LeBron heads into finals with the team on his back

By Colin Phan - Super Phan

It's almost June and the NBA finals are right around the corner. 

This year's participants shouldn't be a surprise to anyone: the defending champ Golden State Warriors, and last year's runner up the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

This is the fourth straight year we'll be seeing this matchup, and fans are complaining in droves. The Warriors have bested the Cavaliers two out of the three times they've met in the finals, and it seems the consensus is that the Cavaliers will be swept this year. 

The Cavaliers are coming into the finals with what appears to be the worst supporting cast franchise centerpiece LeBron James has had in years. Streaky shooters, poor defenders, and a roster that is without point guard Kyrie Irving, after shipping him to Boston last summer, seemingly has no chance to compete.

The Warriors on the other hand come into the finals with virtually the same roster they had last year. The core of All-Stars including Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green remain intact, and are surrounded by sharpshooters such as Nick Young. 

Just give the Larry O'Brien trophy to the Warriors now. Except that would be counting James out. 

The King has been insane this year, averaging 33 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game in the postseason. He has literally put the Cavaliers on his shoulders on their way through the Eastern Conference.

The Cavaliers rolled through the Pacers, swept the No. 1 seed in Toronto, and survived the upstart Boston Celtics. James is doing everything for his team, and no team has had an answer thus far. 

So why should we believe that the Warriors are just going to have a cakewalk waltzing through the Cavaliers? Who says one guy can't win a championship for his team?

I'd say the odds are stacked against James and the Cavaliers, but when is there any type of certainty in sports?

James is ultra obsessed with being able to control the narrative that the media spins on him, and is hyper aware of what people say to him. Remember back to the 2011 Finals between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks. 

James had one of the most colossal Finals meltdowns in the history of the NBA, and it cost the Heat a championship. Critics were saying he wasn't aggressive enough and he should be an alpha dog on the team, and this got in his head. 

Fast forward to 2018, and this is the first time in James' career that he is an underwhelming underdog.  The Cavaliers have a 6/1 shot to win a championship, and the Warriors open as 1/10 favorites to win according to VegasInsider.com. 

Nobody is counting on LeBron to win, and this is the first time James can use this to fuel his competitive fire. His entire career, he's been called "The Chosen One" or "The King," and now it looks like the masses are ready to remove James from the throne. 

The finals kick off tonight in Oakland tonight at 6 p.m. Pacific on ABC, and James and the Cavaliers will be looking to silence their critics. 

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