While LeBron James' army of haters await the Cleveland Cavaliers sweep at the hand of the Golden State Warriors to use in the shallow online GOAT debates, those who actually play the game don't think that his looming sixth NBA Finals loss (in nine appearances) would tarnish the King's legacy as a basketball player.
He has some epic ballers in his legion of believers, such as PBA superstars Jayson Castro, Paul Lee, LA Tenorio, and Chris Newsome, who served as playing coaches during the official launch of the Nike LeBron Soldier 12 "Agimat." The local pros and brand ambassadors took part in a mini-tournament with members of the media—all of them wearing the latest model from Swoosh.
After the event, which was won by Tenorio's team, FHM talked to the following players and asked them what another failed championship run means for LeBron and his place on NBA's Mt. Rushmore.
Jayson Castro: "I think wala naman, kasi since start pa lang ng playoffs, kina-count out na siya na hindi papasok ng Finals. So imagine yung effort niya para dalhin yung buong Cleveland sa Finals. This time parang nothing to lose na siya kasi imagine yung lineup ganun lang pero nadala niya? Dun pa lang, yung tingin ng tao sa kanya iba na. This Finals naman kitang-kita na undermatched sila kasi mapa-bigs, guards, wala sila, pero nandun pa rin sila every game."
Paul Lee: "Hindi naman siguro, kasi sobrang 'made' na nung tao. Bine-break niya halos lahat ng record, so feeling ko kahit anong mangyari dito sa championship, manalo siya matalo siya, he's already made. LeBron na siya eh. Kahit na anong sabihin nila, 'Talo ka na naman sa championship.' Siyempre, sayang pa din yung perfect season sana sa kanya, kung makukuha niya yung championship. Still, yung mga record na ginawa niya, hindi natin alam kung kelan mabe-break yun. Or kelan magkakaron ng another LeBron James, di ba? Pero hindi pa naman huli yung lahat, he still has a chance, so malay natin, we don't know."
LA Tenorio: "Siguro, yung mga tao gustong manalo si LeBron, di ba? Para maganda sa legacy niya as a basketball player. Imagine if he wins this series, parang, grabe na talaga yung iiwanan niya. Pwede na siyang mag-retire after that. For me, he doesn't have to prove anything na, alam naman natin na Golden State has a stronger team, player per player, compared to Cleveland. So I think LeBron is really doing [his] best naman eh to get the title, but again, he's only one player—it's really the whole team. Hopefully, magkaroon siya ng opportunity pa.
"I mean, it's not impossible naman na makabalik. He can still do it, he just has to believe in his teammates, yun yung mas important ngayon. After what happened to JR Smith, people are saying it's his fault. Probably, fault din niya yun, pero hindi nakita ng tao bakit nangyari yun, di ba? Na-miss ni George Hill ang free throw, good thing na-rebound lang ni Smith, may chance lang sila. But the thing is, hindi na yun dapat umabot sa ganung situation. It's up to LeBron to lead his team right now, especially when they're down 0-3. Dun papasok yung legacy niya as one of the greatest."
Chris Newsome: "I don't necessarily think it will affect his legacy too much, because just the fact that he made eight straight Finals appearances, regardless of what team he's on, that says a lot. You've got organizations that have been trying to get to the Finals for how many years, and for them not even to make it to the Finals, that says a lot about what he's doing over there. So granted, yeah, he might not win the Finals. but as a player, the cards aren't always going to fall your way.
"I mean, you got how many players who don't even have a ring? And how many great players don't even have Finals appearances? Just the fact that we're discussing that right now, already says in itself that he's great or he's doing something great. I feel like it's not going to impact his legacy too much, but it would be amazing if he would've been able to pull this out. That would solidify him as one of the greatest—he already is one of the greatest, but he would definitely be up there. It would be a very, very interesting argument between him and Michael Jordan."