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What LeBron James did in All-Star Game just doesn’t matter

Feb 27, 2012, 6:15 PM EDT

2012 NBA All-Star Game Getty Images

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.

  1. charlutes - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    “Kurt is right on here. His legacy as a guy who wilts in the clutch is well deserved, but what happened last night has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    I mean, it was an all-star game.”

    This is the exact attitude that keeps the all star game meaningless in the first place. Some guys do play hard. Ask Kobe’s face.

    We need to encourage the players to care more by wanting and rewarding more effort, not just throwing up our hands and saying, well its a freak show, who cares.

  2. klownboy - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    I tell you one thing, LeBron better lead the Heat to the NBA title this season.

    • southbeachtalent - Feb 29, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      How about Rose? Or Durant? They get passes? I mean they’re clutch and awesome and all that but can’t get to a Finals?

      Besides even if LeBron wins it wont stop the crticism. People love to hate.

  3. david0303 - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    I didnt think an article this stupid could actually be posted, but i clicked on it and it wasnt a joke. you are just awful Kirt

  4. vstyle23 - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    Kobe provided the pressure and Lebron Lechoked. Even in a meaningless exhibition LeChoke couldn’t man up. Let me say that I’m not at all a Kobe fan infact I like LeBron better but Kobe punked the kid. Every young man needs a father, to teach him how to man up!!!

  5. 1historian - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    As the old song goes – “It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that ring.”

    True yesterday, true today, true tomorrow.

  6. tyronebrown - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    Amazing…Dwade fumbles the ball out bounds with a chance to take the lead and no one says a word. Lebron is the only player in history that can score 36 points in an all star game and all people talk about is a turnover. We have marginalized everything he does and lost Obama, if he’s not perfect he is a failure. It makes no sense to me.

  7. jayzus - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    I ain’t defending Lebron but it has gotten to the point that even if he is perfect haters are going to hate. I wonder if he will ever be able to shut everything out because this noise ridiculous as it is wont go away.


  8. diablito0402 - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Kurt on lbj’s jock

    • southbeachtalent - Feb 29, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      wow way to contribute. we can always count on your idiocy.

  9. allsportsnyfan - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    Yep, he’s a target. Until, he goes and wins a championship, like Jordan, The Admiral, Kobe, Wade or Shaq, fans and media won’t regard him as “The King”, but “The Queen”. Sad. He will not be “The Chosen One” until he does. He will this year though. Just try to avoid another meltdown. Good luck, LeChoke. Sorry, had to get that one in there.

  10. jumpman2325 - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    Kobe is one of the greatest players to ever play in the league, but let’s not forget he was “Scottie Pippen” for 3 of those rings. Those Kobe led Lakers would have been lucky to win 1 of those 3 rings without arguably the greatest center of all time.

  11. asublimeday - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    So a 6’8″ 250 pound forward, who happens to play on a team with two other max-contract All-Stars, defensively “shuts down” a 6’2″ 190 pound guard who plays on a team without anyone else who can get off their own shot, and that’s supposed to be some magical accomplishment?
    FINALLY someone with common sense.

    Golly, a forward does a good job defending a guard?! So, you’re telling me that the best forward in the game can cover the best guard in the game with constant help defense? What an insane concept

  12. asublimeday - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    Considering that 6’2″ 190 pound fraud was league MVP, yes, it was a magical accomplishment.

    You just lost any credibility you had on these boards. You will forever be known as the mongoloid who called Rose a fraud. Congrats.

  13. losangelasbasketball - Feb 28, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    LBJ spends 10 grande on a pr team and some commericials and all the suddened kurt gets all cozy inside… Arent writers supposed to be pillars of emotional fortitude?

