The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

LeBron James reminds everyone that he’s ‘the best player in the world’

(Ben Margot / AP)

LeBron James was merely stating the obvious, but, because he’s LeBron James, he’s going to get crushed for this.

After once again doing everything he could — and failing — to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers to a victory in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, James pointed out the Golden State Warriors may be on the verge of winning the NBA title with a 3-2 series lead behind NBA MVP Stephen Curry, but the Cavs’ No. 23 is the best player alive at the moment.

“I feel confident [about forcing Game 7 on Tuesday night] because I’m the best player in the world,” James said fearlessly. “It’s that simple.”

He may even be the Finals MVP, but the best player in the world doesn’t always win championships. (See: Manning, Peyton.) This is, after all, a team game and the Cavs have a seriously depleted roster that even James can’t compensate for. Just ask Magic Johnson.

Game 5 wasn’t close, not that James didn’t try. From

The Cavs lost by double digits for the second consecutive game, only this time it came when James was at his very best. He delivered 40 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists for his 14th career triple-double and sixth in the Finals.
The triple-double was his second in this series and the 40-point game his third. Another 40-point outing would tie the Finals record set by Jerry West (1969) and Michael Jordan (1993).
It was the kind of effort the Cavs demand from James right now in their depleted state, with about 38 points per game on the injured list belonging to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. It was the kind of effort that, until Sunday night, had always carried the Cavs to victory in games where both Love and Irving were out.

But it wasn’t enough. James is realistic, not fatalistic, about what is expected of him in the next two games. Can he gut it out and lead the Cavs to a title?

“I know I’m shouldering a lot of the burden, but it is what it is,” he said. “We’re going home with a Game 6, and we’ve got enough to win it.”