NBA Finals: LeBron James is playing great basketball, and appears miserable while doing it.
Father time is catching up with Miami Heat. James is taking the Heat about as far as one player can go.
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While LeBron looks at least the equal of the wondrous Kevin Durant, Wade does not look the equal of Westbrook, and suddenly the talent edge even at the top isn't Miami's. Who would have thought that fate would befall Miami so quickly when the Heatles formed two summers ago?
Wade has admitted he has passed the reins to LeBron. This is LeBron's team, and any talk otherwise – which has been rampant since they teamed up – now seems silly.
“Sometimes I go to him and tell him I need one of those games from him, I need one of those performances from him because he still has it,” LeBron said of Wade. “He knows he still has it, too, but every player needs a little kick every now and then, no matter how time tested they are.”
For a variety of reasons, LeBron went from carefree superstar to arch-villain. A plot right out of DC Comics if ever there was one.
LeBron didn't seem to mind, because it paired him with his buddy Wade and it put him on what everyone thought was an unbeatable team.
Turns out the Mavs were experienced and hot a year ago and the Thunder is hot and young this year, and suddenly those multiple championships LeBron talked about – “not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven…” – have been reduced to a singular goal. Can Miami win one?
“We live in a different world probably than most teams,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra understated.
And so LeBron plays brilliant basketball with the albatross of expectation around his neck and the awesome weight of responsibility on his shoulders, and while he's a better player than ever, he's doing it carrying a mighty burden.
LeBron has everything he wanted. Be careful what you wish for.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.