As if anyone needed to be reminded again — and they probably should, considering how eager everybody is to anoint him King Of All That He Surveys — LeBron James is only 21 years old. (To emphasize this to you, we remind you that his mother is younger than Clifford Robinson.) LeBron finally acted his age last night, shatting the proverbial bed in a tough Game 2 loss to the Wizards, evening the playoff series at 1.
It was rather grueling across the board, with 10 turnovers, 7-of-25 shooting, a missed dunk and even open mocking from Caron Butler. It remains to be seen if LeBron will reacted with furious indignation, or simply by chewing his nails.
We want heroes so badly that when one of them falls apart in a big game, we react either by tearing him down entirely or trying to put it in the context of a grand novel only slightly completed. Witness the great Free Darko:
The thing with LeBron is that, unlike Arenas, he's not allowed the excuse of being flawed, given to problematic impulses, or, god forbid, capable of anything less than the most universally-acclaimed solution to any given basketball problem at hand. ... Me, I think this makes him all the more convincing; that even he can't quite handle the full scope of his powers makes his future that much more terrifying and, in a Kobe-like way, something that really belongs to him. Even if, like Bryant, it's a way he'll basically have to find himself, and only when it actually counts.
But imagine if LeBron and the Cavs end up losing this series, which, of course, is absolutely possible. Does that already take the shine off LeBron? Or is it just one chapter leading to his inevitable ascension? What if he loses badly this year? What if the Cavs don't get him anybody good next year either? What then? What happens if we can't worship LeBron anymore?
Of course, it is only one game. Perhaps we should settle.