Five Reasons LeBron James Will Finish His Career With the Cleveland Cavaliers - Page 4 of 5 - Cavaliers Nation

Five Reasons LeBron James Will Finish His Career With the Cleveland Cavaliers

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4. Wilt Chamberlain Effect

Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James

Wilt Chamberlain was probably the most dominating player in the history of professional sports, even over Babe Ruth. Arguably the greatest defensive player and rebounder in NBA history, the enigmatic center once averaged over 50 points a game, and scored 100 points in a game, without a three-point line and much more physical play. So why is a man that towered above all not considered the greatest?

Chamberlain suffered from what James suffers from today: the expectation of overwhelming domination, regardless of mitigating factor. Like James, Chamberlain was expected to slay all dragons, including superior Boston Celtics teams. James has been similarly punished for losing to better teams, like the 2007 San Antonio Spurs for example, though he had pulled along an NBA D-League roster into the Finals.

It’s never going to be enough for some people. He’s never going to be Michael Jordan, who benefited greatly from having Hall of Fame all-purpose forward Scottie Pippen as a teammate, a better player than any James has on the Cavs today. Chamberlain lost to his main contemporary, Celtics great Bill Russell, on numerous occasions — most of which are black marks on Chamberlain’s career. The problem with that argument, of course, was that Russell had better teammates. James, like Chamberlain in his time, is expected to power through all foes, no matter the odds.

Incredibly, Chamberlain was also traded twice, which won’t happen to LeBron. However, it says something about Chamberlain’s ownership of his career. He himself admitted that he held back, sometimes on individual plays where opposing players could be injured by his force. You admire the candor and kindness, but this along with the trade demands and mentions of retirement, speak to need for comfort, for himself and perceptions from other people.

Building legacies have never been about comfort — it’s a long, challenging road. If everyone could take the shortcut, it would just be called “the way.”

Next: Owning His Legacy


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