His fledgling career has already been lime-lighted by greatness.We’ve watched him on SportsCenter for over two years now, and he has consistently amazed us. He has made the extraordinary seem ordinary, the impossible simply routine. His numbers — which are out of this world – already rival some of basketball’s all-time greats.
But what LeBron James did Sunday actually made me laugh out loud at the absurdity of how easily he can take over a game.
After “just” 12 points in the first half, James detonated in the second, finishing the day with 44 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and a 113-106 comeback victory over the Phoenix Suns. Oh, and one block. Which, by the way, came after James ran down Leandro Barbosa’s potential game-tying lay-up, pinned the ball off the backboard, then ran it straight through the Suns’ defense to slam it home with total unquestioned authority.
That’s when I became terrified. But Phoenix was terrified long before that. And, like the predator he is, James sensed it and attacked.
At some point in the second half, it became obvious that no matter what James did with the ball, it would end well. He pulled up from three: good. He shot an impossible fade-away off the glass as he fell out of bounds: good. It simply didn’t matter.
James took a 17-point third quarter deficit – against one of the best offensive teams in basketball – and made it go poof.
True, this was not No. 8’s record-setting 81-point performance. It wasn’t even McGrady’s impossible comeback against the Spurs last season.
It was prophecy.
You know what I’m talking about. James is already one of the top ten best players in the NBA – that’s beyond question. But games like this, ones that seemingly etch themselves in time before the final buzzer even sounds, are plain evidence this young phenomenon could not only become the next Jordan … he could become better.
Millions of Chicago fans mumble absently and shift in their seats, offering feeble objections to James’ intangibles. They argue that no one will ever have Jordan’s killer instinct and that no one will ever be able to duplicate Air’s clutch reputation.
As of right now, that might be true. James’ numbers in crunch time minutes have been less than scintillating; even fellow draft-mate Carmelo Anthony has been more effective in the waning minutes of games. But one thing people often do forget is that in the beginning, Jordan missed a few as well.
The torch is being passed before our very eyes. Don’t blink.
Sports editor Travis Stewart is a junior broadcast journalism major from Sugar Land.