LeBron James is the best player in the NBA and he is playing at his highest level. Even if you still resent him for leaving Cleveland and “taking his talents to South Beach,” you should appreciate an unprecedented streak of basketball greatness.
Last month, James shot the highest percentage for a month in the league for 30 years (which covers the entire Michael Jordan era) while averaging nearly 30 points per game. He also averaged more than seven assists and seven rebounds per game along with the rare combination of shooting better than 40 percent from 3-point range and getting 8.5 free throw attempts per game. He kills you from beyond the three-point line and by penetrating.
And he’s a defensive stud.
LeBron is en route to a unanimous MVP award and his Miami Heat are favored to defend their NBA title. He’s the greatest player in the world, performing at his peak.
You don’t have to love him to appreciate his greatness and his leadership. But this is a player we’ll be talking about decades from now – the Jordan of the new millennium. And like Michael, don’t wait around for “the next LeBron.” There won’t be one.
On to the topics du jour . . .
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Speaking of LeBron, the five best players in the NBA:
5. James Harden, Houston Rockets. Came to the Rockets with great expectations and exceeded them. A nearly unstoppable scorer.
4. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers. A brilliant point guard who makes the Clippers go. If he’s healthy for the playoffs, they could challenge for a title. If not, they have no chance. That’s the definition of value.
3. Kobe Bryant. Still great at 34, he is heroically keeping his team in the playoff chase. Still the scariest player in the game as the clock runs down.
2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. Keeps getting better, but may play the role of Karl Malone to LeBron’s Jordan – the second-best player in the league for a decade.
1. LeBron James, Miami Heat. It’s unfair, because no one in the league can guard him.
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Nothing says NFL hype more than reports Monday that Northern Iowa receiver Terrell Sinkfield ran a 4.19-second 40-yard dash at his pro day.
That’s mind-boggling. It’s unbelievable. It’s super fast.
But Sinkfield caught passes for only 499 yards and four touchdowns this year. While playing at Northern Iowa University, not exactly a powerhouse.
This is part of the NFL’s silly season. I’m impressed by speed, but more so by receivers who catch a lot of passes for a lot of yards and a lot of touchdowns.
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If you’re not an NHL fan, you may not know that a team is making history: The Chicago Blackhawks have played 22 games – almost half the league’s schedule – and haven’t lost a 60-minute game.
Not a single regulation defeat. They have 19 wins and three overtime or shootout losses. It’s the equivalent of a baseball team making it until July without a loss. Or an NBA team going 41-0 to start the season.
Can the Blackhawks keep it up? Can they go 45-0-3 for the season? Of course not. But then again, there’s no way they should have been able to put together a 22-game unbeaten streak to start the season, either.
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If you’re filling out your bracket for the World Baseball Classic, you need to see a counselor. But with little preparation, I’m ready to predict the finalists.
I’ve got Venezuela defeating Japan in the finale, with the American team finishing fourth.
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.