  14. steelerdynasty2010 - Feb 28, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    remember when MJ said that the thing that made him successful was that “I’ve never been afraid to fail” ?

    i think lebron’s afraid to fail. i think it’s why he ultimately left cleveland. i think the opportunity presented itself to allow him to leave when he (and history) could honestly say that the team hadnt surrounded him with enough to win a title and he had no choice but to leave to win one. he didnt want to risk playing his whole career there and not win a title (and who can blame him?), so he picked MIA where it’s all but certain that he’ll win one, but it will be due more to the parts around him, than him being the difference maker. not knocking his talent, but he’s just not a shark in the water, no matter how much blood you put in there.
    what i thought was most telling about the all-star game was that even with Kobe chiding him to shoot the ball, he still wouldnt. he opted for a long cross court pass that he had to launch across his body on a little basketball court (yes, it’s little when you’re 6’9″). why do you think kobe was telling him to shoot it, maybe because he knew he wouldnt? yes, it was an all star game and in the grand scheme of things, it doesnt really matter, but IMO, it’s further evidence that Lebron is afraid to fail, and would rather be criticized for NOT TAKING the shot, than for MISSING the shot.

    i dont think we learned anything new about lebron nor do i think this changes his legacy or anything like that, but i think it does contribute even more to the lore of the “cowardly lebron”. it’s all a great story to somehow excuse or explain the fact that he does not yet have a ring. he plays the game the way you’re supposed to play it, WITH his teammates, no matter what. no matter the criticism, no matter the outcome and i can say i’m ok with that.

  15. toegoat - Feb 28, 2012 at 8:48 AM

    I can understand the Cleveland crybabies(fans of all Cleveland teams) being a Lil bit mad at first but damn get over it NOBODY would ever win a title with mo Williams sideshow bob and that washed up bum jamison. With that said anyone outside of Cleveland that hates on Bron is just hating on em because its the popular trend. Seriously enjoy people rings or not we are watching a legend @ work, enjoy it instead of being bitter.

  16. limonadamas - Feb 28, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    I disagree, Kurt… If LBJ spearheaded an East comeback and stuck the game winner in Kobe’s face, most people (even Woj) would likely acknowledge that as a sign that he’s taking steps forward in his evolution towards becoming “the man” (whatever that means). Put that kind of performance together with his aforementioned statistical and team excellence this season and I think you’d shut a lot of people up (at least til the playoffs). As it stands, the din of his detractors grows louder.

    Sure, it’s a “meaningless” ASG, but his performance has impacted public perception for worse. That’s hardly meaningless. I personally believe it could’ve impacted public perception for better, had the outcome and process been different.

  17. mr9teen - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    What he does in the end of the game doesn’t matter in the sense that it’s and all Star game however it furthers the notion that he is not a “killer” come game time. If he had taken the shot then it would have shown a glimmer of what he needs to be mentioned in that Kobe/Jordan/Wade/Durant class of players. Even if he had missed it would have been cool because he was HOT the whole quarter. Kobe would have taken that shot being THAT hot. LeBron is not gonna win these championships without taking those shots

  18. losntina69 - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    The best thing that the Heat can do at this point is trade Lebron, he is a great regular season player but nothing else. He is Dominique Wilkins, just more athletic, he is a very good player but not a champion. I think we all tend to forget that he has been in the league 9 years already and still shows no sign of taking it to the next level. Like Iverson did Lebron will do the same. He will rely on his athletic talents and as he gets older he is not going to be as efficient as he is today. So trade him, go get Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson or trade with anybody else in this league that will give you players for him. Hell send him to the Grizz get Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo if possible. Trade him while you can or else its going to be the same story line every year. Miami gets bounced in the second round of the playoffs or Bron doesnt show up in the 4th quarter. I’m not saying, i’m just saying.

  19. isd87 - Feb 28, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    The Lebron shut down Rose storyline is completely overblown. For those of us who watched the series we know that in the first 3 quarters Lebron was hardly ever guarding Rose. Lebron did a good job in the closing seconds of guarding Rose, but that’s the extent of it. Lebron is a great player and played great in that series, but this is a case of narrative over fact. If Lebron could shut down Rose he wouldn’t have averaged 27 (45% shooting) against the Cavaliers in the 2010 playoffs.

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:27 PM

      If you read the story, you’ll see I talk about it being in the clutch.

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