Feb 27, 2012, 6:15 PM EDT
Not to go all Bill Murray in “Meatballs,” but:
It just doesn’t matter.
What LeBron James did at the end of regulation in the All-Star Game — deciding to try and make a pass with 1.9 seconds left rather than make the aggressive play and take a shot over Kobe Bryant (who was yelling at him to take it) — just doesn’t matter.
LeBron has been getting killed Monday by detractors for not taking that shot, for not seizing the moment. They see it as a sign of his passivity in clutch moments that goes back to time immemorial.
Of course, if LeBron had taken that shot and made it, those same people all would be saying, “it’s the All-Star Game, it doesn’t count, it’s an exhibition game not a real clutch moment.”
Which is true. That brings us to the real heart of the matter with LeBron — it just doesn’t matter what he does all through the regular season. All that matters is what he does in the playoffs — and the finals in particular.
LeBron is the clear frontrunner for the MVP right now. Sorry Kevin Durant fans, your man is certainly have a good season, but it’s not close. LeBron is putting up 27.4 points per game on 54.7 percent shooting, plus 8.1 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game. His game has matured — he is taking fewer threes and getting better shots in the post. He’s defending well. He has a Jordan-at-his-peak PER of 32.4. He has been amazing.
He can win the MVP, and it just doesn’t matter.
Only what he and the Heat do in the playoffs will matter.
Only LeBron James earning a ring will matter — and if he doesn’t play a big role in the finals even that will not silence some critics. People have decided LeBron James is not clutch. (Those people should ask Derrick Rose, who LeBron shut down on defense and completely outplayed in fourth quarters of the Eastern Conference finals about that.) It just doesn’t matter.
Right now, LeBron’s legacy has been defined as the guy who could not get it done — he didn’t win a ring in Cleveland, he left for Miami to play with better players and they lost in the finals. Fair or not, that is how the sporting public at large has defined him.
The only way he changes that legacy is to get rings. Multiple. Because of him.
So while some talk about a pass at the end of the All-Star Game and see it as confirmation of the status quo, it just doesn’t matter.
Only the games in May and June are what matter for him.
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