Five Reasons LeBron James Will Never Win Another Championship
By Mohammed Hakeem, contributing writer
With two National Basketball Association (NBA) championships, two final Most Valuable Player (MVP), four regular season MVP’s, 12 All Star selections, two Olympic gold medals and hundreds of other accolade; LeBron James is a basketball legend. At 6”9’, 260 pounds with the court vision of Magic Johnson, the strength of a lion, the speed of a cheetah, and unparalleled athleticism, he came into the NBA as a 18-year-old high school phenom who had every NBA team salivating over the idea of getting their hands on him. “The Chosen One” has lived up to most of the hype that came his way. But even with a career as great as his, many believe that James has still underachieved. He’s been to five straight NBA finals and has been to six in total but only has two championships to show for it.
Here are the five reasons why I believe LeBron will never win another ring:
- AGE James turned 31 years old in December. He came into the league 13 years ago at the prime age of 18. He’s not the same guy who would come running like a train through the lane and finishing with power. He’s not as fast or as strong anymore. Nobody survives the wrath of Father Time. Unlike other players who have gone through this stage such as Dwayne Wade or Kobe Bryant, James hasn’t developed a dependable perimeter game that could help him in the latter stages of his career when the athleticism isn’t there anymore.
- STEPH CURRY & OTHERS For the first time in James’ career he’s met a match when it comes to popularity. Stephen Curry is the up and coming superstar. Teams salivate for him, he’s a public relations darling, every kid wants to be him and anything with Curry’s name on it is sold out. He’s the first ever Unanimous MVP who’s shattered every record that’s comes his way this season including beating the Chicago Bulls’ record for the best NBA regular season with a 73-9 record. Curry is younger and his team is loaded for the long term. This also applies for Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Kawhi Leonard. All younger superstars who have dominant teams that stand in James’ way.
- EGO Since the second he announced that he would be entering the 2003 NBA draft, James has had NBA executives, fans, and even other players salivating over the idea of acquiring him on their team. He has had lucrative endorsement deals with Nike, Gatorade, Kia and many other Fortune 500 companies. He has been the public relations engine for the NBA which has resulted in him having some of the highest jersey sales in sports history. So naturally, James’ ego is very large. But this often hurts more than it helps him. There have been many rumors around the NBA that one of the core reasons in him leaving a perennial contender in the Heat was because Pat Riley wouldn’t let James have full control of the franchise. Even after he left Miami to land in Cleveland, he forced a move to acquire a injured Kevin Love by trading a highly touted 1st overall pick in Andrew Wiggins. James then used his power as leverage to get the Cavaliers to give Tristan Thompson a 5-year $82 million contract. $82 million for a guy who has no offensive game and specializes in rebounding.
- NO PRESSURE At this point in James’ career, he has no pressure on him to win another championship. Many analysts jumped on the bandwagon a long time ago and put their reputation on the line by touting him as the next Michael Jordan. He now has a whole crew of analysts and basketball gurus who are quick to jump to his defense. James just needed to get one championship under his belt to justify all that talent he has. He has a 2-4 record in the NBA finals but many disregard two of those finals by saying they didn’t count because the teams didn’t match up well. The game has also changed. In the 90’s and even early 2000’s, the only thing that made a players legacy was the amount of championships you won. America is obsessed with winners. Why is Michael Jordan the biggest icon in American sports after Muhammad Ali? Why did Kobe Bryant get a 6-month retirement coronation? Why is Michael Phelps regarded as the greatest olympian ever? Because all these people were winners. James doesn’t have to worry about that because now the game revolves around what your marketability is. Some of today’s biggest endorsement deals have gone to guys who have never won an NBA championship such as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbook, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. James has no pressure on him to win a championship because his legacy has already been written.
- NO ‘CLUTCH GENE’ Lets face it, LeBron James has never been mistaken as a clutch player. He has shrunk in big moments time and time again. He doesn’t have the killer instinct that Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan or even Dwayne Wade have. Who can forget the meltdown in the 2011 NBA finals against the Dallas Mavericks where James was nowhere to be found when his team needed him the most. He has repeatedly passed on opportunities to take the final shot by passing the ball away. Why was he so successful in Miami? Because he could play with no pressure in the clutch knowing that Dwayne Wade would be there to make the big the shot. But now in Cleveland, he doesn’t have that luxury. Will James really step up and make the big shots against a Warriors who have assassins such as Klay Thompson and Steph Curry who have time and time again made big shots to save their teams?
LeBron James is no doubt a great talent. I would even admit that skill-wise, LeBron might be the greatest player to ever touch a basketball. You can’t argue with his numbers either, but LeBron James might also be the greatest stat stuffer we have ever seen. Wilt Chamberlain has many ridiculous individual records which will most likely never be broken but nobody has ever mistaken him for a winner. Jerry West who is the logo of the NBA lost 8 finals. Charles Barkley who is an amazing TV personality and a member of the dream team has never won a championship. But Chamberlain and West had Bill Russell in their way of championships. Barkley had the great Michael Jordan in his way. LeBron had a old Tim Duncan and a aging Kobe Bryant who didn’t always have good teams after Shaquille O’Neal left in his way. Kobe Bryant still found a way to get five championships in a loaded Western conference. Even Dwayne Wade found a way to get more championships than James. Who does LeBron James have in his way? He has a easy road to the NBA finals playing in the Eastern conference and he always seems to find a way to play with great players–so then, why can’t James get another championship? LeBron James will always be an all time great talent but he will never quite be what we wanted him to be.
That’s why LeBron is the most polarizing athlete of our generation and thats why he will never win another championship.