Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Was LeBron's mystery motivation aimed at mocking MVP Stephen Curry?

The Golden State Warriors are 2015 NBA Champions and there is only one unanswered burning question remaining.

OK, one question other than is Stephen A. Smith ever wrong.

That would be: What was LeBron James’ “secret” motivation?

Remember after LeBron erupted in ball-slamming, teammate-hugging, primal-yelling elation after the Cleveland Cavaliers won Game Two in Oracle Arena? The Cavs had been dismissed faster than Donald Trump as presidential candidate after losing Game One and Kyrie Irving. LeBron was obviously pissed about that and it served as bulletin board motivation for Game Two.

But then the Chosen One, perhaps euphorically drunk sensing a dramatic sway in momentum and fate, inexplicably decided to drop this hint that there was “some other motivation” for winning that game and possibly the series.

The King was asked about the mystery motivation again after the Cavs’ Game Three win in Cleveland, but he coyly avoided an answer. "The Decision" maker gave a wink and hoped for two more wins to make his revelation. His "Answer."

Of course, that was the last game LeBron won in the NBA Finals so we may never know.

I have a theory on what is was.

Remember in Game Two when, in the final minutes, LeBron stole a pass telegraphed by the Warriors’ Stephen Curry and then looked at Curry and pointed at his King-sized head? It was LeBron – nay, Glee Bron -- showing up Curry by, figuratively speaking, telling Curry and the world that he had basketball smarts. It was a game-clinching heads-up play by LeBron and that it was a crucial turnover by Curry was a way for LeBron to make a statement to the Warriors’ pretty boy and new face of the NBA.

I’m still smarter than you. Deal with it.

My guess is LeBron was/is miffed that Curry was the league’s MVP during the regular season and LeBron was pretty much an afterthought in the voting. By winning Game Two and making Curry look like a fool in the process LeBron also made another statement.

I’m still better than you. Deal with it.

Which brings us to Game 5 post-game. Curry went on a tear at the end of Game Three, helped the Dubs win Game Four in Cleveland to even the series, and then went bonkers with his best game of the series in Game 5.  Curry was once again the darling of the media and NBA universe and LeBron was left trying to figure out whatever happen to Matthew Dellavedova’s magic. Delly Belly wound up with more floor burns than 3-pointers in the series.

It was at this precise time that LeBron chose to drop this B bomb: “I feel confident because I’m the best player in the world.”

Duh. We already knew that then why would the Chosen One say that? He is the best player in the world and I don't doubt it.

The pundits and talking heads suggested LeBron was merely trying to motivate his teammates, inspire them with Game of Thrones-like guff. 

Really? The Cavs players pretty much wore the same bland expression as Kevin Love did all series sitting on the sideline. The only thing that motivates J.R. Smith is the ball in his hands. David Blatt’s desperate motivational speeches at halftime and during timeoutrs had everything but “was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”

Frankly, I think the Warriors were more motivated by LeBron’s curious remark because they interpreted it as a slap in the face at Curry. He was mocking their guy.

My theory? I think LeBron was/is jealous of all the attention and focused being heaped on Curry and needed to make a statement – this time with a bold, arrogant proclamation instead of a finger to the head – to remind everyone that he is still the King.


Now I understand that this series was not a fair fight and LeBron’s team was seriously undermanned, but the Atlanta Hawks were far from full strength when they were swept by the Cavaliers two weeks ago. No one talked about that.

But all we heard about from the media and from LeBron himself following Game Six was how hard he played and how he left everything out on the floor. Basically, LeBron willed his team like Hercules willed stone columns to collapse.

Well – and I hope I’m not the only one to notice this – but with about two minutes left in the game on Tuesday night LeBron, seconds after missing an uncontested canyon-wide-open 3-point shot, found himself as the only person between Curry and the basket. Curry, on the left wing, decided to drive right at the hoop and LeBron's "Braveheart" persona.

It was another chance for LeBron to make a statement and summon the energy and pride to emphatically block Curry’s shot out of bounds, sending Cavs fans to the exits with one last hurrah.
Instead, LeBron made no effort whatsoever to guard Curry.  He froze and fretted. Curry drove straight to the basket and made an uncontested layup and LeBron just stood and watch.

At this moment, LeBron, the self-professed leader of the Cavs and knighted savior of Cleveland, decided to quit.

ABC/ESPN analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy, who had been mildly critical of LeBron’s defense during Game Six, said nothing. There was no replay of this moment as action continued and the Warriors played out the final minute and cameras focused on the impending celebration.

I was all in on LeBron before that. He is the most scrutinized athlete, perhaps of all-time, and I honestly thought he might win the MVP award in the Finals. But not after that.

In the end, the image-conscious LeBron tried to be a good sport and was praised for his “class” when he strolled down the sideline to congratulate Curry, Steve Kerr and the Warriors. That was for show.

An hour or so later in the Cavaliers’ post-game press conference/morgue, LeBron presented himself as a gallant yet deeply disappointed champion. Imagine the Kings’ hurt: Curry carrying around the NBA championship trophy with his cute kid, Andre Iguodala carrying around the NBA Finals MVP trophy even though LeBron averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists in the series with Igoudala mostly guarding him, and the City of Cleveland carrying around the losers’ baggage of no team sports title for 51 years.

If LeBron was trying to make us feel sorry for him, I’m not buying it. He boasted about “The Decision” and left Cleveland to play with two other superstars and win multiple world championships. Then, encouraged by his kids, he came back to Cleveland to win a title and the Cavs put two more superstars around him – and they both got injured when LeBron needed them the most.

Unfortunate? Yes.

Karma? Yes. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home