Browns have continued to struggle and the Indians are just starting to turn it around. James' character has not faltered during this span either. While all the cameras and attention continue to be on Lebron, he has handled himself professionally and continues to work with league rules as he attempts to be the best ambassador for the game as possible. Amazing for someone his age.

While we see much hype bestowed on so many players that go in and out of the league, Lebron James has actually lived up to his hype – and lived up to it fast. Where as other players continue to develop such as Carmello, Okafor, Battier, and Kwame Brown who were all taken near the draft time of Lebron, James has been the one to not only step up but carry his team. The media often showers credit and hype to players who don’t deserve it these days but I believe the kid – I mean King –  James deserves all the credit he gets regardless of how far the Cavs go this year.

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