LeBron has his championship ring. Now what?

“I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former ‘king’ wins one.”

-Dan Gilberts, Cleveland Cavaliers owner, December 13, 2010

What are we to do now?

It’s over, all of it.

All that energy, all that wasted time and all that hate.  The what-if-he-doesn’t talk, the he’d-be-the-greatest ever-not-to conversations, all the meaningless, hypothetical jibber-jabber we’ve exchanged with friends and strangers over the years, every ounce of resentment we’ve ever uttered… gone, just like that.

And personally, I’m all the happier for it.  I even profited on it through sports betting.

Let me be among the first to say Congratulations, LeBron.  May you finally get a decent night’s sleep.  Enjoy raising that figurative, now ring-bearing, middle finger to all those who gave you crap along the way.  That has to feel as justifying as winning the ring itself.

Look through my record books.  Not once have I ever wished LeBron ill will.  Questioned his decision-making, perhaps?   Been guilty of accusing him of not living up to expectations, also possible?  But Michael-high expectations are tough to meet.

So what now?

LeBron has his ring.

How can we perpetuate the hate?  After all, it’s what we do best, right?  Do we fault him for not having more?  Do we suddenly start piling on Kevin Durant?  Is that what we’ve resorted to as sports fans?  Picking apart the losers rather than celebrating our champions?  Even in victory, the haters emerged.  Durant was fouled at the end of Game Two.  Westbrook didn’t get enough calls in Game Four.  Miami couldn’t have done it on its own merit.  What, I ask you, is wrong with us?

Despite its hasty, and apparently surprising, outcome to the majority of you who thought Oklahoma City would win this thing, these NBA Finals were riveting, every game but the last highly contested.

But now it’s over and the question remains, what now?

I’ll give Clevelanders a pass, but the rest of you better find something else productive to do with your time as that whole “not five, not six, not seven” promise is at least one step closer to fruition.  Or maybe he won’t win another and we’ll once again ask why the hell not.  Like it’s any business of ours to not analyze, but criticize.

The bulk of us have spent so much time picking apart this man’s every move and rooting for him to fail, that now it’s finally time for us to reap what LeBron has sown… and that’s the last laugh.

56 thoughts on “LeBron has his championship ring. Now what?

  1. Pingback: LeBron has his championship ring. Now what? - BallHyped, NBA | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. The Heat winning has all the excitement of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team winning the gold. If a) LeBron, Bosh and Wade hadn’t conspired to play together, and b) LeBron wasn’t such an ass about it, then maybe somebody would like them. Even though it’s their first championship, I think everyone outside of Miami just issued a collective groan.

    BTW – If they want to lower their profile, they should change the team name to the Humidity (“It’s not the heat;…”). Not my joke, but funny nonetheless.

  3. There was so much relief on James face during the late stages of the 4th quarter (when the games was in hand and he was on the bench). As Mike Breen described, he truly did look like a little kid celebrating the accomplishment. He really did have an absolutely fantastic postseason….

  4. 30, 10 and 5 for the entire playoffs, Tim.

    Only the tenth guy in NBA history to win regular season and Finals MVP in the same season.

    Only the third player ever to lead his team in points, rebounds and assists in the playoffs.

    A determined LeBron is a bad man.

  5. Congrats to Lebron , it’s well deserved .. I am uber happy that he won this championship . I have argued repeatedly that no other “regular” human would defend taking another job offer nor should they have to . He was well within his rights to take his talents elsewhere . He owed nothing to the city of Cleveland , his ESPN special was for a good cause . How many athletes do you know that turn over their proceeds to the Boys & Girls Club or any other worthy cause ? Enough with the LeBron hate.. give the man his props ! He is an incredible talent , has a huge heart for the right charities and now has a championship .. Case closed fuckers :=)

  6. Ladies and gentlemen, here are your final NBA contest standings in reverse order. Thanks as always for participating.

    J-Dub 2 pts (Nice work, dude! Way to pick up the rear)
    Alex @ DHS 5 pts
    Bleed 9 pts
    Chris Ross 11 pts
    Chappy 12 pt
    Snake 16 pts
    Ronbets 16 pts
    SA 16 pts
    Jamie DSR 20 pts
    Full Court Pest 23 pts
    Dan Cohn 25 pt
    SportsChump 26 pts (Congrats to me for finishing in 3rd)
    Aero 32 pts

    and our winner and basketball guru extraordinaire…

    Tophatal with 36 points, nailing 7 out of 10 questions correct. SportsChump prize pack out your way soon.

