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Posted: June 21, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Has a 3rd Finals loss tainted Lebron’s legacy?

In the world of sports there are always special superstars who come around once every generation who dazzle fans around the globe with their ability to dominate their sport. In the ‘80s there was Joe Montana, Magic Jonson and Larry Bird. In the ‘90s there was Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr. and Michael Jordan. And in today’s generation there is current NBA superstar, Lebron James.

However, when those superstars are considered that great they are also expected to produce greatly on the championship level and that can carry an immense amount of pressure mentally.
Lebron James has just concluded his 11th season in the NBA, and he has been one of the most dominant players in the league all of those seasons. In five of those 11 seasons he has led his team to the NBA Finals whether it was the Cleveland Cavaliers or Miami Heat.

However, after losing to the San Antonio Spurs last week, James has now lost three out of those five times on the NBA’s greatest showcase.

When he first appeared in 2007 as the leader and captain of the Cleveland Cavaliers the main question everyone was asking was, “Could this be the start of another Jordan-esque era?” But we quickly learned it wasn’t his time just yet.

A few more seasons went by and Lebron had quickly established himself as the best player in the game talent wise..

Then came the summer of 2010, and Lebron’s infamous “decision.” That is where we learned Lebron would take his talents to South Beach to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat and he quickly became the most scrutinized, hated superstar the NBA has ever seen.

Four years later and here we are. Lebron went on to appear in the finals four times with the Heat. He won two championships and lost two championships.

The 2014 playoffs were very similar to 2011 for the Miami Heat.

After dominating the Eastern Conference, it seemed fitting that the Heat would cruise to a third straight championship victory.

But then the similarities of 2011 became the reality of 2014. The Heat lost to the Spurs in five games and failed to get their “three-peat.” Unlike 2011, Lebron was great, but the supporting cast was not. This series has compared to his 2007 series with Cleveland, but this was worse than that.

Lebron may have gotten swept in 2007, but at least the games were closer than the blowouts for the 2014 Heat. This gave Lebron his third finals loss and while it’s not fair to him for how well he played, this loss does hurt his legacy a little bit but it also establishes him as his own man.

James has said various times that he isn’t Magic, Bird, Jordan or Kobe. He is Lebron James. He isn’t perfect, but he is great.

However, what we as fans tend to fail to realize is he is 29 years old, and as long as he stays healthy he can win many more championships because all these losses do is make him better.

Kobe has been to seven NBA Finals and won only five of them. Magic carried the Lakers to nine NBA finals but only has five championships. That doesn’t change the way we view them and their greatness and at the end of Lebron’s career in the long run it ultimately won’t change how we view him. Or will it?

He continues to be the most scrutinized player by fans around the league whether it’s losing, not taking the big shot or possibly jumping from team to team. We all should stop criticizing him for his flaws and enjoy him for his greatness. Because just like the others, he too will one day be gone away from the game and we will miss it.

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