Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, June 20, 2016

LeBron James' assault on history -- in a great way.

This appears in the Tuesday, June 21, 2016 edition of the Business Mirror.

History. In a great way.
by rick olivares

After the Cleveland Cavaliers’ incredible comeback win, from 3-1 down in the finals against the Golden State Warriors, LeBron James altered the course of history in so many ways.

First of all, there’s bringing home a major North American championship back to Cleveland. Something not seen in this parts since Jim Brown led the Cleveland Browns to the 1964 NFL title over Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts. Second, it’s coming back from being down 3-1 to win; a first in the championship round. And third, it's winning a game seven on the road; something not achieved in the NBA since the 1978 Washington Bullets upended the Seattle Supersonics at the Seattle Center Coliseum. 

Fourth, there’s James pacing both teams for this NBA Finals in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, and blocks! He is the first and probably will be the last player to accomplish that achievement. 

Perhaps, one of the biggest alterations is how the Game 7 win moves LeBron James away from Wilt Chamberlain. Not that being compared to Wilt is bad. While Chamberlain is one of the all-time NBA greats, for all his prodigious scoring talent and numerous NBA records, isn’t regarded as a winner. Why? Because he only won two championships in his six finals appearances. He was said to be a player who didn’t win often enough, wasn’t mentally strong or tough, and didn’t make the key play in the clutch. Something that James has been criticized for and thus, being mentioned in the same breath as the Big Dipper.

On his seventh trip to the NBA Finals, LeBron James has come away as a winner for the third time. This is his first away from Miami so people cannot say that he cannot win without Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Well, he did have Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love who rescued his reputation with his performance in Game 7 after a subpar series. But Michael did have Scottie and Dennis so it’s all square.

A triple double with the title on the line? And on the road? LeBron James is a winner. 

With the championships with Miami and Cleveland, LeBron joins a list of players who have won titles with different franchises: Robert Horry and John Salley won with three teams. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dennis Rodman, Ron Harper, Slater Martin, Steve Kerr, Horace Grant, Pep Saul, Robert Parish, Shaquille O-Neal, Will Perdue, Clyde Lovellette, Dennis Johnson, Gerald Henderson, Jamaal Wilkes, James Edwards, Mario Elie, Paul Silas, Sam Cassell, Arnie Risen, Bill Walton, Bob Dandrige, Charles Johnson, Earl Cureton, James Posey, Lindsey Hunter, Mitch Kupchak, Wally Walker, Walt Davis, and Wilt Chamberlain.

Almost immediately after the end of Game 7, Las Vegas oddsmakers have pegged the Golden State Warriors of winning next year’s NBA championship. They may very well achieve that. But do you think LeBron James is finished? I think he isn’t done by a long shot. The question now is, what others ghosts is he chasing on his way to the Hall of Fame?

Am looking forward to next.


Additional reading: LZ Granderson's Stop Hating LeBron

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