Another year features another season of high expectations for LeBron James. Despite playing for the talented Miami Heat and starting the season 2-0, doubts linger about his clutch qualities. Will he ever fulfill the Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan comparisons?
Miami Heat holds off weakened Boston Celtics but show big red flags
The NBA season is barely two games old and already experts wonder how big the championship rings will be for the Miami Heat. Lost among those chants are two very suspect wins that should've ended as complete blowouts but instead drew too close for comfort. It started on Christmas when the Heat opened up a 30-point lead on the Dallas Mavericks. Nobody paid much attention when Dallas cut the lead to eleven before time expired. Their awakening came much faster against the Boston Celtics. Playing without star Paul Pierce, the "old" Celtics fell behind by as much as 20 during the game while LeBron James enjoyed having his freakish talents adored. Once again though, Miami watched the lead dwindle away and were it not for some timely shooting from rookie Norris Cole the supposed championship favorites would have dropped their home opener. Instead they prevailed 115-107.
Bryant and Jordan proved teams reflected personality of their leaders
The funny thing about sports franchises is that every team reflects the personality of its leader. Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are prime examples. Both the Lakers and Bulls dynasties featured cutthroat mentalities fueled by an ultra-competitive spirit and will to win. Bryant and Jordan didn't care what it took; they would score 50 to 60 points if they had to. One major similarity is they both knew how to finish off opponents. That trait is not shared as often as fans would hope with LeBron James. Too often have his Miami Heat or even Cleveland Cavaliers exhibited strong starts only to lack the killer instinct towards the end of the game. James has the will to win. There is no doubting that but will he ever display the same clutch, steely-eyed mentality that made Jordan and Bryant legends.
Likes of Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant are closing the window
The Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder know what they have. King James knows that the years pass by fast and if he ever hopes to reach that upper level of all-time greats, he'll have to do it before the likes of Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant become too strong. The Bulls and Thunder are both off to rocky starts this season. Rose continues learning his way in Chicago after two shaky west coast games and Durant struggles for identity in a mercurial western conference. The horses stay lined up for the Miami Heat. LeBron promised South Beach seven championships when he made "The Decision." A smart man would remind him that he's already lost two. Kobe Bryant won five before that happened. Michael Jordan never lost a Game 6 in the finals, let alone a championship series. Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant aren't ready yet, so if James wants his respect, he better take it fast.