LeBron James Cramping Is The Way Of Today’s Superstar

LeBron James is the new age superstar. More talent than maybe anybody that has ever played in the NBA or in all of sports for that matter. Who can do things that seem magical. Who can lead his franchise to multiple championships. Yet one who can also cramp up in big moments costing his team an NBA Finals victory.

Some say this just makes him human. How do we know how much pain he was suffering from with those cramps that forced him to leave Thursday night’s 2014 NBA Finals Game 1 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the fourth quarter? Some justify that heat and humidity is LeBron’s kryptonite since he suffered the same issue in Game 4 of the 2012 Finals versus Oklahoma City.

Considering this has been an issue for James in the past with the modern training and medical methods he has at his disposal today, it’s really hard to believe he couldn’t have conducted the necesary preventative measures to keep this from happening again. And don’t tell me the broken air conditioning inside the Spurs arena is to blame. Seems to me the other players persevered. Hard to think LeBron hasn’t play outdoor hoops in the summer heat before.

Call me old school but I can’t see past superstars letting cramps prevent them from performing in the clutch moments in a World Championship game. I was in Salt Lake City covering the 1998 NBA Finals witnessing first hand Michael Jordan, sick as a dog with food poisoning, leading the Chicago Bulls over the Utah Jazz with the game winning shot to give him his sixth NBA title.

James is not Jordan. He is today’s superstar–unbelievable talent and ability, yet lacking the mental makeup to persevere through physical discomfort for the betterment of his team. And with all that said, he still has a strong chance of hoisting another championship trophy. Well, that’s of course if the Spurs are able to fix their AC.

With LeBron James And The Miami Heat Winning The NBA Title What Does It Mean For the Utah Jazz

LeBron James finally got a ring. One could argue the Miami Heat are the New York Yankees of the NBA in that with James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh they essentially bought a title. So what does this mean for the Utah Jazz and really the rest of the NBA teams for that matter in their quest to one day take ownership of the Larry O’Brien Trophy? Here are some thoughts:

1. It means Trouble. Now that James has figured out how to perform under pressure in the biggest moments he has clearly established himself as unquestionably the greatest player in the game today. That is scary for the rest of the league because he and the Heat could duplicate the Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty. That means if the Utah Jazz could one day even get past the Oklahoma City Thunder and the rest of the West most likely they’re dreams would be crushed just like what happened in the glory days with Jordan. And sadly LeBron’s prediction below could really come true!

2. How do you copycat the Heat? Whenever a team wins a championship in any sport the rest of the league tries to duplicate that formula. The Heat were inspired by the Boston Celtics who won the title four years ago with their “Big Three” of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Really the only team that could unseat them is the Oklahoma City who built their nucleus by being awful and collecting lottery picks. Therefore for the Jazz to really have any hope at a title they would have to take the same approach because there is no way they can build like the Heat and attain three superstar quality players.

3. You need a star. It’s clear the 2004 Detroit Pistons who won a title by playing team basketball was an anomaly. Every NBA Title winner since then has had a superstar player. The Utah Jazz don’t have one. I realize some think Derrick Favors or Gordon Hayward could develop into one but I’m a firm believer that you either are one or not. Sure a Favors could turn into a really good player but one of the top five in the league? Doubtful and that’s what you need to have a chance to win a championship.

A Woman Puts On Lebron’s Headband And A Tribute Rant/Song To His Hairline

After the Miami Heat’s Game 3 NBA Finals win over the Oklahoma City Thunder LeBron James handed his most likely disgustingly sweaty headband to a female fan who promptly put it on. Nasty! Meanwhile James has been accused of wearing the headband to cover up his receding hairline. This has led to the rant and tribute song below from a female fan that obviously likes his “Hairline!” (The song starts at the 1:30 mark)

Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade Look Ridiculous

Could this just please stop! After Oklahoma City Thunder’s NBA Finals Game 1 win over Miami the ridiculous post game fashion looks continued. I have no clue what Russell Westbrook was wearing. And while LeBron James and Dwyane Wade went with more of a classier look the fact they were wearing fake glasses is just stupid. By no means am I the fashion police but the last time I checked these players aren’t performing in a circus! My rant is done. I feel better now.

15 Years Ago A Sick Michael Jordan Crushed The Utah Jazz Dreams

With the highly anticipated 2012 NBA Finals featuring two of today’s best players in the Miami Heat’s LeBron James and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant tipping off Tuesday night it’s interesting to note that it was 15 years ago yesterday that the greatest player of all time turned in one of his best performances. It was Michael Jordan’s 1997 NBA Finals “flu game” in which he led the Chicago Bulls to a 3-2 series lead over the Utah Jazz with a game high 38 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. I covered that game and while Jordan’s performance was stellar re-watching the highlights above you realize the Jazz also blew the game. Why Bryon Russell left Jordan late allowing him to hit a wide open three is beyond ridiculous. And then the Jazz failing to foul in the final seconds didn’t make any sense either. But I regress. Here’s hoping either James or Durant turn in some Jordan-like performances in this year’s finals.

Take The Shot LeBron!

LeBron James was having another masterful game. With 4.5 seconds left James had 35 points, 17 in the fourth quarter, 10 rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots as his Miami Heat came back from a double digit deficit on the road against the Utah Jazz. Now down just 99-98 it was obvious the final shot would be taken by James. But then again I guess you could say it was obvious he would pass the ball. After receiving the inbounds pass instead of firing up the potential game winner he passed it over to Udonis Haslem who missed the wide open jumper and the Heat’s nine game winning streak came to an end. Those that defend James say he made the right “basketball” play. That’s nonsense. He was by far the best player on the floor (which is always the case), draining shots with defenders draped all over him throughout the night. The simple question is this–would you rather have a defended James take that shot or a wide open Haslum? I think the answer is pretty clear and until James decides to “man-up” in those situations his legacy will forever be tarnished.

As for the Jazz it was an impressive win. Yes those doubters would say the Heat were playing on a back-to-back without Chris Bosh but despite those challenges no one, yours included, expected Utah to pull that out. Now the question is whether they can build off it and figure out how to win on the road. It’s doubtful but for at least one night Jazz fans could pretend that their franchise was once again among the best in the league.

Agree or disagree sound off in the comments section below. Kevin Graham is the Co-Founder of Sports Mashup and regularly covered BYU and the NBA as a sports talk radio host in Salt Lake City. He can be followed on twitter @KevinGrahamSM, email him at [email protected] and join him on Google+. Feel free to follow @SportsMashup on Twitter and get interactive and like Sports Mashup on Facebook.