Sunday, April 23, 2006

We are all witnesses

I am not a Cavs fan. At least, not first and foremost. See, my sophmore year in high school, I started to hear about this kid that went to high school in Akron that was supposed to be NBA ready right now. My friends and I decided that, as fellow Ohio high school students, fellow Ohio sixteen-year-olds, it was our duty to throw our support behind this LeBron James guy. We watched the games on ESPN, we defended his throwback jersey purchases, we discussed whether he could have singlehandedly ended the Cold War if he was twenty years older (of course he could have). One of my friends got yelled at by LeBron's aunt for touching his Hummer H2.

So it was real convenient when he was drafted by the Cavs. It meant I could watch just about every one of his games, between Fox Sports Ohio and ABC. But understand, I am a Cavs fan only so long as LeBron's on the team. If he leaves the team, so do my allegiances. I'm somewhat impressed by the Cavs' management, since they've made some intelligent moves, but I am by no means on any sort of Cavaliers bandwagon. I'm sorry, that's just the way it is.

As a LeBron fan, these playoffs hold a lot of interest for me, obviously. We may be looking at history in the making, the sort of player you end up telling your kids about. The guy starts off his playoff career with a triple double as the Cavs opened up with a win over the Wizards, 97-86. Now, I don't think this Cavs team has the talent to win it all, but I think they can win their first series, and that's what I'm hoping to see. I hope this not so much for the team, or for LeBron, but for me, so that I don't have to hear ongoing talk about how "LeBron still hasn't won a playoff series." It's not the sort of comment that will lend support to any argument, seeing as the guy's 21 and leading a team into the playoffs, but still it will be made by one of the talking heads at ESPN. If we can avoid all that with a series win, that's extra incentive for me to cheer.

And, of course, I'm also wanting to see LeBron get the MVP award. As I see it, the only two players that enter into the argument are LeBron and Kobe. Billups, Nash, Nowitzki, and Wade all had great seasons, but the MVP is gonna be one of those two. And really, I won't argue too much either way. If the guy who scores 81 points in a game wins MVP, it's not a shocking travesty of justice. I just think LeBron's a better passer than Kobe or Nowitzki, a better scorer than Billups or Nash, and just a little better overall than Wade. Basically, my argument was laid out by Dan Shanoff in the Daily Quickie on Friday.

That gave me pause. I have a rule: If I ever agree with Shanoff, Mark May, Skip Bayless, or Woody Paige, I must at least reconsider my argument. But to this rule I have attached the "Blind Squirrel" Corollary. And I think this is one of those rare situations where Shanoff got it right. LeBron is as valuable to his team as anyone, almost as good a scorer as anyone, and almost as good a passer as anyone. Add all that up, and I think you have your MVP.

I couldn't work it in anywhere up there, but it's worth reading Chris Sheridan's article about LeBron on, if you want some more LeBron lovin'.

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