Lebron, meet Randy Brown. You may know him as a three-time NBA Champion with the Chicago Bulls. During the Bulls’ 72-10 season, Mr. Brown was third on the depth chart at point guard. He had two guys known as Ron Harper and Steve Kerr above him. You probably know those two names much better, as would any fan of the NBA that is not specifically a fan of the Bulls. But yeah, he has three rings. You have zero. A big fat zero.
Look on the bright side, though. I am sure that almost nobody would put Randy Brown on a higher pedestal than Lebron James when it comes to who is a better basketball player. You just don’t have any rings. You have a scoring title, a Rookie of the Year title, two season MVP awards, oh, but no rings. Funny how much a piece of jewelry matters.
It’s not your fault, Bron Bron. It is in no way your fault for the fact that a large percentage of fans care more about how many times you held a championship over your head than how good at the sport you actually are. After all, if you are as good as everyone says you are (and statistics show you to be pretty damn good) then you should be absolutely swimming in rings! This is your ninth season! You should have at least four by now! You’re King James! You are great and awesome and ballin’ and whatever other adjective you want to describe yourself as. You are one hell of a basketball player, but alas, winning those particular important games in the right order has eluded you for almost an entire decade. It eluded you so hard in Ohio that you decided to chase it to South Beach. One year in and that plan did not exactly work out.
Should the fans of the sport have put such high expectations on you going to Miami? Eh, probably not. The problem lies in the fact that you made the jewelry just as a big a deal in your own mind as the fans did. You put rings and championships above your ability and said that if you did not have those things, you were nothing. Nevermind that there are less than sixty players in the history of the league to score more points than you across a career. Nevermind the Olympic gold medal or the fact that you were arguably the entire economy for a major city for three quarters of a decade. None of those things matter even the tiniest bit because, gasp, you have never been an NBA Champion.
More than sixty people have rings. More than that go to the Olympics every four years and only a small fraction can claim themselves as a gold medalist (or even a medalist at all). There’s only one Rookie of the Year, only one MVP, and those don’t rely on teamwork the way that a championship season does. You have done those things because you are good at the sport of basketball. Okay, so you may have moments that could be deemed as choking or surrender, the critics are not always wrong. Regardless of those issues, you never should have made your career about championships. You have shown in the past that you are better than those zero rings but are apparently not above running after them.
The way you left Cleveland was harsh, you should be very cognizant of that. The way it was painfully obvious that you did not see a championship coming to Ohio regardless of how good you played and ran out of town in a salmon colored shirt for Miami did more to define your legacy than any amount of time you have spent on the court. Had you just went to another team, no fanfare or drama, no media circus …people might not judge you the way they do. It is a tough realization to come to – that great basketball might not always get you the exact accolades that you hope for. It is the same way that Randy Brown got the same ring Jordan and Pippen did for what I can only assume was less work. He averaged around 15 minutes of play time, you get 40. Jordan averaged 38.
Are you two minutes better than Jordan, because he’s six rings better than you, if that is really the statistic you wish to go by. If that really is the statistic you wish to have forced upon you and you have accepted with open arms, because just being good doesn’t matter, not to your critics and not to you, and I am truly sorry for that.