Full disclosure: I was a Chicago Bulls fan back when they drafted Orlando Woolridge out of Notre Dame.
I remember when the hot shooting guard was a guy named Reggie Theus.
I remember Artis Gilmore defiantly sporting the coolest post-ABA afro ever. Ever. WITH sideburns and a goatee.
I remember actually celebrating when the Bulls stole a guard coming out of school early. Yup, I was happy when they drafted Ennis Whatley out of Alabama.
Bona fides now established, I can talk with some honesty about when the 1984 NBA Draft occurred. The Houston Rockets, to the surprise of no one with a pulse, happily chose future Hall-of-Famer Hakeem Olajuwon with the first pick, and rightly so.
And then, quoth Portland, depression set in.
With the second pick, the Portland Trailblazers drafted oft-injured Sam Bowie out of Kentucky, leaving one Michael Jeffery Jordan on the board for Bullies GM Rod Thorn; there is no truth to the rumor that Thorn rushed his selection of Jordan to NBA commissioner David Stern before Stern had finished saying “Bowie,” but the decision to draft Jordan third took so little time to decide it can only be explained by quantum mechanics.
So Michael Jordan, arguably the most explosive guard to enter the league since Magic Johnson’s breathtaking bow, was in Chicago.
And then, quoth Chicago, depression set in.
See, history is all revisionist and stuff now, but I was there for the dark times.
He was called a coach killer. He was called selfish. He was called a black hole on offense: if the ball went in to him, it never came back out. He was moody. He was arrogant. He thought he was better than everyone else and he hadn’t proven a thing yet, in a league where both Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were still holding court.
Then came 1991, the year he figured it out. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now, why did I build such a big-azz porch?
Because history, as they say, is fond of repeating itself.
Last spring, LeBron James figured it out.
I can tell you exactly when he figured it out: Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.
Facing elimination, in Boston, LeBron James basically won the series for Miami even though they were down two games.
The official scorer says that James scored 45 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.
My eyes say that the last time I saw an evisceration that cold-blooded, Dexter Morgan was doing the cutting.
The series was allegedly tied, but everyone knew it was over. LeBron had figured it out.
The NBA Finals were entertaining, if a foregone conclusion. Not all of Kevin Durant’s outrageous talent, not any of Russell Westbrook’s irrepressible competitiveness, not all of Serge Ibaka’s hustle was going to deny LeBron because…wait for it…he had figured it out.
What is “it”?
Put it this way: all the sheep in all the world can take a vote and choose vegetarianism, and it won’t make a bit of difference as long as the wolves are of a different opinion.
LeBron James figured out that he is the wolf in a league full of sheep.
As long as he is healthy, it’ll be mutton for dinner every night for the Miami Heat. It sez so right here that everyone else is playing for second place, because LeBron James has figured it out.
As long as he is the best player on the court, his team will win, period.
He will be the best player on the court for a while yet.
Hate all you want, but the Miami Heat are about to become the very dynasty they callously predicted for themselves a couple of seasons ago, and there is nothing, not one thing the rest of the league can do about it, short of hoping for an “unofficial” suspension for gambling, er, retirement (yeah, I said it).