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LeBron James’ Reputation

LeBron James has been getting hammered by fans following the worst performance of his playoff career in Game 4 against the Dallas Mavericks. What’s an accurate, non-emotional assessment of LeBron’s reputation as an NBA player?

LeBron James is the epitome of a “what have you done for me lately” athlete.  When LeBron plays well and his team wins, he’s unbelievable.  When LeBron plays badly and his team loses, he’s a bum.  The truth is that the range is not nearly as wide as it sounds.

LeBron isn’t the greatest or the worst ever.  He’s a great player who inexplicably shrinks in big games like Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Mavericks.  We tend to overstate LeBron’s greatness or his shortcomings based on what we saw him do last.  I don’t think much will change based on how LeBron finishes the 2011 NBA Finals.  People will react strongly whether he plays well or plays badly.

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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