Win or lose, LeBron James seems to be in somewhat of a lose-lose situation, at least in the eyes of his detractors. Whether his Cleveland Cavaliers win or lose the NBA Finals this year, he'll have a losing record of either 3-4 or 2-5.
LeBron is 2-4 for his career in the Finals, and many knock him for that even though James is easily already a top 10, top 5-caliber player already.
Jerry West went 1-8 for his career in the Finals, and he's the damn logo of the league. West decided to set the record straight about LeBron's Finals record.
"That's the most ridiculous thing. If I were him, I'd probably want to strangle [detractors]," West said, via ESPN. "He's carried teams on his shoulders. He's been to the Finals six straight times. How many times has he been the favorite? None. Zero. Grossly unfair to him.
"I don't want to sound like Donald Trump, but it's hard for me to believe someone doesn't recognize his greatness. This guy does everything, and he's competitive as hell. Frankly, I wish people would leave him alone."
James had once gone to West for advice back in 2011 after his Miami Heat lost to Dallas Mavericks in the Finals. James got advice from West on how to cope with losses in the Finals, as well as teaching him how great it feels to overcome scrutiny.
"It's no fun to get there that many times and not get the results you want, regardless of how you played," West said. "In the playoffs, the best players are supposed to play better. I did. It made no difference."
West said he almost quit the game after losing three straight Finals. James says he has dealt with depression after some Finals losses.
"I think it bothers me in the fact that's how competitive I am," James said. "[Going] 3-1 still bothers me in state championships [in high school]. It's just the competitive side. If I lose in a game of H-O-R-S-E to my son, it's going to bother me. But as far as how people look at it and things of that nature, that doesn't bother me. I mean, my career will speak for itself when I'm done with it, no matter what my Finals record [is]. Some people never get here at all. I'm at seven up to this point. Heck, that's over half my career I've been in the Finals. So that doesn't bother me. What would bother me is if I went out there and didn't give it everything I've had."
In seven of the NBA Finals James has played in, five teams his teams have been the underdog. He's 1-1 as his team being the favorite, with the win being against the San Antonio Spurs in 2013 and the loss against Dallas in 2011.
Against Oklahoma City and San Antonio in 2012 and 2014, James' Heat teams were almost 50-50 toss-ups, but the Thunder and Spurs ultimately ended up being favored by most oddsmakers and experts.
As for 2007 versus the Spurs and last year against the Warriors, James' Cleveland Cavaliers teams were some of the worst supporting casts in Finals history. It's an ultimate testament that James led them this far, and even a 2-1 series lead over Golden State last year was truly spectacular.
James' Cavs are currently down 1-0 in the Finals to the Warriors. They look to tie things up tonight in Game 2.