May 3, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts after being fouled by Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Jason Terry (not pictured) during the second half of game three in the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Center. The Thunder defeated the Mavericks 95-79. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

LeBron James says this year’s champ doesn’t deserve an asterisk

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

LeBron James thinks all NBA championships are equal. He’s wrong.

When LeBron heard someone mention a possible asterisk attached to this year’s NBA title winner here is what he told ESPN:

“I don’t think that’s right to say. I’m not going to get involved in it. Every team works hard no matter if it’s a lockout year or not. There’s not much of a difference between 82 games and 66 games.”

I’m not surprised he would feel this way. What’s he going to do? Agree that this year’s champion deserves an asterisk? Of course not, but it’s funny that this got a reaction out of him.

It’s clear that LeBron cares so much about what people think about him. It’s one of the things that make him so un-Jordan and un-Kobe. And ever since he joined the Miami Heat the hate he received from fans was surprising to him.

When the Heat made it to the NBA Finals last year and LeBron scored 8 points in Game 4, he put himself in a no-win situation. No matter what happened in the rest of that series LeBron was going to lose.

This is another thing he’s been dealing with this year. He can’t just win an NBA title. He has to win one and do it while being the unquestionable best player on the team, great in the clutch and not needing of Dwyane Wade’s assistance.

How fitting is it that now this season when the Heat have suddenly had the path to the NBA Finals cleared for them with the Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard injuries that people are already questioning the validity of this year’s champion?

I think it’s fair to do this. It is a lockout season which already makes this season different than almost any other. Injuries to stars like Rose and Howard are very good reasons for not crediting a champion as much as others. We’ve done it before to Hakeem Olajuwon when he won in ’94 and ’95 while Michael Jordan wasn’t around.

What’s LeBron and the Heat’s greatest obstacle now? The old knees of Boston and San Antonio? The Thunder who probably aren’t ready yet? This year simply doesn’t count as much …for them.

If it wasn’t LeBron and the Heat who were the title favorites at this point, would we already be talking about whether or not the champion this year deserves an asterisk?

If the Thunder win the title and let’s pray to the heavens they do, no one will mention this once.

It will all be about Kevin Durant and if he’s now the best player in the NBA. It’ll be how the Thunder accomplished this despite being so young and the Thunder formula and how they built their team from the NBA Draft – so anti-LeBron.

So that’s really the point. For us to give you credit for winning a title. You have to overcome something thus earning it more.

The Thunder would be overcoming a ton if they won this year. The Heat are simply expected to win and win not one, not two, not three …

“I don’t discredit the effort San Antonio had when they won it in ’99 after the lockout,” LeBron said. “We all know Gregg Popovich is an unbelievable coach and Tim Duncan is an unbelievable player. It shouldn’t matter. They won multiple (titles) after that so are we going to say that first one wasn’t good enough? I don’t think that’s true at all.”

LeBron’s right that now we don’t look back on that ’99 title and discredit San Antonio. But that’s because Duncan and Popovich won three more times. And that’s what LeBron’s going to have to do for us to fully recognize and appreciate this title if he wins.

But he told us he would and he better start now.

I love it. Another lose-lose situation for The King.

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Tags: Asterisk Dwyane Wade Kevin Durant Kobe Bryant LeBron James Miami Heat Michael Jordan NBA Playoffs NBA Title Oklahoma City Thunder

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