  7. Story of my life. Always a bridesmaid never a bride. One of these days man. This losing streak can’t go on… can it?

  8. I didn’t realize the NBA was still a functioning league/business..? I happily watched Wyatt Earp for the 10th time (est.) last night as King LeBron made good on his decision. Wake me up when football starts.

  9. It’s good to be the “King .

    LBJ can now look over his kingdom on South Beach and his gilded subjects . Joining a select band of players to have won the regular season MVP and Finals’ MVP in the same season .

    Riley and Arison now feel a sense of vindication , while the franchise now becomes even more valuable and profitable .

    That’s Pine tar baby not Pine Sol , Joe . How the hell can Maddon try to vindicate Peralta’s actions while calling Nationals’ manager Davey Johnson a coward ?

    Let me know what you think with regard to the latest piece ?

    What In The Wide World of Sports ………..

    I’ll e-mail you my info .

  10. What a great finals. Well deserved esp the pure domination last night of miami that came to win! This was an example of how THE VoLS will do next season and with the BCS!!!

  11. Geez you really know how to hurt a guy Rev…I watch every mili-second of college B-ball that I can, just don’t care for the NzzzzzzzzzzzzBA. Big hockey draft tonight tho…Bueller??

  12. Al…

    Arison did a pretty good job with that team although South Beach sells itself, doesn’t it?

    Props to Spoelstra for keeping his composure through all of this.

  13. Gilbert has sent LBJ a congratulatory note of good wishes . On the other hand , if the Cavs’ owner had his way , the player would have already been six foot underground courtesy of the Russian mob .

  14. I don’t know why, but when Jordan was piling up his championships in his first three-peat I rooted against him every step of the way. (Maybe because I wasn’t even a teenager yet and wanted to just see someone else win). But when he came back to basketball, I realized I was missing out on something special by rooting against him all the time. With Lebron I don’t think I ever truly rooted against him, and have enjoyed him for what he is, an unstoppable force on the basketball court. I’m glad he got his chip, if he doesn’t repeat I’m sure there will be plenty of haters trolling around again…

  15. It really is sad to see people who are unable to celebrate the achievement due to a bias against (presumably) one player. I agree with you that LeBron’s made some questionable decisions, but in the end, he’s got amazing talent. Sure, he was a great part in the win, but without the rest of the team, he has no Championship. That said, the media just can’t be okay with that. Can they?

  16. Petey…

    I kid because I care, not to mention the fact I’ve had the Buckeyes in my Final Four the past TWO years only to see them come up short.

    Basically, what I’m trying to say is, you fuckers cost me money and no nudey pics of Greg Oden are going to make me feel any better about it.

  17. Al…

    If that’s what Chuck said, then I have to disagree.

    Howard’s been a steady bench guy over the years, a role player, and heck he’s still in the league after, what is it, 19 years?

    Chuck just tends to get a little bitter around this time of year when people win rings.

  18. Interesting you say that, Chap.

    I felt exactly the same way about the Lakers and Celtics when I started watching basketball. I couldn’t relate to either team. It wasn’t until Michael came around, and also Dominique, that I found a basketball player I could root for.

    Looking back now, those Celtics-Lakers matchups were epic. Take another look at those starting line-ups. It’s a who’s who of Hall of Fameness.

  19. Expectations.

    Never easy waters to navigate.

    LeBron went from league golden boy to public enemy #1 in one weekend with his ill concieved “Descision” and subsequent antics the same weekend with the “Unveiling” stage show and guarantees of 6, 7, 8 or more championships.

    He brought those added expectations and detractors to his own doorstep.

    Now he has his first title and deserved both MVP’s scooped up in the process. Congratulations to him.

    He may well be on his way to becoming the greatest of all time. He certainly has the physical abilities.

    Seriously, I admire what he does on the court. He’s Magic, Michael and Karl Malone all wrapped up in one incredible Adonis of a basketball player.

    His off court slips dug him this hole. His only redemption is to rectify his wrongs ON the court…Step one, check.

