In the last six seasons, LeBron James has been the unquestioned best player in the league reaching the NBA Finals in each campaign. He has also made the road to the Finals a difficult task in the Eastern Conference over that span. In a recent interview with Cleveland.com, James finally acknowledged what many have known for quite some time.
“I know teams switch and pick up new coaches or new players, and their whole goal is kind of they want to beat me,” James told cleveland.com, in a candid discussion about the upcoming year and his place in the sport at age 31, in this his 14th season. “It’s never just about me, but I always hear them saying, ‘We gotta beat LeBron.’ It’s not just me on the court, but I understand that teams get together in this conference and across the league to try to beat me.”
With James still playing at an extremely high level, he has made the Cleveland Cavaliers the team to beat in the Eastern conference. The expectations are now more than every before to be in the NBA Finals in every season because of the caliber of player he is and the supporting cast he has around him. This has made him the standard bearer in the conference that each of the other teams knows they have to get past in order to get to the NBA Finals.
This will more than likely continue to be the case for least the next four to five seasons as long as James can remain relatively healthy. What also helps his case is that the Eastern Conference is the weaker of the two with fewer formidable competition. Unless anything drastic were to happen, James will an opportunity to add more hardware to his trophy for the foreseeable future.