Bill Russell. Michael Jordan. Larry Bird. Magic Johnson. Kareem Abdul-Jabaar. LeBron James long dreamed about being included in their company, at the height of the National Basketball Association. Now he belongs, twice a champion, twice the most valuable player in the Finals, the Miami Heat one of those rare teams to capture consecutive championships.
A three-peat? Let’s not get into that yet, or into the question of which player is the best ever, a matter of little more than a good argument.
Let’s savor what separates James from so many others in professional basketball. The hard work, and quest to get better.
For many in these parts, it still may be painful to watch the Akron native — and resident of Bath Township — toiling elsewhere. He left home, like so many other young people do, and he discovered more than ever what is required to excel.
If James learned here about the defense necessary, consider all that he has added since he left the Cleveland Cavaliers, that consistent jump shot that sank the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday evening, the play in the low post, where he nearly is unstoppable now, and the consistent motion that goes with playing well with others.
In victory, James took a moment to cite the challenge still of improving his game, adding dimensions, refining skills. His drive goes well beyond getting to the basket. Now let’s talk three-peat.