I was on Twitter, per usual, and discussing the Celtics/Cavs game 6 matchup with a few people that I follow. One of these people who goes by the Twitter name of @McAllenYork RT'd another Tweeter @The80sBabyBabyy who said "Allen Iverson did all the shit Lebron James does now." Now, upon reading this I wasn't quite sure what he meant by that. But after giving it some thought it was like a light switch went off in my head: Lebron James's career has the potential to go JUST like Allen Iverson's if he continues along the path that he is going right now and I'll explain how.
-Allen Iverson came into the league as the number one draft pick by the Philadelphia 76ers just as Lebron James did to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
-Both were the cornerstone pieces of each of their respective franchises and were chosen to lead their teams to the promised land: The NBA Finals. And both players single handily were able to accomplish both goals, but fell short of achieving the ultimate goal and winning it all. Iverson losing to the Lakers in 5 games, and James being swept by the Spurs in 4.
-Both have played on the USA Olympic teams, won the NBA MVP award, multiple NBA All-Star appearances, as well as a scoring title or four, as Iverson did that in as many times in a row.
That's just a bit of backstory comparisons on the two amazing careers of each athlete. Now, we all know that both players are also known to be selfish, egotistical, possess a God complex that's out of this world, and very bad sportsmanship. Remember Iverson's infamous "PRACTICE?!" rant and Lebron storming off court after the Orlando Magic series in the 2009 Playoffs? Both also orchestrate a lack of making their teammates better and trying to involve them in games, thus alienating themselves not only from their team, but coaches and the organization they play for itself. One thing I have always said about AI is that he lacked a true mentor in the league to take him under his wings. To show the young guy the ropes, what to do and what not to do. What to say and what not to say. I feel this is what caused the eventual downfall of Allen Iverson later in his career. He simply had no clue what to do outside of "doing him." Well "Doing You" does not translate to a Larry O'Brien trophy. I say this because well...Lebron also has these same exact similarities that Iverson has. As well as no rings. And I'm starting to believe that Lebron James actually will follow the same path as Iverson, Malone, Barkley and other great basketball players and never ever win a championship.
I don't believe Lebron leaving Cleveland will necessarily bring him a ring, but what I do believe is that a change in his attitude will ultimately bring him that ring. Ask Kobe Bryant after Shaq left what he had to do in order to get his first ring. Kobe enlisted the help of other NBA players. Magic, Jordan, Kareem. They all offered Kobe advice and gave him the keys to succeed in the game. Kobe SOUGHT greatness. Lebron just wants it handed to him on a silver platter, as did Iverson. I hate making the Kobe/Lebron comparisons but this is why Lebron doesn't hold a candle to Kobe: the will to be great. Lebron is just way too talented and gifted to not win a championship someday. I admire him as an athlete. He's an amazing player and a joy to watch. I thought I've seen it all with Jordan, then Kobe, and now Lebron is just raising the bar even more. But if he doesn't win a ring then what? Do the scoring titles, MVP awards, All-Star appearances mean anything if you don't get the real prize? I think not. And no one can convince me otherwise because you'd be lying to yourself. You don't enter in a beauty contest to get Miss Congeniality, you enter in a beauty contest to WIN the beauty contest. Kobe could have left LA but he didn't. He stayed. And he worked his ass off, stayed in the ears of Jerry Buss, and 5-6 years removed from the Shaq Era he gets his 4th ring. He may have done it "alone" but not necessarily. He was a better player than he was years ago because his attitude changed. He had the wisdom of players before him installed in him that willed him to the finals and capturing the ultimate prize. That's what Iverson lacked. This is what Lebron lacks. A true mentor. You can also blame it on the fact that AI and Lebron's fathers weren't in their lives growing up either, Kobe's father was in his life. So was Jordan's. This blog can obviously take a turn into something else, so I'll stop here. But you can't deny the fact that if Lebron continues to act like the way he does, just like Iverson did, that he'll retire as one of the greatest players of all time without a ring. How can a "King" be a king without a ring? I don't believe its too late for Lebron, but he needs to wake up quick fast and in a hurry. Maybe AI can mentor Lebron since he's recently walked this path. Now that'll be something, wouldn't it?