LeBron ends the debate
The drought is over for Cleveland, and the debate is over as well. Best player in basketball? His name is LeBron James. This is why he went back to Cleveland, to deliver a title, to end the city's epic championship drought and finally give Northeast Ohio what it craved for nearly 52 years.
It's done. And now he's free. Anything that happens from here is icing on a three-tiered championship cake for James.
The only thing he hadn't done on a basketball court was make Cleveland, a city whose sports teams were cursed for so long, a winner. December 27, 1964 was the day Jim Brown last made them one. That is, until June 19, 2016. James was an NBA champion before from his time in Miami, an Olympic champion, an MVP, a Finals MVP ... he had checked every box but one, and now that one is filled as well.
Stephen Curry is the two-time reigning MVP and rightly so, best player on the best regular-season team in league history. Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant will likely be the hottest free agent on the market this summer, coveted by everyone. Kobe Bryant was the highest-paid player in the NBA this season and this year was a celebration of his 20 years of greatness.
But they're all part of LeBron's world.
James is the freight train, the most unstoppable force in the game, and he shows no signs of slowing down after 13 years in the league. He's 31. He rarely if ever misses games. He's been in seven of the last 10 NBA Finals, including each of the last six. He's nowhere near his decline, which has to delight even those Cleveland fans who burnt his jerseys in 2010. And while winning cures all, he can be a free agent this summer, which should scare some people as well.
"I'm true to the game," James said, "and I know what I bring to the table."