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Doug & Wolf

Updated Jun 22, 2012 - 8:17 pm

The Return of the King

LeBron James finally got his ring. King James finally got
his crown. But the return of the king may not be a
guarantee. LeBron must show that he can rule his kingdom
with a strong and steady hand. The gold and precious
metals he hoisted high after winning an NBA Championship
may herald a new dynasty, indeed, but every great kingdom
must stand the test of time.

“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who
wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither,
deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a
fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall
spring; renewed shall be blade that was broken, the
crownless again shall be king.”

J.R.R Tolkien, littérateur extraordinaire, penned that
when he wrote the epic fantasy Lord of the Rings.
After watching LeBron James win his first NBA championship
I couldn’t help but think of Tolkien.

I was truly happy to see LeBron laugh at himself while
holding the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, staring at
his reflection with great relief and unbridled joy. He is
not the monster people have made him out to be; he never
was. King James deserved this trophy more than most. His
performance in the 2012 NBA Finals was the stuff of legend
and winning the Bill Russell MVP Award was the definition
of anticlimactic. King James’ coronation is now complete
but I wonder how long his kingdom will last?

All that is gold does not glitter…

I wonder what kind of impact winning a title might have on
LeBron? Will this personality transformation he went
through this postseason inspire him to win five, six,
seven or more championships, or will it land him in the
fat and happy land of complacency? Will his gold
reflection of the championship trophy suck the intensity
from the lungs of King James, or was that simply a post-
championship exhale we witnessed?

not all those who wander are lost;

LeBron James has shut the mouths of all his critics. The
beat-down of his haters couldn’t be more obvious if he
flogged them publicly with his scepter. He has finally
taken what was rightfully his; the burden he has carried
since he went into exile in South Beach has been laid to
rest. After wandering away from Cleveland, he appeared
lost in last year’s NBA Finals, deposed as king and
declared an imposter. But he was never lost.

The old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are
not reached by the frost.

After five games of basketball in these Finals it was
clear LeBron James and the talents he possessed in
Cleveland and the strength and the athleticism and the
overt skill that made him the best player on the planet
had not been diminished by the haters that wished to
freeze him out of winning a championship and stop his
victorious march.

Even I thought Kevin Durant had supplanted LeBron as the
best player our species could generate. Durant was
dominant in his own right and played well in these Finals
and certainly might be flashing the hardware in the
future. But after watching LeBron control the entire
series and destroy a team whose playoff march included the
abolition of the NBA’s past three champions, there can be
no doubt that James is the best player in the world.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the
shadows shall spring;

Last year’s futile attempt at a crown against the Dallas
Mavericks squarely put LeBron James in the crucible of
doubt. And this year’s postseason procession wasn’t very
impressive, either. Sure, LeBron played well but he was
not chasing away the haunts and haters with his tepid play
while closing out games. The Miami Heat looked doomed to
relive the same fate that awaited them in Dallas.

Something happened to LeBron James between games 5 and 6
of the Eastern Conference Finals and it’s as undeniable as
the light reflecting from his Bill Russell MVP Trophy: he
got mad and tapped into the rage tree. Suddenly, LeBron
James was not the same player he was a year ago; he was
not the same player he was a month ago; he was not the
same player he was in game 5 of the Eastern Conference
Finals.

What happened?

renewed shall be blade that was broken…

Dwyane Wade handed LeBron James the hilt of the broken
sword of leadership and everything changed. LeBron James
got the blessing of D-Wade to take what was rightfully his
and make the Miami Heat his team. LeBron James became the
undisputed leader of his team and bore that responsibility
with a painted face and a dark heart.

The Miami Heat became a true team between game 5 and 6 of
those conference finals, not just a collection of three
extremely talented individuals. Order, structure and law
gave its subjects the confidence to know what their roles
were and how they could help crown a king and, in so
doing, win a ring.

the crownless again shall be king.

LeBron James is the undisputed best basketball player in
the world. Of that, there can be no doubt. My recantation
now complete, I feel washed, cleansed in the waters of
clarity and certitude.

Still, the shadow of the Oklahoma City Thunder creeps
across my mind as I consider the future and I think of the
Kingdom of Complacency and the glittering reflection of
all that gold and how King James might rule?

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