The goal of bringing a championship to the Cleveland Cavaliers required a path that wasn’t smooth for LeBron James. There was no shortage of challengers that kept “King James” from winning it all with the Cavs — perhaps none more often than Kevin Garnett’s Boston Celtics.
The Celtics made it clear to James that he simply didn’t have enough talent to win a championship with the Cavaliers. One of the NBA’s most beloved stars quickly became its greatest villain with the decision he made as the result of these struggles.
During the latest episode of Complex’s Load Management podcast, Kevin Garnett discussed going up against LeBron James in the playoffs during his time with the Celtics — expressing that Boston ‘broke’ him.
When he took the jersey off in 2010, we buried that jersey under the TD Bank Arena. That No. 23 ’Bron jersey was buried under the Garden. So when I say we broke that Cavs team and that momentum and took it over, we took the East over. Once we won that, it was over.
When discussing James’ decision to depart the Cavaliers in order to sign with the Miami Heat, Garnett reaffirmed his belief the Celtics ‘broke’ him.
So [LeBron] had to make an adjustment. He goes down to Miami and makes arguably one of the best decisions of his career, and plays with arguably two other greats and they have their run. That’s what I meant when I say we broke the Cavs we broke LeBron in 2010. That’s what I meant. You have to look at it like ‘OK, if I’m going to be in Cleveland, I gotta be able to have boom-boom-boom.’ And in Cleveland, he didn’t have no boom-boom-boom. Not enough to get us [in Boston].
There is always great pride that comes with managing to stay with one team and lead them to a championship — Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks are perhaps the greatest recent example of this. Instead of pairing up with other superstars, Nowitzki led the Mavs on a title run that featured no shortage of tough opponents.
LeBron James ended up getting the championships that he sought but as Kevin Garnett put it — it came with the admission he couldn’t do it himself. It’s not fair to expect one player to carry such a heavy load, but regardless, getting that first ring required James to leave the Cavs.
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