    Doesn’t mean I have to like it, or him.

    It’s especially tough to swallow in the wake of Sternhole pulling the rug out from the CP3-to-the-Lakers trade as I can only wonder if THAT Lakers team might have beaten the Heat.

    Sincerely,
    -Bitter pill reluctantly swallowed in Los Angeles

  20. And Chap, sir, are you demanding a recount. You’d qualify for Florida residency in seconds flat.

    Here were Al’s answers:

    1) Scroring oncourt K Durant —— off the court Kobe Bryant given his impending marital status

    2) Miami Heat

    3) Lakers will have the better record

    4) No categorically and emphatically no !

    5) No ! Not unless they each take up the art of “Tebowing “

    6) LBJ Man on a mission with the desire that he wants to be loved by the fans so he’ll pull out all of the stops this season .

    7) Miami Heat

    8) Oklahoma City

    9) LBJ

    10) Durant

    and here were yours…

    1 point – Who will lead the league in scoring (average points per game)? Melo

    2 points – Which team will have the best record in the Eastern Conference? Miami

    3 points – Which team will have a better record: Lakers or Clippers? Clippers

    4 points – Will Dwight Howard finish this season with the Orlando Magic? No

    5 points – Will the Los Angeles Clippers win a first round playoff series? Yes

    6 points – Who win will league MVP? Chris Paul

    7 points – Who will win this year’s NBA championship? Miami

    8 points – Which team will boast the best regular season record in the Western Conference? OKC

    9 points – Who will be this year’s Finals MVP? OKC-Miami

    10 points – Who will be the first player this season to score 50 points in a game? D-Wade

    I know, none of us are used to Al being right very much but you know what they say about blind squirrels.

    Here’s the link to the initial contest page if you wanna see everyone else’s answers:

    http://sportschump.net/2011/12/20/sportschump-proudly-presents-our-first-annual-nba-predict-the-future-contest/7787/

  21. Yeah, it was incredibly lopsided back in the day. I’m sure it helped that some teams back then barely spent any money so the ones that did really benefited.

    In the finals I was rooting against the Zombie Sonics. I still can’t stand Bennett or Stern for what they did to Seattle, but on the other hand they are really fun to watch. I even found myself rooting for the Spurs to take them out. I guess over the years rooting for the Warriors, you pretty much just learn to appreciate the truly good teams when playoff time rolls around. Not sure if that helps or hinders my pov…

    Impressive picks Al!

  22. Chris

    Barkley didn’t really say that , it was my way using a bit of jocularity to lighten the mood . But look, Juwan may well be a role player but that’s like being the wing-man for one of your buddies whose art is that of the pickup line and gettin’ the hot chic. Nothing wrong in riding on the coattails of an individual like that but a guy like that (wing-man) needs to turn his “man card ” if he can’t go out and get some “tail ” of his own .

    Let’s get real Chris , what Juwan Howard really achieve over the course of his NBA career ? Other than his collegiate career as a member of the Fab 5 that has been about it .

    So Bron-Bron and the boys are already talking about a repeat …………… possible three-repeat in the offing do you think ?

    All Hail The King ……… Long Live The King ….

    Chappy , thanks for the props !

    😛

    tophatal …….

  23. Chappy

    Why are you surprised by the antics of Bennett and Stern ? I mean the city of Seattle were gullible to begin with as too was Howard Schultz (Sonics owner at the time) if they believed that league’s intent was to have the franchise remain in Seattle . Haven’t you learned nothing by the way the NBA operates ?

    I mean look at the apathy of the fans in Sacramento and the dumb a#s city council and their dealings with the Maloofs and the Kings . Damn , those people are so friggin’ dumb ! Common sense simply doesn’t equate with those individuals at all !

    And you all people should understand the idiocy here, especially in light of how Bud Selig has pi##ed over the A’s ownership and their stadium issue . How’s that working out for you as a fan and their franchise’s mistreatment by Selig and his butt buddies .

  24. Chris

    Dan Gilbert and Prokhorov working together ? How ’bout both owners merging their teams because that’s the closest that the Cavs and Nets will ever get to being competitive much less be considered a legitimate contender for the NBA title .

    So Sandusky is now down for the count . Let’s hopes he’s well treated while he’s incarcerated . A pillow biter in the making …… he should enjoy that little escapade .

