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The Unyielding Selfishness of “The King”
by Andrew Lynch (@AndrewLynch)
Do you feel unsatisfied?
I know. It’s an insane question on the surface. We just completed the best first round in NBA playoff history. Of 56 possible games, 50 were played. Buzzer-beaters were a nightly occurrence. Possessions became as precious as diamonds. Injuries (and here, the Charlotte Bobcats fan ruefully shakes her head) that would cripple an ordinary mortal were treated as mere nuisance, something through which the gladiators of the postseason must fight.
Such an injury, to the mighty Al Jefferson, helped derail the drama of the series between the Heat and Bobcats. Yet even had Big Al been at full strength, there was really only one thing in question when play between these two teams began:
Would the King, his royal highness, bother showing up?
The mainstream media couched it in the language of “the switch.” He’s resting, they told us. LeBron — and, because he sets such an awful example, everyone else on his team, even the usually ferocious Dwyane Wade — didn’t go 100% during the regular season, but he’d be ready to be in full Galactus mode once the games really started to matter.
No one really doubted it, because LeBron James is the mightiest of the mighty. He’s still the greatest basketball player in this or any universe. And when it came time to show that there was indeed a switch to be flipped, LeBron didn’t disappoint. He annihilated the Bobcats. He destroyed them. He beat them so badly that they’re going to have to change their name next season.
And in doing that, The King showed just how much disdain he has for all of us. Where was that during the regular season, LeBron, when you only have to play 82 games? Oh, sometimes those games are on consecutive nights, and you’re sleepy, and science says that the body needs an optimal amount of rest in order to perform at peak capacity.
That man didn’t sleep, ever. A friend of a friend of a sportswriter who once stood next to Charles Oakley while Oak was convincing an earthquake to wait until he was done with his stained glass project told me a story (off the record) that one time after a playoff game — and this was in Jordan’s later Bulls years, when the man by all accounts probably should have been recuperating and preparing for the next night — MJ decided that he felt like playing some cards. So the man played some cards.
For 72 straight hours. Never left the table, not even to use the facilities.
And he was still able to hang 50+ points on his opponent the next night on the second game of a back-to-back in the middle of the regular season against a team that could hardly field a YMCA team, let alone a professional basketball squad. Because he would never cheat us of the exquisite entertainment of trying to devour his opponents every single night, LeBron.
For you, though, that’s just par for the course. So congratulations on all of your dominance in the first round, King. Just know that every moment rings hollow after the regular season you so sent us in the mail.