So what the Cavs played one bad game. The Cavs will win the Final series in 6 matches and win the series 4-2. Lebron James is already the greatest basketball player of all time. What more does he need to do?
The case for Lebron as GOAT is a really odd one. On the one hand, my eyes tell me that he's probably the most physically gifted athlete of all time. I mean this guy is like 6'8" 250 pounds pure muscle, can jump out the building, fast, agile....he's just a monster. When he's focused, and determined, he can impose himself on the game like nobody other than maybe Shaq in his prime, there's just nothing you can do to keep him from getting where he wants on the floor. Combine that with his vision, and his willingness to always make the "right" play, finding the open man, getting everyone involved....it's special. He also goes to the finals every year, and as Richard Jeffereson said about a week ago, it's hard to imagine somebody breaking all the statistical records Lebron will have set when it's all said and done.
So, he's unquestionably one of the best to ever do it. Perhaps he's even unquestionably the most skilled to ever do it. The greatest though........?
After this year, he's most likely going to be 3-5 in the NBA Finals. That's.....not good. Worse still, he continuously, throughout his career has shown himself to be mentally susceptible to big moments. When the lights are brightest, when everyone expects the King to be the King, and take care of business, he's often missing in action. He's a pretty great underdog. When everybody is counting him out, he puts on a real show most of the time, but when he has that pressure, and everyone is like "ok Bron, take it home....." he becomes pretty damn fragile more often that not. And this is something he knows at this point in his career as well. He likes to frame himself as the underdog whenever possible, and he likes the media to frame it as such as well, because he needs that liberation of not being expected to win. Not exactly what you'd expect from the best player in the world. Certainly not what you'd expect from the greatest to ever do it.
I think the best way to sum up Lebron, that I've ever heard, is that he's the guy you want for the first 46 minutes of a game. He'll have you competitive, and put you in a position to win. Then in those last two minutes though......you want somebody else. You want a killer, an assassin, a guy who's like "ya it's time, get out of my way and I'll take this home!" That's a Jordan, Kobe, Bird, hell even Lebron's buddy Wade. Lebron, for all his talent, and all his greatness simply isn't THAT guy. He doesn't want that ball in the closing seconds with one shot to win it all. And in the end, if you don't have that, you ultimately can't be the GOAT. You just can't. We want our greatest athletes to be super heroes when it matters the most, and Lebron routinely loses his cape in those moments.