Alex Rodriguez, maybe more than any other pro athlete, has walked a mile in LeBron James’ shoes.
And he wants us to back off LeBron.
A-Rod is the best player of his generation (arguably, if you want, but he has put up insane numbers). He is the 12-time All-Star, five-time home run leader who could also hit for average, three-time league MVP who could not get over the hump in the playoffs. And was crucified in the New York papers for it (well, that and the steroids).
In the eyes of New York fans he became the reason the Yankees could not win more rings. (Because it could not be Derek Jeter, no. He walks on the Hudson River in New York.) A-Rod was blamed for the 2004 collapse against the Red Sox, in 2006 Joe Torre dropped him to batting eighth at one point, and in seemingly every playoffs loss he hit under .200 in key series. The tabloids shredded him.
He finally got his ring in 2009 (then stunk in the 2010 playoffs) and he told Fox Sports that we need to cut LeBron some slack.
“Winning a championship is not an easy thing to do regardless of talent,” Rodriguez said. “LeBron is a once in a lifetime player, especially the last year….
“Let’s not take the Mavericks as an afterthought,” said Rodriguez, who lives in Miami and played in Arlington, a suburb of Dallas. “They did everything they had to do to raise a championship.”
You’re right A-Rod, Dallas did win it by doing everything they had to — they stepped up and out performed Miami in the fourth quarters of game. Under pressure they kept their execution at a high level.
Did LeBron do that? You are right though, it takes more than just talent to win a ring. And it does take time. And like you, I expect LeBron will eventually get his. But right now, questioning James’ game is totally fair.