One man does not a championship team make

Good morning, and congratulations to the Golden State Warriors on their second NBA title in three seasons, after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers last night. 129-120.

As was the case when I discussed the Baseball Hall of Fame class in January, this article, sadly, is not about the Warriors.

Let’s be honest, Cleveland got its backside whooped in this series.

The Warriors learned first from their own failures in last year’s NBA Finals, when they were up 3-1 on the Cavs before an epic collapse, then from the Indians imitation against the Cubs in last Fall’s World Series and finally the Atlanta Falcons 28-3 lead in the third quarter of Super Bowl LI, to get the job done before momentum shifts.

Both teams had an incredible season. The Warriors finished the playoffs 16-1 after a 67-15 record in the regular season.

The Cavs, left for dead midway through the season during a rough patch where pundits and writers jumped ship to the Raptors, Celtics and Wizards, turned it around when they had to, and dispatched the Pacers and Raptors 4-0 each, before eliminating the Celtics 4-1 on the way to their third straight NBA Finals.

Again this article is not about them.

Would Cleveland have made the playoffs had LeBron stayed in Miami, gone to New York or wherever, instead of returning home?

Maybe they would have, or maybe they would have continued their fall as as the case in the wake of his initial (he’s going to leave again…) exit from Cleveland.

Regardless, LeBron James is the greatest player in the NBA right now. You know it, I know it. Everyone except for Lamar Ball probably knows it, including his son.

But one man does not a championship team make.

This offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays said goodbye to a fixture in their lineup over the last decade, Edwin Encarnacion.

Encarnacion, who departed for a three year deal (with a fourth year club option) with the Cleveland Indians in January, left many Jays fans feeling abandoned and that their team would implode. 

Granted, the Jays have been cellar dwellers for the entirety of the 2017 season (the team can move into fourth place in the AL East with a win over Tampa Bay and a Baltimore loss tonight), but that isn’t Encarnacion’s fault. 

Jays fans made similar excuses in 2015 following their loss to the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS.

One man does not a championship team make.

Think about how important Jays fans considered someone who didn’t give them a championship.

Along with Jose Bautista, who re-signed with the club following a fruitless search for the 100 million dollar deal he sought only two seasons ago, Encarnacion was the face of the franchise, which led fan to compare him to Judas Iscariot or Benedict Arnold after he defected to an Indians team that dashed their World Series aspirations in October.

But how important was he?

After all, the Royals and Indians managed to dispatch the Blue Jays handly in the last two ALCS’ without him being on their roster.

Like LeBron, Toronto fans placed way too much value on Encarnacion, something Jays management was unwilling to do. 

They offered him a 4 yr./80 million dollar deal, he said no, they moved on and signed Kendrys Morales.

So while Cleveland fans may have believed the greatest player in the NBA would deliver them another championship, one man does not a championship team make.

LeBron averaged a triple-double in this year’s NBA Finals, something no other player in league history has done.

And yet, it was the Warriors who hoisted the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy last night.

One man, does not a championship team make.


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