I can’t bring myself to love what happened in Miami last night.
Here’s the thing: I secretly love basketball. It’s fun to write about and the flow of the game is something I’ve come to admire over the last few years. I can’t play it worth a lick and the intricacies are beyond me but watching good basketball is tough to top.
My problem doesn’t lie in the product but my knowledge of it. I feel most of my understanding of the cast is remedial, based on media-driven happenstance and typecasting. I’m used to having very real opinions about hockey and football and try hard to move beyond obvious perception, but that’s difficult to accomplish with a league I don’t watch on a full-time basis.
This is a problem because so much of NBA basketball’s allure is the theater provided by its main characters. The league is star-driven and does an excellent job of marketing these personalities as larger than life, but my immediate desire is to go deeper, something I simply don’t have the knowledge to do.
LeBron James is the most interesting character in the NBA simply because he’s supposed to be the best. He is ultimately fascinating for an endless number of reasons. His actions and words mean more than any other’s, and the attention given to him only makes him that much more important.
I can honestly say I have no idea what’s going on inside his head, but that hasn’t stopped me from writing about him in the past. I’m not exactly proud of the result, but oftentimes the topic is just too interesting to pass up. There is mystery surrounding James that makes him intriguing, if only because it’s impossible to relate to him.
Watching Miami lose on Sunday night was supposed to be a rewarding experience, but Posnanski is right in that it felt a bit empty. There was just too many weird things that went on over the last two weeks. The quiet way the game ended in Miami. All those fourth quarters where James came up empty. The premature celebrations and grand proclamations and LeBron and Wade playing to the camera before Game Five.
I think deep down, the machine is just too big for James to control. The Heat Index and all the hype and big words started to unravel too quickly for one person to fix. The dinosaurs were taking over the island and James was just too big to fit in the kitchen cabinets.
It’s just as likely I’m completely wrong, which would be just as okay. Maybe they just ran out of gas or deep down Dirk and Co. wanted it more. So much myth is attached to the James narrative that it’s not necessary to pile on, but each failure only adds complexity to the story.
Far too often we forget that kings are mortal. LeBron always finds a way to remind us.