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List of Articles by Homer D. Sayson


Barkley on LeBron: "He's just not a cold-blooded killer"

By Homer D. Sayson
15 Jun 2011

IN THE refuge that is the Miami Heat locker room, LeBron James' stall is marked "king-size." But given how small he played in the 2001 NBA Finals, is a size-change in order?

When it rains, it pours. And in LeBron's case, it's a flood of Noah's Ark proportions.

Two days after the Miami Heat lost the NBA championship to the Dallas Mavericks, the King, continues to get ripped for his amazingly subpar play.

And deservedly so.

LeBron, after all, is one of the NBA's highest-paid studs, collecting over $100 million in salaries. And he didn't play like it, instead, the ex-Cavalier wilted mightily under pressure, disappeared during fourth quarters and often passed the ball at crunchtime when both his supreme talents and the moment demanded that he take centerstage.

One of LeBron's harshest criticisms by far came from NBA legend turned popular TV analyst Charles Barkley, who offered this opinion on James in a radio interview yesterday: "He's just not a cold-blooded killer."

Ouch. In other words, James is no Michael Jordan. Not even Kobe Bryant, the Black Mamba.

Barkley partly blamed the media for writing all the hype that possibly polluted James' mind into believing that he could be the next Michael Jordan. And he laughed off James' earlier pronouncements that the Miami Heat will win a plethora of NBA titles.

"It's not that easy," said Barkley, a former NBA MVP whose lone NBA Finals appearance ended in defeat at the hands of Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1993.

But criticisms such as Barkley's are not expected to stun James one bit.

James remains defiant and he manifested that defiance at the Finals post-game press conference, where he gained more "haters" and attracted increased animosity by saying that those people rooting on him to fail "will still wake up with the same life, the same personal problems" and "I will continue to live my life the way I want to live it."

THOSE comments are open to interpretation but I think this is what LeBron really wants his non-followers and critics to hear: "Hey, yo, listen up. I did not win a ring and I played very poorly. Big deal. But guess what? I'm still a multi-millionaire and you're not. I will continue to have a good life while you can go on with your miserable lives."

Shortly after Game 6, while Dirk Nowitzki was getitng tired raising both the Larry O'Brien trophy and his Finals MVP trophy, LeBron went to his Tweeter account and tweeted that "The Man Upstairs" didn't mean it yet for him to win a championship.

It's a notion that prominent journalist and ESPN personality Michael Wilbon thought was downright ridiculous. "The Man Upstairs has a lot of bigger things to worry about besides an NBA game," said Wilbon.

Ex-Bull Steve Kerr, now an NBA analyst for cable television TBS and affiliates, also went public with his assessment that LeBron James just didn't measure up to the pressure that entailed the NBA Finals. Kerr quickly dismissed the notion that James is the next Jordan saying, "he's more like a Scottie Pippen."


The fallout has gotten so bad that James is the butt of jokes in the NBA and beyond. One funny tale says "if you ask LeBron for a dollar, he'll give you only 75 cents because he doesn't have a fourth quarter." James' tepid Finals play also spawned new monickers such as LeBrick, LeShrink, Prince James, The Incredible Shrinking Man, and my own personal favorite -- LeBust.

There is no argument that LeBron is a gifted athlete with skill and heft and height. But greatness is something more intangible, like Jordan's killer instinct and burning desire to win, Muhammad Ali's courage to fight through a broken jaw, or Tiger Woods' iron will.

LeBron has none of those endearing, otherwordly qualities. He will have a great NBA career, yes. But LeBron will never be The Man, just one of the guys. (Homer D. Sayson)

Photo: Charles Barkley (R) poses with the author.

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