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"Pops" Backs Lebron

by Tom King

No one will ever confuse  Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for Santa Claus. He's just not the soft and cuddly type. A cactus would be easier to embrace, especially if you're a reporter. Popovich doesnt suffer fools easily and he considers many of the scribblers and sideline reporters who cover the NBA as barely tolerable at best...unqualified nincompoops at worst. His latest shot across the press' bow came in his defense of Lebron James. The best player in basketball has been getting some criticism as his scoring has dropped. Before evening the Finals last night, the Heat had fallen behind as James scored "only"18 points in Game 1. Sort of minimized was the fact that he had a triple-double in the game and stuffed the stat sheet...but it came in a loss where he only took 16 shots.

James said he "has done more and lost" alluding to the past where he would get his points but his teams wouldnt win.He now prefers getting his teammates involved and the Heat have surround him with role players that can benefit from having one of the greatest passers in NBA history giving up the ball.

Back to Popovich...he knows James as well as anyone...and said "He's a grown man. He doesnt need any of you to tell him anything. He knows more than all of you put together. he understands the game. If he makes a pass and you all think he should have shot it, or if he shoots it and you think he should have made the pass, your opinions means nothing to him, as they should not mean anything to him"


I'm not of the school that believes that players and coaches are above criticism from someone who never played the game. But lets face it, many reporters are just trying to fill column inches or airtime, under deadline. or trying to stir up controversy and alot of criticism isnt well thought out.

Winning a championship in anything is hard. Winning back-to-back championships is incredibly difficult. You are at the mercy of so many variables. If Lebron James believes that he can help his team win a title by sublimating his game to his teammates, who are we to disagree, even if it doesnt work every time.