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On Air: The Official Blog of WSJU Sports

After listening to four hours of New York sports talk,there’s something that really blows my mind. With LeBron’s flop last night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals that was, admittedly, atrocious, the media is ready to slap labels on him like “choke” and “fraud”. Stephen A. Smith went as far as to say LeBron should go to a tattoo shop and get “King James” and “The Chosen One” removed from his skin.

He’s got to be joking.

Granted, it was a huge situation, really a MUST WIN situation at HOME in the PLAYOFFS, but there’s no way you can say that he’s no longer the player he “was”. He is a two-time MVP, he’s been hampered by an elbow injury, and the pieces that were brought in the propel this team to a championship just aren’t showing up. The Cleveland Cavaliers are becoming the Cleveland LeBrons and last night proved that the latter is not the team that was favored to win coming into the playoffs.

Just like Jordan’s championship teams of the 90s, it takes a whole team to win. LeBron has no Scottie Pippen. Antwan Jamison has shown he can’t be “that guy”. LeBron has no Dennis Rodman, that gritty, selfless guy in the paint to do the dirty work. If you come back with Varejao as an answer, you tell me who you’d rather meet in a dark alley, Dennis Rodman or Anderson Varejao. Point proven.

Without these other pieces working like a well-oiled machine, the Cavs will fall because every other team left in these playoffs is complete enough to win. A lot falls on LeBron’s shoulders, true. Being a global icon and arguably the best player on Earth carries weight. But, when it boils down to it, you can’t win a championship by yourself. Look at the last ten champions and you’ll see. Look at the stars and you’ll see it. Magic had Kareem. Bird had that whole team. After Shaq left, Kobe didn’t win another until he had Gasol, Bynum, and Odom. It’s the way it is.

Basketball is a team sport and, until the Cavs start playing like one, they will be sent packing and LeBron himself may be packing up and heading out as well. He is a fantastic player, one of the world’s best, but a one man show will only take you so far.

-Dan

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