  25. Bleed…

    Beautifully uttered as always.

    Let’s compare LeBron to Kobe for a second, which I think is perfectly appropriate.

    Kobe went from being the game’s golden boy and perhaps its most marketable figure, to persona non grata after an ill-advised visit from a Denver concierge.

    How long did it take him to build that image back up and now, he’s loved again.

    You’re exactly right. He did that on the court, not solely, but that’s how he won fans back, not all of them mind you, just as Tiger won’t, and just as LeBron won’t.

    But little by little, whether they like LeBron or not, they’re going to have to like or at least respect, his game, because as you suggest, it’s pretty fucking dominant.

  26. Howard did enough, Al, enough to end his career with a ring and play in the league for a long, long time.

    And yes, I can see a three-peat.

    The question is… does basketball then become boring to watch, its champion a foregone conclusion.

  27. Chris

    Pennsylvania just happens to be the armpit and sphincter of the Northeast and I will stick with that statement !

    Sandusky will become a ” pillow biter” while incarcerated . As for his lawyers seeking an appeal because they did not have enough time to prepare their client’s case is a joke !
    Let Sandusky go rub himself up against one of his cellmates ’cause I think we can assume what prisoner’s response will be , don’t we ?

    Pennsylvania’s governor Tom Corbett throughout this tawdry and unsavory matter has proven to be a real a#s ! He should consider himself lucky , that no one questioned his actions as the State Attorney General while the events of the Hershey School scandal came to the fore .

    There Is Always Next Year

  28. Chris

    It’s always been said that the first title once won gives you the appetite for more . If the Heat are to win another or multiple titles then there’ll have to be an upgrade . Because the teams in the East and West will definitely be improving . So D Wil says he won’t a final choice as of yet but two teams at the top of his agenda still remains the Nets and Mavericks . The Mavericks are old and Nowitzki at best has no more than two good years left in him . As for the Nets the only way anyone takes an interest in the team is if Jay z suits up or he apparently books the new arena for multiple night concerts over the course of the NBA season .

    A friend and I were discussing the upcoming NBA Draft and I firmly believe that Jared Sullinger , if he happens to be a top ten pick , then he’s liable to be a major disappointment for that team . He’s good but not that good .

  29. What’s happening with the Rays ? They’re a major enigma wrapped up in a conundrum. Don’t know what to make of this team and what Maddon is now trying to do . Their upcoming schedule should prove to be really interesting .

    Who’d have thought also that Cliff Lee (0-3, 3.48 ERA, 77 SO’s , 14 Wlks) and Tim Lincecum (2-8, 6.07 ERA) would be having such terrible seasons with their respective teams ?

    And that’s a lot of money to be paying to both players given their lack of production this year .

    tophatal ……..

  30. LeBron James has a ring. Now what? Time to get another ONE. Yup, that’s right… constant pressure until he wins not 5, not 6, not 7…. you get the drift.

  31. Al….

    It’ll be interesting to see what kind of fire LeBron and company come out with in the years to come, as well as how Arison and Riley tweak their roster.

    I still don’t understand why there’s never any rumors of Deron Williams coming to play in Orlando.

    And I’m with you on Sullinger. Someone will draft him high because of his size but he’s way more Othella Harrington than he is Alonzo Mourning.

  32. The Rays will be fine, Al.

    Still saddled with injury but their depth is carrying them through.

    Either that, or the Phillies are just bad, which is also possible.

  33. BS…

    Again, the question is, does that mean basketball will be boring to watch for the next five to seven years?

    And how many will Miami win in that time?

  34. Al/Chris…The Phillies ARE bad. As for LeBron, his triumph means the James Haters can start blasting away at him for only having one ring. They will just recalibrate and start anew.

  35. Definitely not surprised that they did what they did, but still disappointed. I can’t believe the Maloofs backed out of what looked like a done deal in Sac. I feel for their fans, since many of them are my friends…

    What Selig has done with the A’s in inexcusable, but it’s a different man that is at least a decade less sane than Stern should be…

  36. Chap…

    Even though they were underdogs, they certainly didn’t “shock the world” as Chris Bosh suggested in their celebration. He’s been getting some heat, no pun intended, for that one.

    And someone please find me a decent sports commissioner… in ANY sport.

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