LeBron had the greatest scoring performance of his career against the Bobcats on Monday night.
Kelley: LeBron has made Mike’d UP history, Mick. Never before have we focused on the same person in two consecutive issues. Add it to his already countless awards, not that this one will find its way into his mansion in South Beach.
The 61 points LeBron scored against the lowly Bobcats featured zero of the signature dunks that we have become so accustomed to watching on SportsCenter.
It was common knowledge for years league wide that to attempt to stop LeBron, teams must make him shoot. Prevent him from attacking the rim. Easier said than done of course, but that was the recipe to success against The King.
But as the greats do, LeBron turned that potential weakness into a strength and that was showcased against the Bobcats when he drilled eight of his ten 3-pointers
This is how his 3-point shot percentage has evolved from 2003 to present day, year by year: .290-.351-.335-.319-.315-.344-.333-.330-.362-.406-.384.
In my mind, and take this for what its worth, LeBron retook the MVP with that performance. He appears to be more focused than ever and that is an ever challenging feat having just won two straight NBA championships.
I, along with the rest of the NBA fans worldwide, cannot wait to see what he does next.
Kowaleski: Mike, there are very few athletes in this world, let alone basketball players, that I can compare to religious experience.
LeBron James is the only player that I can make that comparison to. Sure, Durant and Manning might put up more points. Brady and Jeter might get more rings. Ronaldo might get all the ladies. But there’s nothing that compares to LeBron when he is absolutely 100 PERCENT on. He is Ares, he is wrath, he is death itself. It’s beautiful.
He was on during Monday’s throttling of the Bobcats. There was a lot of significance for this throwaway game: playing MJ’s team, answering the bell that Kevin Durant rang in January—look, a handful of players can put up 60 in a game. Only LeBron and Durant can do it shooting .667 from the field.
The crazy thing is, this isn’t even LeBron’s best game. I still put the Game 6 in Boston during the 2011-12 Eastern Conference Finals as his tour de force. I don’t think the MVP race is in LeBron’s favor after his torrid February—but he definitely evened it up, and that’s impressive enough as it is. I can’t wait to see these players go head-to-head in the NBA Finals if everything goes according to plan…
Please, God. Please, LeBron. Please, Durant.
Here we are now. Entertain us.
Many are questioning whether or not to abolish storming the court.
Kelley: I once had the opportunity to storm a field. It was November of 1999 and Pitt had just upset Notre Dame in their final game at Pitt Stadium. Running back Kevan Barlow, who would go on to play for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL, scored the final touchdown. Fans were in a frenzy; so much so that they pushed past security and onto the field with nine seconds still remaining. My dad carried me on his shoulders and we ran onto the field with everyone else. The goal posts were ripped down. It was chaos.
I will always remember that thrilling moment. But watching the court storming episodes that occurred thus far this NCAA basketball season, it appears to have taken a turn for the worst. Fans interacting with opposing players is what is most concerning. Following Arkansas’ defeat of Kentucky, Wildcats guard Aaron Harrison squared off with a fan and almost fought.
The SEC has taken initiative and is now fining schools that let their fans rush the court. My bet (and it appears conversations have already begun), is that other conferences follow suit.
In many ways it is disappointing because storming the court or field has become somewhat of a pastime at sporting events. But for the safety of the players and coaching staffs of opposing teams, it is the wise decision to outlaw it.
Kowaleski: I’ve stormed courts and fields in my day as well, my friend. On February 16, 2008, unranked Syracuse took on the No. 8 Georgetown Hoyas at the Carrier Dome. The crowd that day set a then-attendance record at over 32,000.
‘Cuse won 77-70, and I stormed the court with my best friend. I managed to get to Jonny Flynn, my favorite Syracuse player of all-time, and patted him on the back.
It was an amazing experience, and one I repeated just this past autumn when Lafayette beat Lehigh to win the Patriot League championship. Ran all the way down from the pressbox, Mike. You remember.
Everybody should have that experience. Storming the court shouldn’t be abolished—people need to keep cooler heads. Fans storm the court to celebrate with their team, and opposing players need to respect that. Sore losers trying to pick fights with jubilant fans are at fault here, not the fans themselves. I understand tensions are high, and your emotions are too, but you have to be cool.
Abolishing the act itself would deprive thousands of fans one of the purest acts of joy in sports.