LeBron James Has Earned His Stripes

LeBron James
LeBron James
Steve Mitchell USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James is at ease. The King has seemingly finally found a way to lord over all those in his midst while somehow further ingratiating himself to all those who would judge his rule.

After 11 seasons, two NBA Finals losses and an epic Decision, James has finally engaged in enough public, real life experiences to emerge as a man of the people, all his stops and starts having far more endeared him to the masses.

It’s why he scarcely genuflected when Michael Jordan disciple Horace Grant raged this week James’ “Heat wouldn’t have a chance against Jordan’s Bulls,” adding “we would have locked them up. Especially with the rules today, Michael would have had a field day.”

Forget about that the fact that in this reporter’s eyes Grant’s words more than ring true, the point here is that LeBron James now has Tim Duncan on the brain in the same way he had Lance Stephenson last week.  And we all know that how that turned out.

It’s all resulted in all the doubts once voiced about how The King essentially having no clothes in terms of being able to win the big games or make clutch plays now having little to no resonance.

“I watch the Discovery Channel all the time, and you look at all these animals in the wild,” James once told ESPN in defense of his style of play. “And they all hunt a different way to feed their families. They all kill a different way. Lions do it strategically, two females will lead and then everybody else will come in. Hyenas will just go for it. There are different ways to kill, and I don’t think people understand that. Everybody wants everybody to kill the same way. Everybody wants everybody to kill like MJ or kill like Kobe. Magic didn’t kill the way they killed. Does that mean he didn’t have a killer instinct?”

No one can question if the Big 3 trifecta of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh have shared that mentality. Add to that, the Heat have never lost a series post LeBron taking his talents to South Beach after they have been able to excel at using the small ball lineup that has propelled them through these playoffs and is expected to be the style of play in this series and well… can you say three-peat?

The bottom line is LeBron James, largely aided by Dwyane Wade, is in charge of Heat’s destiny and the NBA’s landscape.  Anybody really want to bet against them?

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Glenn Minnis
Glenn Minnis is an XN Sports NBA contributor. He has written for the Chicago Tribune, ESPN, BET and AOL. Follow him on Twitter at @glennnyc.