LeBron James is no longer a Rorshach test, a canvas for fans to unwittingly project themselves upon. The ink blot of his career is no longer a nebulous shape. His greatness and resolve are clear now and only the unwell suggest otherwise. They are not connected with the real world.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. James induces insanity in opponents and detractors who try to contain him and define him with the same tired tactics. He broke the Boston Celtics’ backs and hearts with arguably the greatest performance of his life in Game 7. In doing so, he finally broke the stubborn firing synapses in the patient’s brain fueling the arguments against him.
James keeps doing the same thing over and over again; putting a flawed team on his back and carrying it into the NBA Finals. He does this over the chattering den of haters who rush to every available megaphone at the first sign of trouble. He proves them wrong again and again.
Once biting criticism from the fangs-out crowd has turned into satire as the Chosen One has filed down those team into smooth nubs. It hardly seems possible but James has turned sports’ most ubiquitous and over-done debate into an outdated question.
He is, at worst, Michael Jordan’s equal. And he’s nowhere near done. A 33-year-old body with unrivaled mileage isn’t supposed to do this but it would be insanity to expect anything less at this point.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst is exactly right in saying a generation of fans will see what happened in Boston last night as James’ ultimate validation. It’s possible it goes deeper than that. James, in so many ways, is a referendum on the generation that came before, exacerbated by its inability to process and react to new information. Millennials think James is the greatest because he’s all they’ve seen. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Wisdom often comes from the mouth of babes.
So where are we on the morning after James earned his eight consecutive trip to the Finals and ninth overall? In a rubble-filled field of broken brains, driven to the brink with every overpowering drive to the hoop. In a chorus line of people stepping back and reconsidering long-held beliefs after every clutch step-back jumper.
And, hopefully, in a world with clearer defined lines of sanity when it comes to James who is nothing if not predictably great.