Regicide of LeBron James
If you’ve ever read Macbeth, you know that one way a King can die is when one close to them connives against the crown. Kyrie Irving didn’t murder LeBron and maybe he didn’t betray him either but there is certainly Shakespearean-level drama between them. This past post-season, Kyrie asked for a trade from a team that had been to the NBA Finals three years in a row boasting a 33% championship success rate. As a result, LeBron now operates in the shadowy realm of shallow Instagram shade and Arthur memes.
I am both a huge fan of Kyrie Irving’s game as much as his decision. His game, which is now, presently at its finest offensively and defensively, (leading the league in steals) is the main reason for his departure (read: betrayal of the King) I support his decision because it gives him the chance to grow with markedly younger players, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown are all 25 or younger, a more tactical coach in Brad Stevens because let’s be honest Tyronn Lue let Allen Iverson to, not just break his ankles but then step over him, so we know he doesn’t make good decisions.
Now, unto the regicide. I want to begin this leg of the discussion by establishing the premise that LeBron James is on the decline as of this season. Sure, he just scored 57 points against the Washington Wizards, washing every single defender who tried to guard him in post-ups (read: spin cycles) Sure he’s shooting career bests from three-point range and everywhere else, sure his numbers are even better than the year he won a near-unanimous MVP award, but let’s assume this is the last year LeBron will perform at this level. In that respect, it’s worth considering who might aid in the regicide of one of the most dominant basketball players of all time.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant stands as principal actors in this play. Both play the same position as King James, the former boasting better scoring, rebounding and defense stats, and the latter having best James in the finals last year. Surely Kawhi poses a threat but folks will say that he benefits more from the system around him than his own skill set (which is hot garbage) but also he isn’t in the same conference so I’ll count him as a minor antagonist.
So, who kills LeBron?
For my money, the only person capable of killing LeBron James, is LeBron James. James has, from the young age of 18, been a sterling example of how to carry yourself as a player and a man. He has achieved the accolades, said the right things (except for that one decision thing) and all in all, earned his kingdom. Earnestly working through the summers, nearly everyday and especially when it’s game time, LeBron will not be defeated until he is well and ready to be.
But the fascination with dethroning royalty is worth exploring in the end. Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player for some; that used to be Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Russell before him. Each new basketball generation clamors for its own monarchy and King James is mine. All these detractors, Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith will have you believe his reign is nearing an end. Turning 33 at the end of this month, pretenses and presuppositions aside, it is tough to accept that LeBron is having his best season yet and may not be done ruling just yet.