Cut LeBron James some slack, he’s a winner

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Mandatory Credit - Dan Hamilton USA Today

When LeBron James talks, it is probably a really good idea to listen.

It is perfectly fine to say that he has been increasingly whiny. I have no issue with Charles Barkley criticizing and then doubling down on those criticisms of LeBron and how he carries himself. The thing about the criticisms and statements made about LeBron James as of late is that they largely are true. LeBron has been increasingly whiny. LeBron does complain too much about foul calls. LeBron is not always respectful of his head coach. LeBron does have an ego. LeBron should not basically dismiss two-thirds of his team by calling the Cleveland Cavaliers “top heavy” publically. The only problem here is that all criticism aside, LeBron James has earned the right to make demands and have his needs met as the best player on the planet. This is mainly because of one thing that is rare even among the greatest athletes on the planet. LeBron James truly knows what it takes to win.

The only problem here is that all criticism aside, LeBron James has earned the right to make demands and have his needs met as the best player on the planet. This is mainly because of one thing that is rare, even among the greatest athletes on the planet — LeBron James truly knows what it takes to win.

At 32 years old, LeBron is once again leading the league in minutes. Even more absurd is despite his leading the league in minutes the Cavaliers had a rare losing record in a month, going 7-8 in January. Why is the best player on your team leading the league in minutes at age 32? This is a question that Tyronn Lue will be tasked with answering going forward as the Cavs desperately need a healthy LeBron for a deep playoff run. Over the course of the last month, LeBron surpassed Michael Jordan in career minutes played. Of course, the King has had more deep playoff runs and did not retire twice but that is still a striking statistic to have for the best player in the world. LeBron’s minutes need to go down immediately. This situation is taking advantage of his historically superior durability (misses on average less than 6 games per year). One thing about father time is no matter how impressive you are physically and mentally it will catch up to you at one point. The end of LeBron’s career is up to the management and coaching staff of the Cleveland Cavaliers. No player has ever lead the league in minutes during their 14th season. Ever.

 

Winners in sports do not just fall off of trees. A player can have supreme talent and still be missing the necessary ingredients to win games and more importantly championships. There have been many Carmelo Anthony’s and Allen Iverson’s that have come through the association with top-tier level talent but lacking in the mental requirements that are needed to be considered winners. Luckily for the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James is a winner. He has proven time and again that when things go as he has planned, championships soon follow. Rare is the NBA star that his peers will go to Cleveland of all places and take less money to play with him. Whoever has LeBron James on their team today is set in terms of free agency by default. Fans and the organization alike need to realize the impact that a happy LeBron James has on the team and the league in general. If LeBron needs a backup point guard, go get him a backup point guard. Dan Gilbert and Cavs GM David Griffin have done a great job of giving James the support and players that he needs, and they are smart they will continue to do so.

LeBron has been whiny. Teammates and ownership have been called out publically. These are all things that you get to do when you have been the greatest player in the world for the better part of a decade and still to this day lead the league in minutes at age 32. When working in a business you would be hard pressed to find a successful CEO that does not make demands and insist on having the necessary materials for success, no matter how small. LeBron is the CEO of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He brought the first championship back to Ohio as promised. Keep on whining LeBron, and let the championships follow.

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