LeBron Number 1, Not in My Book

It's safe to say I disagree with the latest rankings from ESPN.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

ESPN.com and the TrueHoop Network recently ranked the top 100 players of the NBA  on twitter, that's current players by the way, and with any such list, arguments and shock followed. The biggest gasp out of me was that they had Miami Heat choke artist LeBron James as the number 1 player in the NBA.

Are you freaking kidding me!

Look, it's well documented on the Crave sports page that I hold no love for LeBron James. I am a huge Cleveland Cavaliers fan and the way he exited my team without delivering on his promises and in such a juvenile fashion really rankled my feathers and left me fuming for weeks (writing this makes me realize that I still might not have let go of that rage, either). But I'm trying to be as unbiased and objective as possible when I say there is NO F-ING WAY LeBron is the best player in the NBA.

Now I understand that, statistically, James is a monster like no other. He can fill a stat sheet faster than a mob of heavy guys can fill a free, all you can eat, pizza buffet (I would be first in line there!) but isn't this sport, or any, about more than what's on paper. It's about heart, potential, clutch and the overall will to contribute in every way imaginable. James has always been big on potential but he falls very short on heart, will and clutch (nowhere near on that one).

LeBron, despite his painfully agonizing lack of on-court hunger, is a top five player in the league. His gifts and talents, despite being underutilized, cannot be denied and as a physical specimen, he is second to none. With the size and talent he has, he could be chatting on a bluetooth all game long and still deliver a performance better than most.

But I simply can't buy him as number 1 when you have guys like Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant who just bring more to the table.

Bryant, despite being older and having lost a step, is still a championship caliber player who will bring it in the fourth quarter of a playoff game. Nowitzki, while not as gifted a player as James, proved this past Finals that heart and will can trump natural ability. Durant, though he has no championship, just brings more clutch and drive than James ever will and I'd take him in a heart beat over LeBron.

Listen, ranking players shouldn't just be about the numbers but about the person as well. LeBron may overall be up there when it comes to the stone cold stats but the guy is obviously on auto-pilot most of time and doesn't have any type of fire driving him to be the best.

Simply put, I am going against my usual stance of championships doesn't define a great player and saying that until James wins one, there is no way he deserves to be number 1 of any greatest player list.

 

Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS