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NBA Podcast: Cavaliers LeBron James and the untenable position on theorized choke artistry

Probably the only way to put this into context is to . . . talk about Karl Malone.

RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Naessens had me on the show again, and it was a pretty good show outside of my babbling. Ball in Europe's Emmet Ryan talked about what's happening with Andrei Kirilenko and other teams out there on that side of the pond. Blazers Edge main-man Dave Deckard talks about the Trail Blazers injury report. There's even MORE (Grizzlies talk?) -- but I was on to talk about everyone's favorite player LeBron James. My part starts at the 23:00 minute mark.

Listen to it all here at Phil's site, or just be lazy and click below:

Yeah. Essentially I feel like LeBron can't win. No, he can win games. He has won awards and championships. I think he can't win in the mind of the fans, or with the media. True, his most successful teams where ones where he had to share the load -- but many people still point out his inability to make the big shot, or more frequently, even take the big shot. He gets flack for passing out, but smart basketball usually suggests that a guy who is doubled means someone is open.

An open man, even if he isn't an MVP candidate, usually has an easier shot than someone who is doubled.

Realistically I see a lot of this to be similar to the criticism that Karl Malone used to get. Karl Malone isn't seen as "as clutch" as John Stockton. Stock hits the game winners, while the national media remembers Karl missing free throws or getting the ball stolen. One thing that we don't recognize enough if that those last few moments don't even matter at all if it wasn't for what Karl did in the first three quarters by putting the team on his back and powering the team to a close finish.

This is the Lebron situation as well. Dish it out to Chris Bosh, or Ray Allen for the knock out punch. But a Bosh or Ray Allen team isn't in in the NBA Finals, or even in close games without LeBron. It's strange to defend a media darling, an to use nationally unpopular Karl Malone to do it with. But in this case I think it's warranted.