Once he was a part of the problem.
Now he is a part of the solution.
LeBron James. Oh, save us, LeBron. Save us from the dreaded Dream Team known as the Golden State Warriors. You’re our only hope to keep a fantasy team made up of All-Stars and constructed by gobs of money and greed and selfishness from turning the NBA, which opened play Tuesday night, into a season of yawns.
This a Warriors team that won an NBA regular season-record 73 games and then added, arguably, the second-best player on the planet in Kevin Durant. The Warriors would have won the NBA title last season, but one man stopped them: LeBron.
And now LeBron is our best hope to push a pin in Golden State’s bubble, the one man who can stop the dream team.
Of course, it wasn’t all that long ago that LeBron was a part of his own dream team, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to win four conference championships and two NBA titles in four seasons.
Still, this Warriors team is a collection of All-Stars. In Sports Illustrated’s power ranking of players, the Warriors have two of the top three in the game in Durant (No. 2) and Curry (3). And they have four in the top 19 with Draymond Green at No. 13 and Klay Thompson at No. 19.
Because of that, this NBA season is nothing but performance art. It’s all just a lead-in to the only thing that truly matters, the only thing that remains up in the air. This is all just a prologue to Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
Seriously, other than that, what’s the drama? Where’s the drama?
Sure, there are plenty of other things to watch.
Wade is now in Chicago. The Spurs are still good without Tim Duncan. Derrick Rose will try to revive his career with the Knicks.
The Celtics are trying to return to their glory. The Timberwolves are a nice up-and-comer. Can Russell Westbrook be a team of one without KD in OKC?
But unless massive injuries strike, it’s hard to imagine anything detouring the collision course the Warriors and Cavs have for the NBA Finals.
Dynasties are a good thing for sports. A team to beat, a villain, always makes any sport more compelling.
But the Warriors seem to be too good. And how they were put together — while perfectly within the rules — just seems unfair. It almost feels like cheating. You have a great team and then you go out and grab the best player off one of the two teams in the world that can truly challenge you in a seven-game series.
That’s what the Warriors did when they signed Durant away from Oklahoma City. Not only did they make themselves stronger, but they weakened the Thunder.
And by adding Durant, they seemingly have made up the four points that separated them from the Cavs and an NBA title.
That’s why LeBron remains the one hope that we have to derail Golden State’s championship that looks all but assured.
The good thing is LeBron always seems to need motivation. When he went to Miami, he was the bad guy, and he reveled in it.
Then he went back home and brought the championship that avoided Cleveland for so many years, and he did it while knocking off the best regular-season team in NBA history.
Now he figures to have a date with, again, perhaps the greatest collection of NBA players ever assembled on one team.
It’s a dream team. But a nightmare for the rest of us who detest teams whose motto is “The best that money can buy.’’
There’s a lot to like about the Warriors. Steve Kerr is a good coach and a good man. Curry seems like a good guy. They play hard. They play the game the right way. The play entertaining, team basketball. It’s a good fan base.
But, by going out and signing Durant, it feels as if they are taking a shortcut to greatness. Maybe someone will stop them.
That someone is LeBron. Can he do it? We’ll let you know.
In eight months. In Game 7.